How To Clean Windows Like  A Pro

 

In April 2018, Consumer Reports published an article titled “Take the Pain Out of Window Cleaning.” The organization had an excellent understanding of human behaviour, as many of us view window cleaning as a chore and search online for easy solutions, many of which are poorly written, hard to understand, or just plain wrong.

At High Rise Window Cleaners, we have spent years helping homeowners and property managers across Calgary, Edmonton, and Saskatoon maintain the appearance and integrity of their windows. In this article, we highlight and explain four window cleaning methods that are easy to master and yield exceptional results.

Professional Method (S-Technique) 

If you’ve ever watched a professional window cleaner at work, you may have noticed how they move the squeegee continuously across the glass and don’t lift it away until the window is completely clean. This method, known as the s-technique, is more versatile than a straight pull and is the most thorough window cleaning technique.

You will need the following materials and equipment:

● Microfibre cloth

● Squeegee with sharp rubber

● Professional detergent (we recommend Glass Gleam 4)

● Window Mop

There are several variations of the s-technique, but we will review one of the basic techniques below.

  1. Use the window mop or microfibre cloth to apply a water-detergent solution to the window and scrub the glass.
  2. Pick up the squeegee and drag it across the left side of the window, towards the upper left corner.
  3. Without raising the squeegee off the glass, drag it from the upper left to the upper right corner of the window and then drag down, covering approximately the top quarter of the window.
  4. To cut down the middle, make arcing motions with the squeegee, going from right to left and then left to right. With each arc, confirm that the squeegee overlaps the remaining soap by about one and a half inches from the end of the tool.
  5. Close out (make the final stroke) by keeping the squeegee channel parallel to the bottom or side of the window.
  6. To drain excess water from your squeegee at the end, press it gently against the window ledge.
  7. Use a towel to touch up the corners and edges of the window as well as the sill or ledge to remove any residual water. 
  8. If you are cleaning inside, dry up pooled water on the floor.

It can take some practice to fully master the s-technique, but once you do, you will deliver bright, streak-free windows more quickly. If your home has a lot of windows or you are responsible for the maintenance of several properties, this method will save you a lot of time without compromising on results.

Pressure Washer Method

Pressure washing is one of the quickest window cleaning techniques. When done properly, it helps remove especially stubborn residue and can make the windows look factory-new.

You will need the following materials and equipment:

● Pressure washer with various spray nozzles

● Hose

● Multipurpose soap specially made for pressure washers

Before you start, take the following steps:

● Understand how the machine operates. Any mistakes in washer operation could break the glass, damage exposed wood, and potentially cause other problems. Read all manufacturer documentation before using the washer for the first time.

● Check the condition of your windows. If any of them are damaged, do not clean them until repairs have been carried out.

● Check the frames for any spots that need repainting or caulking caulking, as the water force could damage the exposed wood.

Once you’ve become familiar with how the pressure washer operates and confirmed that the windows and their casings are in good shape, take the following steps:

  1. Soak the soil beneath each window to dilute any chemicals in the dripping soap.
  2. Confirm that the pressure is at its lowest level (between 1,200 and 2,000 PSI) before you turn it on. Spray water on the ground and adjust until you get the ideal pressure.
  3. Use a soaping tip to add soap into the washer’s reservoir. When in use, the wand with this tip will issue a lower-pressure stream of solution than other tips.
  4. Turn on the washer and activate the wand. Aim it at a 45-degree angle to the window, which will remove dirt from the glass, trim, and sill. Maintain a distance as you spray, and work from the edge of each pane toward the centre.
  5. To rinse the windows, turn off the machine and switch the soaping tip for a general use one that delivers a 15 to 20-degree angle. Spray from the top of each window downwards.

Water Fed Pole Method

A water fed pole is an extendable pole with a brush head and pump system that dispenses water on demand. It can be extended up to 70 feet, making it a tool of choice for cleaning skylights and windows on multi-storey buildings without having to use a ladder. Because it uses pure water instead of detergent, there’s nothing to rinse away.

  1. Switch on the pump, plug the pole in, and extend it. 
  2. Turn on the flow valve.
  3. Brush the whole window at least twice with the water flowing. Focus on the top edge of the glass first, as dirt tends to collect there. Depending on how dirty the windows are, you may have to brush multiple times.
  4. Rinse off the glass by holding the brush head between 10 and 12 inches from the window and creating a ‘water curtain’ effect from the top. Follow it down the pane with the water jets.

Some property owners have health and environmental concerns that make them reluctant to clean their windows using a detergent. The water fed pole method only uses purified water, making it a system of choice for those who would prefer not to use chemical solutions.

Vinegar Method

Often described as a ‘miracle of nature’, vinegar is regularly used as a household cleaner and disinfectant. Its acidic composition breaks down the debris that routinely accumulates on glass surfaces like windows and leaves a sparkling, streak-free shine.

You will need the following materials and equipment:

● White (distilled) vinegar

● Microfibre cloths

● Squeegee with sharp rubber

● Mop

● Large bucket

If your windows are loaded with dust and dirt, vacuum the worst of it away so that your sponge doesn’t pick it up and leave streaks. Use a small brush attachment on the interior glass. On the exterior, use a portable vacuum, followed by a thorough hosing. After you’re done, follow the steps below.

  1. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in the bucket. 
  2. Dip a microfibre cloth into the bucket, squeeze to remove excess solution, and wipe the entire window down.
  3. Use the squeegee to wipe the solution away. Each time you finish a stroke, wipe the rubber edge dry with a microfibre cloth. Make sure that your strokes overlap by at least an inch.
  4. Wipe down the corners and edges of the window with a cloth to prevent any cleaning solution from dripping down the glass.
  5. Clean up excess solution from the sill or the floor.

You can also use vinegar to clean the window tracks. Sprinkle one or two tablespoons of baking soda on each track, add a small amount of vinegar, and let it fizz briefly. After loosening stubborn dirt by applying a q-tip, apply paper towels to the track to soak up the baking soda-vinegar solution and wipe clean.

 

Bonus Tips

Below are some additional tips that will improve the quality of your cleaning efforts.

● Use a glass scraper to gently remove tape, decals, and paint before you start cleaning.

● Don’t use newspaper to clean or dry windows. Although many people swear by this method, the ink can run and leave dark streaks everywhere.

● Use distilled water. When non-distilled water evaporates, it can leave mineral deposits on the glass.

● Use a squeegee with a sharp rubber blade to ensure total water removal from the glass.

● Don’t pull the squeegee off the glass mid-swipe. Doing so will leave water behind and create streaks.

● Ideally, clean your windows on a cloudy day. When the sun is out, your cleaning solution will dry more quickly and increase the chance of leaving streaks behind.

Conclusion

Although the right tools and techniques will help you do a quality window cleaning job, there will be times when you want help from a professional. Perhaps you manage a highrise, have multiple buildings to maintain, or you don’t have the time or resources to deliver perfect results. 

If this is the case, let High Rise Window Cleaners help. We provide reliable and superior window cleaning services for residential and commercial properties at fair and competitive prices. For added convenience, we can offer you a scheduled contract so that your windows are in peak condition and appearance every season. For more information, call (587) 985-3434.