Right Equipment Important
Good quality equipment cannot be stressed enough when it comes to window cleaning. Although some of the equipment may be a little more specialized, you should be able to find it all at a large hardware store or a cleaning supplies shop.
Squeegee is Most Crucial of All
When it comes to squeegees, there are huge differences in quality available. Since this is probably the most crucial tool of all, you should concentrate on getting a good one, not like the ones you find at petrol stations. Recommended brands are Unger Ettore or Sorbo. Wagtail is also a good brand and it’s Australian, but the swiveling handle takes a little more getting used to. Good quality squeegees will usually come assembled from three pieces. The handle, the channel and the piece of rubber supported by the channel. The rubber can be turned over when it gets old, and then replaced when both sides have worn out. (Window cleaners usually have their favorite brand of rubber, but I don’t think it makes a big difference.) Sizes can range from 4 inches to 24 inches, but the most commonly used is the 14-inch squeegee.
Bucket and Mop a Must
Your bucket needs to be wide enough to accommodate both squeegee and mop. The mop, which is also referred to as the washer and wand, comes 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. Velcro or buttons usually attaches it. 14 inches is a good length. The sleeves come in different versions: Porcupine – with little plastic bits throughout it to help scrub off tough marks, Regular, Scourer – with a scouring strip on one side. But my favorite 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.
Scraper is Very Useful
The scraper 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 scraper 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. Be careful using scrapers on glass. If you don’t know the correct methods, you could cause permanent damage.
Reliable Detergent Important
There are a lot of window cleaners who like to guard their secret formula. However, it is hard to go wrong with Morning Fresh and Palmolive, according to some professional window cleaners. At the cleaning supplies shop you can spend a lot of money on all kinds of window cleaning detergents but just experiment and see which ones do the best job. Some people recommend vinegar in warm water. The biggest problem with this is that it doesn’t suds up. The suds 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.
Other Items Necessary for the Job
In the way of rags, you could just use an old towel (old is best as the lint and fluff would have worn away). Poles that extend are also important. You may want to use a 4-section pole that extends to 3 stories high – though it is nearly impossible to clean accurately at that length. Two stories is about the limit for squeegees on a pole and even that is pretty tricky. As far as ladders, a three-step stepladder may be the most useful of all. There may also be a need for an extension ladder that reaches about 2.5 stories high. A tool belt is handy to have when it comes to supporting a side bucket or for easily accessing your scraper and rags. A bucket-on-a-belt hangs down one leg off a belt around the waist. It is a great place to easily stash your 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.