Welcome to our blog post about Exterior Window Cleaning. In our last post we discussed cleaning the inside of a homes’ windows and today we will discuss how to safely clean the exterior windows of your home safely.
Like the interior of your home you can clean your interior glass with traditional methods using a mop and a squeegee but how do you get the best results and what challenges will you face.
So, let’s look at some of the items you will need to do a professional job on the exterior glass.
· Ladder with stand off
· Mop and squeegee
· Right mix of detergent
· Hard water remover
· Steel wool 0000
· White scrubbing pad
· Tool belt
· Track brush
· Screen removal tool
· Microfiber Towels
Starting off with the ladders, as you noticed I also put a standoff in there. A standoff, attaches to the top of the ladder giving you room to push away from the glass so you are not right up against it tight. The problem with just laying your ladder against a wall is you have a very tight angle to try to get to the glass once you reach the top. This can make it unsafe and can leave you feeling a little vulnerable up there as you try to reach your equipment. The stand off really is a huge help and gives you room to work. Make sure though you purchase the right standoff for the ladder, after all it is holding you against the wall. The standoff is essential for the home owner to reach high windows safely. You would also want to have a leg leveler built into or included in the ladders for uneven ground as you make your way around the home.
Next a tool belt kitted out with your mop and squeegee, additional water, hard water remover, steel wool and track brush. When climbing your ladder, you will need to have everything on hand but put away within easy access, so you can leave your hands free for safety as you go up and down the ladder.
When you reach the level of the glass, you will need to remove the screen this can be done from either inside (safer way to do this) or the outside. You will first want to assess if you need hard water remover to take of the mineral build up left on the glass from rain. Hard water remover comes in different forms, the most popular being either a liquid that you can spray on or in a paste which you use a white scrubbing pad to polish in. You can tell you have hard water deposits as it leaves a white milky film on the glass which cannot be washed off with soap and water alone. Apply the product to the glass and use your scrubbing pad in a circular motion to remove the stains. You will then need to wash down the glass using your mop and squeegee off the water, once you have done this check to make sure you have gotten all the hard water stains off and then wash again as the hard water remover can leave a residue which will show up in sunlight.
You then need to wipe down the frame and clean out the track using your track brush and then you can exit down the ladder.
Often cleaning first floor homes you will need to have an extension pole handy to reach over plants and bushes. Washing the glass with a pole is simple enough but you must take care not to force the water and soap up in the frame. This is a common mistake, you will squeegee the glass walk away and then you will get runs on the glass. We call these tears. Now you have done the easy part washing down the glass the next part is not so easy especially when using a pole to reach over obstacles. Squeegeeing off the glass is really an art form, doing it with a squeegee, by hand is tough enough but doing it on a pole can be very difficult and will require a lot of practice to make sure you get into all the corners. Next you can close out with the squeegee either at the side of or at the bottom of the glass. Remember to go around the frame with a dry piece of microfiber cloth when you are done to pick up any excess water. You must use a clean dry piece each time you wipe, or you will leave lines.
A+ Window Cleaning uses a variety of techniques to get your glass gleaming and looking like new again. We use a combination of traditional mop and squeegee and a water fed pole. The water fed pole uses filtered water shooting through a small diameter hose up to a brush head to clean the glass and rinse leaving a spot free finish. This is a much safer way to clean glass at high levels from the ground as no ladders are needed. The operator uses a telescopic carbon fiber pole to get to the exact height and washes across the top of the glass cleaning the frames as we go. We use a special solution which leaves the glass streak free with traditional window cleaning methods and remove all the hard water from the glass.
Stay tuned to this channel for more tips and hints for keeping up with the ‘Joneses’, as we talk about shower door cleaning, broken seals, soft-washing and more.
So today I wanted to share with you some thoughts on traditional window cleaning and the methods we use at A+ window cleaning.
Our goal is to leave your home totally spot free with sparkling glass to make your neighbors envious.
One of the methods we use is traditional window cleaning but just what does that mean?
Traditional methods are done using a mop (applicator to put water on and scrub the glass) and a Squeegee to take off the dirty water. It is basically washing your windows by hand to leave a spot free finish.
So just using a window cleaning product from the store has the advantage that you can do it yourself in a relatively short amount of time. The downside to this is you are not really removing the dirt off the windows, more moving it around and taking some of the dirt away on the cloth. This tends to leave a haze and wipe marks on the glass often leaving the glass looking worse than it did before. Some brave souls with all good intentions head off to the hardware store and buy a squeegee off the shelf to get the results they are looking for. Using a squeegee takes practice and you need to keep your rubber clean of debris which can leave lines that you do not notice until the water dries. Any slight nick in the rubber will leave a line and if you are not at the correct angle, water can leak over the edge and again leave a swish mark that you will not notice until the glass dries. You then need to ensure you detail the windows around the top of the frame and edges, so you do not get what we call tears (runs) on the glass after you move away. The other thing people do not consider is the amount of time it takes to do a full clean on your glass.
So! what is the A+ way and why is hiring a window cleaning company a good investment in your home maintenance schedule?
Here is a list of the tools we use to give you that professional result every time:
To finish we wipe down all the sills to do a complete job in your home and then get ready to go outside and tackle the glass out there to be covered in another post.
Pressure washing is the use of high pressure water to remove caked on grime from a multitude of surfaces. You can choose from a variety of offerings electric or gas, cold water or hot water depending on what you are looking to clean. For smaller areas and occasional cleaning such as patio furniture you could use a cold water Electric pressure washer available at any good home store.
For tackling something a little larger like patios, a gas cold water pressure washer will work better giving you more power and so more cleaning power. You will get a variety of tips that come with these types of pressure washers allowing you to get more aggressive with your cleaning. The tips are color coded, the black tip will be used to dispense soap giving you a good coverage area with a light spray. Next you will have the green tip which is again a wider spray pattern, next you have a white tip, yellow tip and then a red tip. Each nozzle gets smaller giving you a tighter jet of water. The white tip is usually the most used. Take care with the red tip as this is a very aggressive tip for stubborn stains.
When using your wand to clean surfaces make sure you keep the wand moving at all times so as not to damage the surface you are cleaning, concentrating the nozzle on a single spot for too long can cause damage. You will also need to make sure you overlap with each pass, this is not to be rushed otherwise you will leave track lines.
Next for larger areas you would really want to hire someone with a larger more commercial machine that is built for the task. At A+ Window Cleaning we use a 4.5 gallon per minute hot water pressure washing system. The pressure washer itself has a heating coil which can take the water up to 220 degrees for maximum cleaning power. The advantage of having hot over a cold-water system is you use a lot less water and get the job done faster and more efficiently as the hot water cuts through the dirt. When we are cleaning larger surfaces such as driveways we use a surface cleaner rather than a standard wand. The surface cleaner covers a larger area and ensures we do not leave any lines giving the home owner or business owner guaranteed results. We also use a floor squeegee to remove excess water which leaves a great finish.
Pressure washing will give you amazing results if it is used on the right surface with the right tip and a regulated pressure. If you are unsure you should ask a professional or hire someone to get the job done right. You should never use a pressure washer on soft stone surfaces which we have a lot of here in Texas. The pressure on the machine is just too high and can chip the stone away causing a mess and damage. If you are trying to remove mold etc, a pressure washer is really going to remove the top surface and not be very effective at killing the mold. You will need to use a soft-washing service, which A+ Window Cleaning has and are happy to provide you with a quote. We will look at soft-washing and its many advantages in another blog post.
So this is our first blog post, something we have wanted to do to share our stories and work with everyone. I wanted to use this first entry to help everyone understand who we are and what we are all about.
A+ Window Cleaning came about because we saw a need in our local area for Window Cleaning. We were simply out walking our dogs one night and noticed that we could provide a fantastic service at a very reasonable price. When we began we went door to door and started to pick up clients for residential cleaning only. We have since moved in both residential and commercial cleaning of windows and added additional services like pressure washing, soft washing, screen repair, shower door cleaning and gutter cleaning.
The business is family run, and the posts you will see are going to come from myself Phil, my wife Lisa, and our daughter Ashley. We arrive at your home business together usually or Lisa and Ashley will arrive first. When we get to your home we will have already done a quote which you will have approved and you will receive a notification VIA text message to let you know we are on our way with an estimated time of arrival. We have a uniform on blue shirts with our logo and khaki pants.
Upon arrival at your home we will use shoe covers to protect your floors. Our first step is to remove any screens you have, usually from the inside. Many different types of screens are available but the usual two we find here in Cedar park, Leander, Round Rock, Liberty Hill and Austin are spring loaded at the top with black tabs at the bottom, to remove these it is a case of grabbing onto the lower black tabs and gently lifting to depress the spring at the top of the screen and pushing outwards to remove the screen. Next we brush out and wash down your tracks, dirt and bugs collect in here so we use a stiff track brush and soap solution or steam cleaner to get the track looking like new. Once the tracks have been cleaned it is onto the glass.
A+ window cleaning uses traditional methods when cleaning interior windows. Traditional methods are a mop, this is used to apply the cleaning solution to the glass and then a squeegee to remove the cleaning solution. The mops and cleaning solution agitate the dirt not the glass and the Squeegee then removes everything from the glass. Depending on how long it has been since cleans we will uses either magic erasers to remove finger prints, nose prints from animals, scrapers and 0000 steel wool so marks are gone. Finally we detail the glass using microfibre towels to ensure that we have no runs and wipe down your sill and onto the next window.
Once all the interior windows are clean we will then start on the outside, Cobwebs and bugs are first brushed away on your frames. Once this has been completed we use a variety of traditional and new Window Cleaning methods to get the outside looking amazing. One of the problems we come up against in Texas is hard water, this is where the mineral deposits build up on the glass causing a white residue. Washing alone is not going to remove this residue which generally builds up along the tops of the glass and comes about a quarter of the way down. So we use a hard water remover which is either sprayed on or put on with a white scrubbing pad designed for cleaning glass. We apply the product, leave it to dwell for a few minutes and then use a scrubbing action to remove the hard water and then apply a rinse. For additional detail work, scrapers, 0000 steel wool or magic erasers will be used.
Once the glass has had the hard water staining removed we now set about cleaning the glass and use a couple of methods. Safety is utmost for us and when cleaning a second story home we will either use ladders but mainly what is known as a water Fed Pole. Water Fed Poles have been around for a number of years and the systems keep getting better. Basically you have minerals in your water at home and just using plain water without squeegeeing it off will leave water spots on your glass. So a water fed pole system basically filters out the minerals from the water giving us what we call pure water allowing us to wash off the glass leaving it spot free with the use of a squeegee. We bring our water onsite in a 125 gallon holding tank pre filtered. The tank runs into a pump system and through a small diameter hose into the head of a brush.
Now, there are many different types of brushes that we can use which we will discuss in another post. So the brush then fits onto a carbon fiber telescopic pole, the pole can extend up to thee stories. The great part about this is not only does it leave the glass spot free and looking amazing but we can clean up to three stories from the ground, with no ladders keeping us safe on your property. Pure water flows through the pole to the brush head washing and rinsing as we go. The other advantage to using the water fed pole is we can wash down your frames at the same time. We generally use the water fed pole for second and third story work and ground but we will also use traditional methods for single story or off of patios etc.
The final step is the get your screens done, we check all of the screens for any rips, cuts and bent frames and can repair those onsite or return fixed within a couple of days if it is multiple screens that need repair. Once the screens have been inspected we then wash the screens and run them through a screen bath. A cleaning solution is applied to the screen and left to dwell. Next we have a portable screen cleaner which we run the screen through to remove dust, pollen and grime. The excess water is tapped out of the screen and the frames and then wiped down with a cloth and left to dry. Once the screens are dry they are replaced and your home is now complete. The end result is your glass is left looking like new, your screens have been removed washed and replaced, your tracks and sills have been cleaned and your glass is sparkling leaving you the envy of your neighbors. We will cover commercial cleaning and be sharing photos of our residential work on a weekly basis.
Coming soon we are about to launch our new Youtube channel are are currently working on some how to videos. Thanks for reading and remember to check back and keep up to date with us.