There are probably more myths and theories about window cleaning than any other household job. Maybe it's because it can be such a frustrating task, you rub away at the glass for what seems like hours, it looks perfect then you move to one side, or the sun comes out... and there are those smears. Still there. You can almost hear them laughing at you.
Some people seem to have a knack for the job, others don't. Knack or not, it helps to be using the right tools and techniques. So let's bust a few myths and expose a few facts that will help you get great results on your window cleaning and save your time and energy too.
Myth 1: Newspaper is great for cleaning windows.
Newspaper is great for leaving ink on your windows, but why would you want to? It'll move the dirt around a bit but it isn't actually all that absorbent and the paper will break down into a mush that sticks to the glass. Seriously, when was the last time you saw window cleaning professionals using newspaper? There's a good reason why they don't!
Myth 2: Window cleaning scrapers will damage glass.
This is very much a case of the worker blaming his tools. Correctly used scrapers won't damage glass and in some instances, sticker removal for instance, they're invaluable tools.
Myth 3: A professional window cleaning company will use environmentally damaging chemicals.
It depends on the company. Some might use a lot of products, others are environmentally responsible and will use less detergents than you do, or even none at all.
Myth 4: You should use soapy detergents on windows.
The idea here is that soap based detergents are more likely to leave streaks. There's an element on truth in this but it all depends on how you remove the water.
Myth 5: Vinegar is the only thing you need to clean glass.
Vinegar has its place for breaking down greasy stains but it alone won't bond with dirt and grime. Soap works better on many contaminants, a combination of the two may well be what you need. Here is my blog post Cleaning Solutions - How To Make Your Own!.
Myth 6: It's much cheaper to do the windows yourself rather than employ window cleaners.
By the time you add up all the products you'll buy and equipment too, you might be surprised how much you've spent. And then there's the question of how much you value your time...
So much for the myths, now for a few truths about window cleaning:
Fact 1: Window cleaning makes a dramatic difference to the outside and inside of a home.
People notice clean windows even when they don't realise that they've noticed. From the outside of your home, clean glass adds a subtle but definite air of a property that's cared for. Clean windows will increase the amount of sunlight that comes into a room and makes any environment more pleasant.
Fact 2: Rainwater is better than tap water.
This is especially true in hard water areas, the calcium hard water leaves deposits and streaks.
Fact 3: Distilled water is better yet.
With all impurities removed, water alone is a highly effective cleaning agent and it will never leave deposits on the glass.
Fact 4: A squeegee is a priceless window cleaning tool.
Paper comes bottom of the list, move up to any cloth or rag, but if they have lint in them they'll leave fibres on the glass. Microfibre cloths or chamois are better, but squeegees are king when you want to remove water without leaving streaks. Clean the blade after every swipe with a lint free cloth.
Fact 5: Cleaning the sills and frames too makes a real difference to the overall impact.
When the glass is clean but the surrounds are dirty the overall effect is greatly reduced. Maybe you won't clean the sills every time you do the windows but doing it regularly will keep your property looking much smarter.
Fact 6: Window cleaning can be completed in most weathers.
You might leave streaks behind if you clean your windows in direct sunlight but professional window cleaners will work much faster than you and use the proper tools and equipment. It's perfectly possible to get good results in most weathers.
Fact 7: Any window can be cleaned.
Some are more difficult to get to than others but between the options of water-fed poles, ladders, scaffolding or rope access it's possible to reach and clean any window.