Squeegee Window Cleaning: How To for a Streak Free Shine
Professional window cleaners know that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to achieving a streak free shine. Behind the shiny reflection are the right tools, perfected technique and attention to detail, all of which can be mastered to increase the speed and efficiency of window cleaning. With over 50 years of experience innovating for the commercial cleaning industry, Unger has worked with window cleaners globally to solidify the best tools and techniques for traditional squeegee window cleaning.
With your squeegee in hand, here’s how you can increase the speed and efficiency when cleaning regular sized windows:
Prepare Your Must-Have Squeegee Window Cleaning Tools
To achieve the best window cleaning results with traditional methods, you’ll need the following tools:
- Window cleaning bucket: For glass and window cleaning by hand with a washer and squeegee, you’ll want a lightweight, easy to handle cleaning bucket with a sieve combination.
- Window cleaning solution: Look for a professional glass cleaner that’s specifically designed for removing unyielding stains from windows without harming the surface, such as hard-water stains, rust, mineral deposits and soap scum. You’ll also want a window cleaner that leaves behind a smooth surface for squeegees to effortlessly glide across.
- Window washing sleeve: Using a microfiber washer sleeve traps more dust and debris than utilizing a cotton alternative, creating a smoother surface for the squeegee to slide over. You can also source a washer sleeve that comes with a scrubbing pad on the end to help tackle tough-to-remove residue.
- Glass scraper: A window scraper is essential for removing tough residue and adhesive that the microfiber sleeve cannot wash away. Sourcing a scraper with an anti-slip handle and protective cap for when it’s not in use will ensure a safer cleaning process.
- Window squeegee: A professional window and glass squeegee should be lightweight and ergonomic to ensure a safe cleaning experience that minimizes the risk of repetitive stress injuries (RSIs). Additional features to check for include sharp rubber edges for streak-free cleaning; safety features that will hold the squeegee firmly in place when used with a telescopic cleaning pole; and easily removable rubber blades for quick replacement.
- Microfiber cloths: For your finish work, a microfiber cleaning cloth can absorb over six times its weight in water, making quick work of drying window frames and sills.
Before You Start Washing, check the Rubber
Even with the best window squeegee and technique, you can compromise the results if your rubber blades are not in the ideal condition. Sharp rubber blades will minimize streaks, therefore you’ll want to change the rubber out after 15 hours of use or sooner if needed. You’ll know it’s time when you start seeing excessive streaking or notice a nick in the rubber.
Standard Window Cleaning with the “S” Technique
Step #1: Remove dust, debris and cobwebs
Before washing the window, the first step is to clean the window frame with a damp microfiber cloth using a reverse “U” approach, starting at the bottom left, heading upwards, and then finishing in the lower right corner. This step will remove any loose debris and cobwebs from the frame.
Step #2: Properly hold & apply the correct amount of pressure to the squeegee
Hold the squeegee handle in your dominant hand (you’ll have the washer in the other) and place the blade at a 45° angle to the glass, making sure to keep steady pressure on it throughout your movements. If you apply too much pressure, you’ll find it difficult to glide the squeegee over the surface, while too little pressure will leave water behind.
A common mistake is to overcorrect the pressure when streaking occurs, thinking that more pressure is better. However, by pushing the squeegee too firmly into the glass, you’ll inhibit the rubber’s sharp edge from doing its job.
In this case, practice makes perfect. Once you relax your hand and find the ideal grip that’s just tight enough to control the squeegee, you’ll find that the squeegee just rests in your hand and is ready to work!
Step 3: Execute the “S” squeegee window cleaning technique
The window washing technique refers to the wave pattern used to clean the window from the top to the bottom, never lifting the channel from the surface.
With the weight of the squeegee applying the pressure and not your hand, start by pulling the squeegee at an acute angle upwards into the left corner and then to the other side. Always concentrate on the front protruding end of the squeegee and don’t worry about what the lower end is doing, as given the pattern of motion, you will automatically come back to this area later.
When you reach the right corner with the front end of the squeegee as pointed as possible, go down in one movement while turning the squeegee. You’ll note that the previously lower end of the squeegee is now the fixed point. Repeat the same motion in the new direction, moving towards the left. Keep repeating the flowing “S” movement, changing the leading end with each change of direction, until you have reached the final corner.
Step #4: Remove remaining residue with a glass scraper
Ideally, the washer sleeve can scrub off any residue from the window, but for sticky residue, like adhesive, you can follow up with a glass scraper. To use correctly, push the glass scrapper across the window in a short sickle-like formation from top to bottom, maintaining the same amount of pressure. When moving backwards, make sure to always close the glass scraper. Moving it backwards over residue could leave marks or scratches on the glass.
Step #5: Pay attention to the finish work
Now, the detail work begins. Once finished with the squeegee window cleaning, you’ll want to run the microfiber glass cloth along the edges of the window to remove any residual water from the initial clean. Then you can wipe down the windowsill. While speed and efficiency are at the top of your mind, your customers will appreciate your extra attention to detail when it comes to the finish work.
Increasing the Speed, Safety and Efficiency of Squeegee Window Cleaning
The perfect window cleaning technique can only take you so far when time is of the essence. Sourcing the right commercial window washing equipment is critical to getting the job done as efficiently and quickly as possible. Click here to read about what to look for when sourcing indoor window cleaning tools and here for guidance on selecting the best outdoor professional window cleaning solution.