HomeownerEducational: N-Z

Window Cleaning

Window Cleaning Methods

Some residential window cleaners hand-wash windows, which allows the cleaner to attend to the work in greater detail. If your windows are washed by hand, the window cleaner will access your windows using a ladder. The cleaning technician will remove each window’s screen and wash and dry the window glass and sill. The screen should be wiped clean before being replaced. Many companies will thoroughly wash window screens for an additional fee.

Water-fed pole cleaning, in which the window is cleaned with high-pressure purified water forced through a long tube, is faster than hand-washing, and it allows the cleaning technician to remain on the ground for most residential jobs. A water-fed pole cleaning system uses a brush on the end of the pole to scrub the windows and loosen and remove dirt and debris. Each window should be carefully rinsed with plain water to ensure that any remaining dirt on the window is washed away.

Be sure to ask prospective window cleaners about the cleaning agents that will be used. It is very important that the cleaning solution not contain hydrofluoric acid, which, though used in some commercial cleaning fluids, has a high reactivity with glass and can cause etching or pitting.

In most cases, professional window cleaners use plain, purified water instead of harsh cleaning solutions. Purified water doesn’t leave spots behind on the window panes, and it doesn’t contain chemicals that could harm landscaping, kids, or pets. Stubborn debris, such as caked-on dirt or paint overspray, is typically removed by hand using a scraper with a rigid edge.

Most experts recommend that homeowners get their windows professionally cleaned a minimum of twice per year. However, more frequent cleanings may be prudent, depending on your area’s climate. If you live near the ocean or in an area with high rainwater mineral content, for instance, cloudy residue can accumulate on windows in a short period of time.

A professional window cleaning service is also a good idea if you are considering putting your house on the market. Clean windows allow more light into a room, and bright, light-filled rooms are more appealing to potential buyers. Clean windows can also make a noticeable difference in the quality of the listing photos taken by your real estate agent.

Price Quoting

Window cleaning is often quoted over the phone based on the number and style of your home’s windows. When the technician arrives and evaluates the job in person, he or she adjusts the price accordingly. If you compare phone estimates, note that not all of the quotes will reflect the same level or method of cleaning.

Once the technician arrives and quotes a firm price, that price should not change unless you change the scope of the work. If you want to alter the job’s scope after work has begun, be sure to get a firm, updated estimate. Request an on-site estimate for the most accurate quote (and so that the company knows how much time to schedule for your job).

Industry Standards

The window cleaning industry’s professional organization, the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA), outlines a code of ethics and sets standards for service and safety within the industry. Contractors who are members of the IWCA also have access to additional training in safety methods developed by the industry.

The IWCA recommends that homeowners ensure a window cleaner carries liability insurance and workers’ compensation.

Window Cleaners

Any company working at the home should carry proper insurance. This is especially true for window cleaners. Damage to property is always a possibility; due to the heights involved, there is also the potential for worker injury.

If an uninsured worker is injured on your property, you will most likely be liable for the ensuing costs. In many cases, this type of scenario can also result in your homeowners’ insurance provider cancelling your coverage. Always verify appropriate insurance coverage for any window cleaning or home improvement contractor you hire.

Window cleaning is a popular springtime and pre-winter holiday chore, so you may encounter a brief delay in services if you call to schedule during these busy times of year. Plan ahead and be flexible with your preferred service window, if possible, or try to schedule services during the off-season.

Additional Services

Many window cleaning companies offer other types of window services, including cleaning and repair of caulking and replacement of torn or brittle screens, so all window maintenance can be done at once.

During a standard window cleaning service, your cleaning technician will alert you to any problems he or she finds with the windows. Since the cleaning technicians get so close to each window, they can easily spot wood rot, insect infestations, torn screens, and other signs of window (or more general home exterior) deterioration.

Also ask your window cleaning company about additional home exterior cleaning services. Some companies offer pressure washing and gutter cleaning services, but not all do. In most parts of the country, homes benefit from twice yearly gutter cleaning and pressure washing services. Gutter cleaning, in particular, is an important service to have performed in late spring and late fall. This timing ensures that fallen leaves and debris are removed from your gutters in preparation for melting snow and summer rainstorms.

If your window cleaning company offers these additional services, scheduling all three—window cleaning, gutter cleaning, and pressure washing—at the same time biannually ensures that your home will always look its best.

Some window cleaning companies also offer cleaning and light bulb replacement services for hard-to-reach interior and exterior light fixtures. Dust, grime, and pollen can build up on interior and exterior light fixtures over the years, causing them to dull. Chandeliers and exterior flood lights are virtually impossible to reach without an extension ladder, but professional window cleaners have all of the necessary tools and equipment to access them efficiently and safely.

Professional window cleaners know how to clean chandeliers and other delicate light fixtures without damaging them; in many cases, this involves partially disassembling the fixture. Since the light bulbs in these fixtures are also often difficult to reach, cleaning technicians can take care of that task as part of their cleaning procedure.