Thought there was only one way to clean a window? Well, you’d be wrong. From the chamois to the water fed pole, there have been varying ways that the professionals have endeavoured to keep our windows wonderfully sparkling.
Although glass was around during ancient times it wasn’t until the mid 1800s that it was used widely in windows and of course, they had to be kept clean, usually with plenty of elbow grease. For smaller residential buildings the task would have been left to the servants but with the dawn of taller buildings with lots of windows a new industry was born. The war years in the mid 20th century saw the decline of window cleaning for various reasons but when reconstruction after WW2 began, the taller modern buildings of the post-war era required a modern window cleaning solution.
Then came the birth of the squeegee…
The squeegee was first invented in the 1930s by Ettore Steccone, an Italian immigrant to the US. He modelled it on previous similar inventions based on fishermans’ tools used to clear fish guts from boat decks and he patented it in 1936. It has been popular with window cleaners ever since.
Professional window cleaners today use a whole range of tools and techniques. The water fed pole is particularly effective – it feeds purified water from a water tank up a hole, which then brushes any dirt away without leaving streaks or smears. These poles are available in a range of lengths, with the longest being around 70 ft. The big advantage is that window cleaners can do a brilliant job without having to climb up potentially hazardous ladders. However, traditional window cleaning still has a place in the industry and here’s why…
Traditional window cleaning is an excellent way to clean interior windows. Whilst there are interior water-fed pole options on the market, these are usually more suited for cleaning commercial properties, meaning traditional methods are still the most effective for residential work.
Some of us just don’t believe the water-fed pole system is effective and would prefer windows to be cleaned in the tried and trusted method.
Certain types of windows need much more delicate care, for example leaded and stained-glass windows that could be fragile and won’t be very watertight. This is where traditional methods come to the fore.
The water-fed pole system is the go-to for windows that are difficult to access but there are odd occasions where this can’t work effectively. This is usually the case where a house has balconies, where the railings jut out and prevent access. Other examples include interior courtyards, areas too far from the window cleaner’s vehicle, or where trailing hoses are just not a viable proposition.
As with any forms of machinery things can go wrong. If any components of the water-fed pole system fail part way through a day or job, it might make sense to use traditional methods to complete the work.
For some instances windows may be too heavily soiled to be cleaned using a water-fed pole system, for example if they’ve not been cleaned for quite a while, or for new-builds on a building site. With this in mind the best solution is to use traditional methods to ensure the windows are fully clean.
Cleaning products used for traditional-type window cleaning can leave a clear film on the glass that can’t be wiped away attracting more dirt and making windows get dirtier much quicker.
No film is left on glass so windows stay cleaner for longer
Pure water ensures a clear, streak-free finish
No ladders are required meaning it’s safer and there’s more privacy
Able to reach higher windows and previously inaccessible windows above conservatories
Not so good for interior windows
Could suffer a malfunction
Not so effective for hard to reach windows
May not work so well on very dirty windows
Traditional window cleaning v other methods – the verdict…
There are many reasons why a window cleaner may use a water fed pole to clean your windows which is why it has become the staple method for an increasing number of window cleaners. However, a window cleaner who is also adept at traditional methods can reach parts that others cannot. Traditional methods are still the most effective for residential work.