For many, the idea of washing windows seems to be about as easy a task as you can have. What could be simpler? You get some soap and water, apply to the window, and wipe it off, right?
Believe it or not, however, the art of washing windows is a lot more complicated than that if you want to do it right. Because many people do not take the time to learn how to do it properly, they end up with windows that are less than crystal-clear. This is why it is important to learn what mistakes can be made when washing windows, and how to avoid them. With that in mind, here are five common mistakes people make when washing their windows.
Using the Wrong Equipment, or Using Equipment Incorrectly
As with any job, much of the question of success boils down to tools. Do you have the right tools for the job, and do you know how to use them properly? For window washing, it’s no different. There are certain must-haves that any window washer needs with them to do the job correctly: a bucket, a window cleaning solution, a large sponge or mop (to apply the water), a squeegee (to wipe it off), a microfiber cloth and a scraper.
Having this tool is important, but using them correctly is also crucial for this task. You would be surprised at how many people, for example, think that any cleaner will work on windows. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If your cleaner is not made specifically for windows it will most likely not clean things correctly or leave behind annoying streaks and spots.
Another mistake with tools is with the cloth. For some reason, people think any sort of cloth will work, but again, using the wrong sort of cloth can lead to marks on the window that defeat the whole point of cleaning the window in the first place. You should never use paper towels, regular towels or some other material to wipe down the windows.
One tool is so important it deserves its own section: the scraper. Try as you might, there will most likely be things that you simply cannot get off your windows, including clumps of dirt, mud, gum and other objects that somehow make their way to the window and get stuck. These objects can get hard very quickly, making a barrier that most cleaners can’t penetrate. For these spots, no amount of wiping with a cloth will get it clean.
This is where the scraper comes in. A scraper is basically a hand-held tool with an edge that contains a very sharp razor or some other object. This can be used to scrape along with the window and remove the debris.
The problem is it very easy to mess this up if you don’t know how to use a scraper correctly. Windows must be scraped in one direction, with the blade of the scraper completely flush with the window. You should never move the scraper up and down, and definitely not side-to-side! Moving the scraper like that can often result in a scratched window, which can never be repaired without placing the entire pane.
Cleaning too Large of an Area
Another problem people have with window washing comes from ambition. Many windows – especially in modern-day office buildings – can be very large, and a large window can be a daunting proposition. The temptation is to try and tackle the entire window at once, starting at one side, lathering the soap on, and moving all the way over to the other before going back with the squeegee and the cloth.
However, doing this usually results in terrible looking windows, because the soap on one end literally dries before you finish applying the soap to the whole window! By the time you come back to squeegee it off, you’re left with a soapy film all over the window that won’t come off, unless you go ahead and wash it again.
As tempting as it might be to do the whole window in one go, you need to mentally break it up into sections. How large each section should be changed, but it should never be so large that the soap has begun to dry before you are able to get back to it to wipe it off.
Not Noticing the Weather
Another, a similar problem has to do with the weather. There are several different weather factors that can contribute to the success (or lack) of your window washing.
For example, on hot, sunny days the soap is going to dry quicker than it would on a colder day. This doesn’t mean don’t clean windows when it’s nice outside, but be aware that the sections of the window that you clean at one time might have to be adjusted to be smaller to compensate for the drying power of the sun. On cooler days, you have a little more time.
On the same note (and this one should be obvious, but it isn’t always) you should avoid washing windows when it’s threatening to rain. Rain, snow or other precipitation will undo everything you’re trying to accomplish when cleaning, so just be patient and wait for a day when the weather is better.
Not Being Safe
The final problem to discuss is about safety. Unless you are washing windows on a one-story building, you’re going to have to worry about being safe when high up. Never use rickety stools or broken ladders to reach higher windows; it just isn’t worth it! If your building is more than two or three stories, then it’s definitely time to call in professionals who have the training and equipment to reach those higher floors safely.
If you’re looking for help with your windows, and you’d like to know more about how a professional cleaning service like Allied Facility Care can help, please don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free quote. We are ready to meet all of your facility cleaning needs!
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