Tools of the Trade
In any job you give credit (or blame) to the man doing the job, not the tools he uses. But let’s be honest, the tools make a difference. A professional chef doesn’t use dull knives, and a window cleaner doesn’t use Windex (see my last blog). Here I’ll lay out some of my tools for you so you can understand why what I use actually works.
A monsoon is basically a glorified sponge. But instead of squeezing out water and smearing dirt across your windows, the monsoon is woven lambs wool with extra long fibers to hold more water and pick up more dirt. The monsoon can cover large amounts of window in just a few seconds making it swift and effective.
It’s not good enough to simply wipe the dirt away with the monsoon. If the water on the window is left to dry on its own you will find large water marks that are no easier to see through than the dirt was before. Think of it like going through a car wash and not having your car dried off a the end, or think of the little spots left all over your car after the rain drops dry. The squeegee whisks away water and any residual dirt left by the monsoon. It’s rubber head slides across smoothly without damaging the glass or leaving water behind. Any tiny streaks left behind after the squeegee are easily wiped away with a clean cloth.
In my opinion, this is the most important tool. Even a bad window cleaner can be successful if they are good with a towel. I use professional grade towels, not generic ones you would find in a store. In fact, a veterinarian friend recently informed me that they are the same towels used in surgeries. I’ve also probably stolen or left one or two in confusion at an oral surgery office I clean. This Towel is 100% cotton and 99% lint-free. Because I use them for touch-ups, they don’t leave streaks and are incredibly effective. I use them to wipe away any streaks left by the squeegee as well as to go around the edge of your window and soak up any water left behind.
I’m only so tall and my arms only reach so high. My monsoon and my squeegee easily attach to my pole to help me reach the tops of windows without having to lug around a step ladder. (Although I am more likely to use a step ladder during a residential job as those windows usually have more framing and a pole works best on large single paned windows.)
If your cleaning is set up on a consistent basis, the first clean will be with the monsoon, squeegee, and cloths. After the first clean, windows that are hard to reach or are rarely touched (so there are little to no fingerprints) can be cleaned with a green pad. I’ve had it compared to that of a Swiffer. The green pad is a microfiber pad which I spray distilled water on. This combination does not leave any residue when it dries and is used more as a maintenance clean than a deep clean. I also use it to fix streaks on difficult residential windows.
A small blade, much like a box cutter, is used to remove those tough substances that are dried on the glass when wiping them just won’t do it. Done wrong, the blade will scratch glass so this isn’t something to attempt on a whim.
This one doesn’t get much use. However, windows covered in silicone (a window cleaners mortal enemy) call for desperate measures. Fine grade steel wool erases silicone off windows with ease, somehow not scratching the window in the process. Not sure the science behind that, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
A few drops of dawn to a few gallons of water, it really is that simple. Vinegar can be used on those really tricky jobs like when silicone and paint are stuck on the windows, but for the average job dawn soap does wonders (and doesn’t leave that nasty smell behind). You trust dawn for your dishes, why not for your windows? As an added bonus, when I’m done, your windows will be clean enough to eat off of.
I’d like to thank my bucket for holding my solution. I’d also like to thank my ladder for getting me closer to those higher and hard to reach windows. And we can’t forget about my car for getting me where I need to go. And finally, my wife, for bringing me things when I forget them at home.
Sea Monster Window Cleaning operates on Mobile Bay's Eastern Shore - Spanish Fort, Daphne, Fairhope, Robertsdale, Foley, and more. Contact Cory for your free estimate.