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Beat the streaks out of winter blues

September 19, 2010
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Mark Church has been cleaning windows for 29 years, and based on experience, has this advice for people: Living in the northwest part of the country, where the winters can be rather cold, there are a few tricks that can make your life easier when cleaning windows inside and out.

One thing Church, of MasterCare, Roseburg, OR, said to remember when working outside your facility is that your cleaning agent can make the rungs on your ladder slippery. You can actually be a hero if you are brave enough to face the bitter cold. 

When the temperatures fall below freezing, add a pint of rubbing alcohol to your solution. If you skip this step, the water will likely freeze on the window before you can squeegee it off. 

You would then have to use an ice scraper on the window — not a good use of time.

It’s best to use the same mixture when cleaning the inside of the windows, because even if the windows have thermal panes, they will still be cold. Alcohol is inexpensive and, according to Church, it helps the window dry faster and free of streaks.

Right tools for the job

Church said he found that a strip washer works better than a brush. Strip washers — fuzzy sleeves on a “T” handle — also come in a variety of sizes, with the 14-inch being the most comfortable and workable for most situations. 

As doing large-volume cleaning in a facility is extremely labor intensive, Church said, when you throw in the seasonal factors, it becomes even more difficult.

Church highly recommends using the right tools to get the job done faster and safer. These items include:

  • Rubber gloves made especially for window cleaning, because they have a seamless design with “gripper dots” to improve the hold and control
  • Safety boots and sandals for difficult terrain
  • Belts and holsters for your equipment
  • Extension poles to reach higher areas
  • Doodlebug pads
  • Suction cups
  • Soft water, if available

Taf Baig is the founder of Magic Wand Co., Warrenville, IL.

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