How to clean windows
Who are we?
We are The Window Boyz. We are window cleaners from Brisbane, Australia. We are always busy, cleaning residential homes, solar panels, driveways, houses strata blocks, shop front windows and other small-medium rise commercial buildings.
We’re often asked about hints and tips on getting a amazing window cleaning result, "What's the secret to getting the windows looking so clean and shiny?".
In this blog post we will answer commonly asked questions about window cleaning - to help both householders and the professionals alike.
Window cleaning equipment required
To get off to a good start with cleaning your windows, it's important to have good quality equipment. Some of this may be a little more specialised, but you should be able to find it all at a large hardware store such as Bunnings, or a cleaning supplies shop - just type "cleaning supplies" into Google to find one close to you.
Wide professional window cleaning bucket
Preferably wide enough to fit the squeegee and mop in. This one on the right is great for professionals, but a little over the top for householders. You can find the easily at Bunnings and they are not expensive.
There are huge differences in quality available, and this is probably the most crucial tool of all. So we suggest purchasing a good quality window squeegee. Unger, Ettore, Sorbo are recommended brands.
Typical squeegee - fixed handle
We have various sizes from 4 inches to 24 inches, but we use the 14 inch squeegee about 90% of the time.
Window cleaning mop
Window cleaning mops come in two pieces: the plastic t-bar and the sleeve. When the sleeve gets dirty, you can detach it from the t-bar and put it in the washing machine. It's usually attached by Velcro or buttons. 14 inches is a good length.
Typical window cleaning mop
The sleeves come in different versions: Porcupine - with little plastic bits throughout it to help scrub off tough marks. But our favourite is definitely the Water Retention one. It's handy not to have to return to the bucket so much to dab more water on it. The handles can either be fixed, or swivel. The swivel one is easier on the wrist and far better when using a pole.
This comes with replaceable metal blades and is useful to get tough marks off, such as paint, varnish or stubborn insect marks. A little one inch, pocket scrapper (as seen to the right) is usually enough for most maintenance jobs, but larger 3 and 6 inch ones that fit onto the end of the pole are good for scraping larger areas.
Small safety scraper
Take care using scrapers on glass! If you don't know the correct methods, you could cause permanent damage!
We hate to be the one that lets the cat out of the bag since there are a lot of window cleaners who jealously guard their secret formula, but we don't see any point in not telling. 'Morning Fresh' and 'Palmolive' are probably the most popular detergents. At the cleaning supplies shop you can spend a lot of money on all kinds of window cleaning detergents. We've tried a lot of them, and seem to always come back to Palmolive.
Some people recommend vinegar in warm water. The biggest problem with this is that it doesn't foam up. The foam are important to lubricate the rubber as it passes over the glass, making it a lot easier to turn the squeegee. They also make it easier to see any water marks that need wiping off. In fact, they help to show up areas that need more scrubbing because the pattern of the bubbles separate more where there is a finger mark or some other dirt.
This could just be an old towel (old is best as the lint and fluff would have worn away). We usually carry a towel and a microfibre cloth.
Window Cleaning Poles
We carry a short one that extends. It is 1.5m closed, 2.3m opened. This can be very handy for certain windows, but you need to know how to use it. We also use a 4 section pole that extends to 3 storeys high - though it is nearly impossible to clean accurately at that length. 2 storeys is about the limit for squeegees on a pole.
We find a three step step-ladder is very useful, and the extension ladder that reaches about 2.5 storeys high - not advised for anyone not confident being at heights and make sure you have someone hold the ladder for you.
Tool Belt and Bucket-on-a-Belt
This is really just for the professionals. It is a small bucket that hangs down one leg off a belt around the waist. It is a great place to easily stash you mop and squeegee, saving them from dripping all over the place, and also giving you two free hands while walking up the ladder, on the roof, etc.
How to do it
Fill the bucket to about half or a bit less with cold water. Hot water will make the water evaporate too quickly.
Put a few squirts of detergent into the water, or as we prefer, apply the detergent directly onto the wet mop.
Rub the wet mop (that has detergent on it) onto the window. Give it a good rub to make sure all the dirt is lifted.
This is the time to scrape any stubborn marks off with the scrapper. If you need to use the scraper, make sure to only pass the blade in the forward direction, i.e. don't scrape backwards - this could drag the dirt, cement, etc. across the glass causing scratches.
Now get the squeegee ready. Let's assume you're right-handed. Hold the handle of the squeegee in your right hand with your thumb halfway between the top and side. When you place it on the glass, you want to have it at the correct angle. To work this out, say the angle when the handle is touching the glass is 0 degrees, and the angle when lifting it off the glass is 90 degrees (with the rubber still on the glass). You want the angle in between those two - about 45 degrees. Try to maintain that angle for the next step. We also need to have the right amount of pressure on the glass. You can really only work this out with experience. Too light and you won't collect all the water, too hard and it will be difficult to move it around. Try to keep a constant pressure the whole time.
Now you are ready to clean the water off the glass with the squeegee. Start at the top left corner and snake your way down the window. Make sure to go right to the edges. With a little practise, you will be able to manage this with no water marks left in the middle of the window.
It is nearly impossible to do a window without having to wipe the edges. Even the pros normally have to do this! That's where the micro-fibre cloth comes in. This is great for getting rid of those water marks anywhere on the glass. Use it dry. You can just put it in the washing machine when it's too wet or dirty. We go through one or two per house, but beginners will normally need a few more.
Use the towel to wipe up any water spilt onto the windowsill and the floor. We generally don't use microfiber cloths to wipe along the bottom of the window frame because this is going to dirty it very quickly. Use the towel for that area.
If there are any other marks, such as little insect marks or grubby finger marks that didn't quite come off, give it a rub with a clean part of the micro-fibre cloth, or start again with the mop.
And that's it! Your windows will look amazing!
So there you have the inside scoop on how to get a perfect finish to your windows.
When you're in need of a dependable window, gutter, solar panel, glass pool fence, shower screen or high pressure Cleaning Service, don’t hesitate. Contact The Window Boyz today.