When the time arrives to clean your windows, do you pin-on your DIY Weekend Warrior badge or hire a professional window cleaner? Here are the top 4 things to consider before you hire a professional window cleaner:
Did you know that certain cleaning products, such as those that contain ammonia, can actually damage your windows? Professional window cleaners are experts in which tools and cleaning agents to use on all window types—avoiding risk to the glass, window frames, the house exterior, people, animals, and the environment. Many of today's professional window cleaners use homemade, natural, or organic products. Professional cleaners also spend extra time and care on custom windows with artisan frames. Bonus—they arrive to the site with a full arsenal to get the entire job done, cleaning up after themselves before they leave.
One of the most underestimated factors of any house project is time. Just as our eyes are often larger than our stomachs when we are hungry, when we are anxious to check a major house project off our list, we skip ahead to the gratification of a finished job and overlook the true time it will take. For an average-sized, two-story home, it takes homeowners 5-8+ hours to clean all of the windows. That estimate figures the average homeowner is skilled on a ladder and has a hefty stock of supplies to get the job done without stopping. On average, it takes professional window cleaners 2-4 hours for an average-sized, two-story home. If time equals money, it costs less in labor and supplies to hire a professional cleaner who will deliver sparkling, clear windows in half the time, the first time.
DIYers spend a hefty portion of their household budget on cleaning supplies, particularly during the dreaded Spring Cleaning months. Costs expand quickly if supplies run out before the job is done. Worse, certain cleaners or a lack of window-cleaning-know-how may result in serious, sometimes irreparable damage to windows and siding. We've heard the DIY tales—chemicals ruining a patch of siding and the homeowners having to replace the siding for the entire home to match the new color—or the couple who damaged an heirloom stained glass window by using the wrong tool and applying too much pressure.
Horror tales aside, for an average home, homeowners can expect to purchase:
multiple cleaners to avoid damage to certain window types
a telescoping pole
attachments for the telescoping pole
a water-fed pole and machine
multiple buckets for different cleaning agents
1-2 squeegee handles
multiple squeegee attachments (cotton, nylon, rubber)
squeegee attachment refills
streak-free/scratch-free drying cloths
face masks and safety glasses
protective gloves and clothing
The number one thing to consider before you hire a professional window cleaner is safety. Homeowners with two or more story homes typically use a ladder to reach high windows. For the average Weekend Warrior, it is risky to handle a soap bucket and cleaning supplies on a ladder, which in Spring and Fall is likely to teeter on soft ground. Homeowners face additional risks power washing high windows without the proper machinery or extensions. Too much water pressure may also cause significant damage to window frames, seals, and panes—and may break the glass.
Professional window cleaners are masters at heights. Balancing tools, cleaning solutions, and themselves is second nature. Many professional window cleaners use water-fed poles to reach the highest windows, and they know exactly how to adjust the power washer's settings to get just the right amount of pressure. Professional window cleaners also have an endless supply of protective gear and are trained in properly handling cleaning chemicals.
Ammonia-based cleaners cause irreparable damage to leaded and stained glass windows. For quick clean-ups between professional window cleaning days, mix one part vinegar with one part warm tap water. Add to a spray bottle, and spray one small area of glass at a time. Wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. Dry with a different microfiber cloth. Unused coffee filters sub for microfiber cloths in a pinch and leave glass bright and streak-free.