Window cleaning might seem like a simple and straightforward job, but as anyone who has tried it knows, it can be easier said than done. Properly cleaning your windows requires care, precision and the correct equipment and materials.
Window cleaning is something anyone can do, but far fewer can actually do it and be happy with the results when the sun pours through the window. While nearly every habitable structure in modern Western society has windows of some shape or size, only the people responsible for cleaning them have the best tools and materials for the job. As a result, many window cleaning jobs leave streaks, smudges or even the dirt that was supposed to be wiped away, behind.
So for all of the non‐professional cleaners out there, what are the proper tools to effectively clean windows? There isn’t a straightforward answer to this because different types of stains can require different equipment and care, but there are some basic tools and tricks of the trade that are always effective.
Never use razor blades to scrape off dirt from glass in a window or door manufactured in the last 5 – 10 years. The reason is newer glass often has a defect called “Fabricating debris”. Glass dust created during the manufacturing process can land on the pane and become fused to the surface when heated during the tempering process. When a well meaning but poorly trained window cleaner scrapes the surface of the window or door these particles are broken loose from the surface and snowplowed across the surface of the glass. It doesn’t matter how “experienced” they are. It doesn’t matter that they used a new blade. They can’t hear or feel that they’re damaging the window. The glass particles that have been broken off and pushed across the surface will leave hundreds of scratches like a satin ribbon in the direction the window cleaner pushed the razor when they attempted to clean the window. This will be painfully clear whenever the sun shines through the damaged glass.
Windex and paper towels, even though heavily advertised, are a terrible combination. The ammonia flash dries before you’ve finished wiping across the window pane leaving a comet tail of lint from the paper towel. Unless you smoke there’s no need to use any ammonia based cleaners on your windows and doors. Brands like Spray‐Way or Perfect glass are alcohol based and have a much longer open time,(think finger painting before the paint sets), that makes it easy to wash the glass and then dry. Newspaper,(good) or Micro‐fiber towels,(better), are best because they won’t leave lint on the surface (we’re going for perfection here). Microfiber materials are so soft and fine that they can effectively clean glass and cover the entire affected without streaking or dragging. It also holds water well and distributes it evenly over a surface to clean evenly as it is used.
Start with two towels one the wash towel and the other the drying towel. Wash the edge of the window then fill in the square. Follow the same path when drying. If you use Micro fiber towels be sure to wash and dry them separately so they don’t pick up lint from the other items in the dryer and they’ll be ready for the next time you need them.
The best method for drying any type of window is the use of a squeegee, which is a handled tool with a flat, rubber edge that glides along the surface of glass and can remove water uniformly without leaving streaks or harming the surface. The squeegee is used by nearly every window cleaning professional and is largely considered to be a staple of the industry. There’s a knack to using these and professional will usually have spent many hours perfecting their technique.
While these tools and materials are effective for the actual cleansing itself, perhaps the most important aspect of the entire process is how you approach the window in question. Step ladder are perfect to reach the windows over the sink. Important note: never stand on the thin strip of counter top in front of the sink. This section is usually not supported and can crack if you try to stand there in an attempt to reach the window.
Window cleaning, when done right, can be an effective and simple process. Knowing how to approach it and what equipment to use is necessary to make sure how it is done right. Better yet, skip a few weeks of Starbucks and hire a professional. Chances are you’ll be amazed at the difference clean windows have on how you see your environment.
About Us: Squeeky Clean Window Washing was started in January 2012, servicing residential and commercial clients in the Washington metropolitan area. We’ve earned A ratings on Yelp, Home Advisor, Google Places and Angie’s List. In addition we received the Angie’s List Super Service Award for 2012. We feel that part of our success is due to our approach to cleaning your windows, siding and gutters. We strive to use the latest technologies in window cleaning to allow us, in an ecological and economical way, to bring the highest quality results to our customers while maintaining the safety of our employees. We have many local references that we can supply at your request.