Window cleaning can be done by anyone, but very few can actually do it right. Almost every home in modern society has windows of some shape or size, so it’s surprising that only a small percentage of cleaners have the right tools and materials for the job. Because of improper equipment, and improper techniques, many window cleaning jobs leave smudges, stains, or dirt that was meant to be wiped away.
That begs the question: What is the right equipment for effectively cleaning your windows? There is no easy answer to this as different types of windows and materials may require different equipment and care.
We’ve put together a list of the most common window cleaning tools you’ll need as well as what you shouldn’t use on your property’s windows.
Keep reading to explore each of these must-have items in depth and browse our product recommendations.
|It may sound obvious, but you need the right kind of bucket to clean your windows. The standard round bucket from the dollar store isn’t the right shape or depth for window cleaning, nor is it particularly sturdy for carrying around a cleaning solution.
What we like about this one: The Ettore super bucket is durable and has just the right dimensions to accommodate window cleaning tools!
Cleaning & Polishing Cloths
|Paper towels aren’t designed to clean a window, they are made for soaking up a spill, and on glass, they cause streaks. That’s where microfiber cleaning and polishing cloths come in.
What we like about this one: We like that these are reusable and backed by a 1-year or 100 wash policy. Additionally, they help achieve a streak-free shine!
|Used for removing debris that tends to dry and be tough to get off, scrapers are an essential, versatile tool.
What we like about this one: We like that this pack has so many refills with it and a second scraper. It has some good ratings too, so it’s likely a safe investment.
|It’s very easy to get caught up on the window pane part, but we often forget the tracks and grooves surrounding a window. For that, you need a brush. A brush kit that has a handful of different styles and sizes is best.
What we like about this one: We love that this kit has everything! It has many uses as well, and the brush with a sponge is great for blinds too.
|Also called a scrubber, pro cleaners use a washer to apply their cleaning solution. They come in an assortment of types and sizes to fit any job. You can also buy sleeves and T-bars separately. Some sleeves have abrasive pads, some are general cotton and some are microfiber.
What we like about this one: We like this product by eazer because it also comes with an extender pole and has multiple pads for harder jobs.
|Squeegees are used by professionals to dry your window and avoid cloudiness or smudges. It’s important to replace your rubber blade when it becomes cracked or has nicks so that it remains effective.
What we like about this one: We really like the Unger squeegee because of the size variety, its stainless steel composition, and it has a lifetime guarantee to back it up. Plus, you can get replacement rubber blades.
When cleaning windows that are more challenging due to their location, it’s about having the right additions to your tool kit, not just a different set of tools. Here are some other tools you might want to consider investing in before trying to clean your higher windows.
We explore these essential tools in depth below. Learn what you need for your home or business and what would be 0ebst for you!
|The concept is pretty simple. It’s a really long pole with a brush at the top of it and water is shot up a small tube to the brush. The windows are scrubbed with the brush, then rinsed off with purified water.
What we like about this one: The guttermaster can be used for gutters too, and attaches to most standard garden hoses and attachments, regardless if they are flow-through or not.
|For one reason or another, a waterfed pole may not be an option. If it isn’t, a simple extension pole is an important and useful addition to your tool kit.
What we like about this one: We like that EXTEND-A-REACH has a long adjustment range.. Most users found it easy to use, durable, and lightweight, making it a great purchase. Plus, almost all attachments work with it.
|Made for high-rise apartment and condo dwellers, this might be a handy option for maintaining your windows between professional cleanings. The results won’t equate a proper washing (we were hesitant to include this one), but it might help short term.
What we like about this one: This cleaner has washable cloths as well as a cord to make sure the exterior magnet isn’t lost.
|Also made for those who live in high rises, this pole let’s you just reach around hard places! This one too is ideal for in-between cleanings, but we like that you can leverage more strength with this pole.
What we like about this one: Once users got the hang of it, many found it easy enough to use. The head swivels and adjusts, and comes with its own attachments.
It may be tempting to use a ladder to reach some high windows. If you need a ladder and still require some type of extension pole like most commercial properties, consider using the professionals. It can be very dangerous without the proper safety gear and training; don’t risk personal injury or property damage just to save a little cash.
With all of these great tools, there are some tools and techniques that are going to do more harm than good to your window panes and frames. It’s easy to think that your windows are invincible, but that isn’t true. Here are the tools you don’t want to use, and the techniques you need to avoid when cleaning your own windows.
It can be tempting to grab the cheapest tool and go, but a flimsy extension pole can break under pressure, putting you at risk and potentially cracking or breaking your windows. Substandard tools can also scratch and etch glass, leaving your panes permanently damaged.
Additionally, avoid washing your windows with paper towels or newspaper. Both can leave streaks and smudges, undoing all of your hard work.
There are a few different rules of thumb on this: “Only use high concentrations of alcohol!” Or, “Don’t use any at all!” If you are going to purchase or blend your own cleaning solution, we recommend avoiding heavy chemicals. If you are blending your own, simply combine 2 cups of distilled water, ¼ cup of vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of your favorite all-natural dish soap. Rinse off the cleaning solution with more distilled water when you’re done.
Distilled water doesn’t have any minerals that can stay on your windows after you’ve worked so hard to clean them, and the gentler cleaning solution won’t jeopardize the surface structure of your window panes.
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and today is not the day to clean your windows. With elevated temperatures, glass tends to dry quicker, resulting in streaks and smudges. Wait until it’s cooler and easier to clean your windows.
Also, the extreme change in temperatures that can occur from spraying cold window cleaning solution on a hot windowpane can result in glass damage. The same principle applies to your home window as it does to your windshield: glass expands from heat, and exposing it to a cold temperature can result in cracks. Ergo, you should never defrost your car with hot water, and you shouldn’t clean your windows with a cold window solution in 90F+ weather.
Using a scraper for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to result in damaged windows. Using a scraper, or a razor if you’re more comfortable with that, make sure the blade is lying flat against the window to avoid rubbing the glass. This is a vital step in cleaning windows, especially heavily soiled ones.
*It’s best to avoid using a scraper on windows with a UV film.
It may be tempting to spray cleaner on your windows and try to wipe off build-up, but that part comes after scraping away particularly thick build-up that looks like it may not come off easily and after using your brushes to clean away dirt and dust from the window seals and frame. This avoids extra work later, and it helps keep a moderate mess from potentially becoming a much bigger one.
Much like investing in and using a pressure washer, purchasing high-quality tools and investing your time into washing windows is a lot. Between the risk of injuring yourself from a fall or inhaling chemicals, or damaging your windows and window panes, there are many reasons that consulting with professionals is often a better choice. Learn more about our window cleaning services, and how window cleaning prices compare to the cost of purchasing equipment and the time it takes to get the same results.
Find the Labor Panes location nearest to you and get a free estimate to be one step closer to professionally cleaned windows that you can enjoy all year.
We get asked a lot of questions about window cleaning. From what you can expect to the advantages of using the professionals, browse our most frequently asked questions below.
Professional cleaning services can enhance home value, eliminate mold that may be growing in your window panes, decrease allergens, and even extend the life of your windows and frames.
With Labor Panes, interior windows are included in the whole package. On average it costs between $150 to $350 to clean the interior and exterior windows of a home, but this range can vary depending on the home’s size.
You want to hire window cleaners that are licensed and insured, and who can provide reliable references for their past work. Look at how long they have been in business, how much training employees receive, and reviews from past clients. These all factor into the quality of service you can expect—we check all of those boxes, so you can expect the best.
Twice a year is standard for most residential homes. For places with a lot of pollen or pollution (such as here in the south or in urban areas), you may want to consider having your windows professionally cleaned three times a year.
Professional ones do, yes. It’s often the first step in a professional window cleaning. Window cleaners will use a wet mop to get loose debris off of the screen so that it doesn’t put dirt and debris back on your window.