There are many professional window cleaning tools available for you. This article is intended to highlight the primary tools used, and to discuss the purpose and variations of some of the tools available. Specifically, this article offers detailed information regarding squeegees, scrubbing wands, detailing towels, scrapers, tool belts, window cleaning solution, and ladders.
The Scrubbing Wand:
The scrubbing wand is the window cleaning tool that does the actual scrubbing of the window. The wand is in the shape of a “T” and is made of a lightweight, durable plastic. A lint-free cover sleeve slips over the top of the scrubbing wand, and is held in place with snaps or Velcro tabs. The wand is then dipped into a bucket filled with the cleaning solution, and then the scrubbing begins.
I’ve used all of the professional cleaning solutions out there over many years. I have found, and always come back to, the old faithful dish washing soap. Yes, that’s right, Dawn dish washing detergent. I use the degreaser type, and a lot of it. I have found it cuts finger prints really well, and it has the most efficient “dwell time”. Dwell time is a term I use when referring to how long the cleaning solution stays on the glass. Many of the professional products, or even products such as ammonia, evaporate too quickly and you are not able to get the window clean before the cleaning agent has evaporated.
Occasionally you will encounter really tough dirt and/or debris stuck to the glass that requires the use of a tool stronger than the scrubbing wand. When you encounter this situation, I resort to using a scraper. It is very important, however, that you only use scrapers that are specially designed to be used on glass. Never use a putty knife or box cutter. One good scraper blade that can be used is a standard one inch razor blade. Always make sure the blade is new, because rust on a blade can cause damage to glass. A clean razor blade will not damage the glass.
The squeegee is the primary tool used in the window cleaning profession. It is almost impossible to really clean a window without using a squeegee. Squeegees are used to remove the water and cleaning solution from the glass after it has been washed. The old-school brass squeegee channels still seem to be used by most professionals. Squeegees are available in sizes ranging from 6” to 24’. For the beginner, I suggest starting out with a fourteen inch squeegee.
It has been my experience that most professionals use surgical towels for their detailing needs. Surgical towels can be found at most janitorial supply shops. Detailing towels are used primarily for detailing the edges around the frame or touching up small spots that were may have been missed by the squeegee.
Finding a tool belt that works for you and your particular preferences can be challenging. It is important to keep in mind that you want your belt to be large enough to hold the tools that you use frequently so that you are able to keep the tools with you, but not so large that it becomes unnecessarily cumbersome, and thereby slows your efficiency down. For me personally, I prefer to keep my bucket of cleaning solution on my belt, and I keep my scrubbing wand in the bucket so that it does not drip anywhere in my customer’s home. Then I am also able to keep a little reserve of cleaning solution in the bucket so that I can clean a few windows at a time without going back to my main bucket so frequently. I also have a double holster to hold two squeegees, typically a fourteen and an eighteen inch for most homes. You may also want a single holster to hold your scraper. I keep my detailing towels thrown over my shoulder. There are many different options available with regard to tool belts. You should try to find the one that works best with your cleaning style.
For the beginner you may want to stick with a simple step ladder that is no taller than six feet tall. Anything taller can be dangerous. Always have a second person when working on slippery surfaces or on uneven ground outside. Even then, be sure to use great caution and safety measures.