Jun 15

7 Common Window Cleaning Mistakes

You’d think that cleaning windows is simple. Spray windex on… wipe it off.. done, right? Not so fast.

Here are the 7 most common window cleaning mistakes that homeowners make:

1) Using Windex

First thing’s first: Windex is actually a crappy product. If you were ever wondering, no professional window cleaner uses Windex — for good reason. There are lots of chemicals in Windex that contain dangerous compounds that can be easily inhaled. Windex has ammonia in it, which is a powerful skin and eye irritant that may trigger asthma or bronchitis. Windex also contains propylene glycol (shown to cause kidney and liver damage). These chemicals result in headaches, eye, and throat irritations. Pair that with the fact that indoor air is sometimes 5x more contaminated than outdoor air, and using Windex could be a huge danger in your home if overused.

2) Using Tap Water

Tap water is not inherently bad for windows, especially in Auburn and Opelika, where the water quality is actually far better than most of the country. However, your tap water still has minerals in it. We use a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter, which measures the amount of minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, etc) and organic matter in the water. Most places in east Alabama have a roughly 100 TDS reading. Some places in the US have upwards of 400-600, though, to give you a comparison. Problem is: professional window cleaners generally agree that water leaves spots at just 10 TDS. Regardless, our deionization tank brings the TDS reading all the way to ZERO!

3) Using Newspaper or Paper Towels

The most common method of cleaning windows involves lots, and lots, and lots, and lots……… and lots of paper towels. Using paper towels 1) is bad for the environment, 2) is wasteful, and 3) leaves small traces of the paper towels on the window.

A better (read: “still not good”) method is to use newspaper. If you are like me, you never have newspaper laying around. If you aren’t like me, you still shouldn’t use newspaper, because you’ll leave some ink on the windows, frames, and on your hands (trust me: very difficult to get off).

4) Leaving Streaks

Cleaning windows and making them streak-free is MUCH harder than it looks. When cleaning windows with windex and paper towels/newspaper, it’s very easy to miss lots of spots, which you won’t find out about until much later. And if using a traditional squeegee and doing what is called “straight pulls” (up to down, or left to right), you’ll leave streaks each pull.

That’s why professional window cleaners use the “fanning” method. This technique leaves zero streaks when done correctly.

5) Using Ladders

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: ladders are crazy dangerous. Many seasoned veterans have died after falling from ladders. For that reason, we never recommend homeowners or business owners use a ladder to clean their windows. Ladders are dangerous for users and homes, so we invested in water fed poles that can reach up to 60 feet in the air.

6) Scratching Windows By Not Using The Correct Abrasive

Tough-on window staining should not be taken lightly. It’s very easy to make a window far worse than it was before if you use the wrong abrasive. Many popular abrasives scratch windows, which can be impossible to repair. For that reason, we recommend hiring a professional window cleaner to handle windows in rough condition without making matters worse.

7) Not Having the Correct Tools

We would never expect a homeowner to carry an arsenal of window cleaning tools — that’s our job, not yours. We have the correct tools and attachments for any job. For example, we use our water fed poles for most 2nd & 3rd story residential properties. And high windows with a large ledge require special squeegees or special angle adaptors to reach the bottom of the windows. Otherwise, you’d only be able to reach the middle and top of the windows. Our top-of-the-line squeegees also allow for minimal “detailing”, but no homeowner should buy a $50+ squeegee!

About The Author

Marshall Brown is the owner of The Clear Difference, an exterior cleaning company that services Auburn and Opelika, Alabama. His company specializes in window cleaning, low-pressure roof cleaning, house washing, pressure washing, gutter cleaning, and gutter guard installation. He's an Auburn University graduate that simply didn't want to leave. He loves getting to know his customers and expanding his business.
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