Archive for Window Cleaning

How to Conquer Hard Water Stains

Water Spots

Hard water stains are a common problem in areas with tap water that has a high concentrations of minerals, and particularly for homes without water softeners. Hard water stains can especially be a problem in bathrooms (shower doors and walls) and on windows that get hit by sprinklers.

I’ve seen a lot of different home remedies for cleaning hard water stains from windows, such as:

  • Wet newspaper
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • White paste toothpaste (non-whitening)
  • Baking powder
  • Powder stovetop cleaner
  • Wet fabric softener sheets

A lot of them make sense for different reasons, but some I don’t get. Wet newspaper? Vinegar? Maybe if the water spots are minor or from poor previous cleaning. Wet fabric softener sheets? I would think those would leave an awful, streaky mess, since that’s what towels washed with fabric softener do.

This YouTube video from essortment makes some good points for removing hard water stains, particularly in regards to lemon juice. Most hard water stains are basic and lemon juice is acidic.

But what if you’ve tried these and had no luck? Should you use something with caustic fumes like a CLR or Lime Away? These may be effective, but they’re not good for using in a closed room like a bathroom and they’re certainly not good for prolonged exposure, like a window cleaner might encounter.

When I suggest hard water stain removers, I suggest a series of products, starting with the safest, but still very effective for most stains, and ending with a acid-based cleaner which requires care and the use of gloves:

  1. Bio-Clean: This is a light-duty cleaner with consistency similar to Soft Scrub or similar paste bathroom cleaners, but of a professional grade. Bio-clean is also safe for plants, kids, and pets.
  2. Titan Labs A-1 Stain Remover: This is a medium-duty cleaner which is a paste with uniquely engineered scrubbing agents.
  3. EaCo Chem One Restore: This is a heavy-duty restoration cleaner that can even remove metal oxide and some coatings. Easy spray-on, spray-off application.
  4. Winsol Crystal Clear 550: This is a heavy-duty, cleaner made from a powerful mixture of acids. Be sure read all directions and use protection when using this chemical.

If all these stain removers still don’t work, the stain is probably a burn in the glass. When stains become bad enough and sit on glass long enough, they began to etch into the glass itself. At this point, the only thing that works is machining the glass.

A product like the JFlint Mr. Hard Water line can be helpful with these etched-in stains.

When combating hard water stains, it is best to start simple and safe, and to go progressively more heavy-duty. Hard water stains are never something with a simple solution. They take the right chemical and some elbow-grease. So be patient, be persistent, and use the right cleaner.

Do you have additional questions about the various hard water stain removers available?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop now!

Tips to Streak-free Windows

brilliant windows

Window cleaners and home owners alike are always asking me what is the best soap for cleaning windows. Should I use a commercial soap or just dish soap? Is ammonia okay? How do I keep from leaving streaks? Like much of the window cleaning business, many times this comes down to personal preferences, but here are some good considerations to keep in mind.

Ammonia

Many homemade window cleaning soaps are made with a mixture including household ammonia. Ammonia can be an inexpensive and effective cleaner, but there are important precautions to its use.

  1. Never mix ammonia with bleach. Even in small quantities or where the residue of one may be present, kept these two products separate. Ammonia and bleach combine to form a very toxic chlorine gas.
  2. Ammonia is poisonous and not safe for children or pets, even more so than most other soaps.
  3. Ammonia should be used with gloves and in a very well-ventilated area. Prolonged exposure can be dangerous.
  4. Ammonia is damaging to tinted windows.

As with other chemicals, be sure to read all label instructions and cautions and MSDS information.

Dish Soap

Another component for homemade window cleaners is regular dish soap. Used in a correct soap-to-water mixture, this can be a good choice for some, but dish soaps tend to leave a build-up of residue over time.

Window Cleaning Soap

All of the window cleaning soaps that we carry are ammonia-free and made of soaps specifically designed for cleaning windows and prolonged use.  They are all designed to work with a squeegee, the tool of choice by the pro’s.

Dish soap and window cleaning soap are less caustic to use than ammonia. The pro window soap is designed to provide the perfect amount of slide for the squeegee.  With the debris suspended in the solution and the squeegee able to slide, the window will dazzle and shine.

Other Tips

No matter what type of soap you decide to use, here are some tips to make those windows sparkle and to avoid streaks.

  • Avoid cleaning windows in direct sunlight. This will cause the soap mixture to evaporate more quickly. If you have to wash hot windows, a water wetter, or squeegee glide, might help.
  • Remember, more is not necessarily better. Too much soap in your mixture can leave streaks on the windows.
  • Use a washer to apply the soap and a squeegee to remove it. Then, touch-up the edges with a lint-free towel. Microfiber towels work well for windows. (Remember to avoid washing towels with fabric softener or in a machine where fabric softener is used. This will cause towels to leave streaks.)
  • Make sure your tools are clean. Don’t use a really dirty washer. All of that dirty stuff on the scrubber can make it a lot more difficult to squeegee to a streak free shine.
  • Make sure your squeegee rubber is in good condition, an old blade can chatter or have knicks in the surface, causing streaks to be left behind.

Do you have additional questions about the various window cleaning soaps available?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop now!

Extend Your Reach (with a Waterpole)

High Ceiling Ceiling Chandalier

One question I get a lot is how to reach higher than the 30 or so feet the longest aluminum extension poles reach. Whether it is to reach one awkward window, a burnt out light bulb, or to dust a corner or high ceiling fan, the only thing long enough (and actually useable at that height) is a waterpole.

Aluminum poles become too heavy and awkward much over 30 feet, and their construction is not rigid enough to remain stable at such heights. Waterpoles, because of their lighter, more rigid construction, can be made to reach 65 feet or higher. They are usually made of fiberglass, carbonfiber, or a mixture of the two.

It’s a bit of an investment if you don’t have a waterpole yet, but might be worth it in the long run if this is a regular customer. It would also give you a good excuse to try out using a Pure Water system on a few of your most time-consuming, problem window cleaning jobs.

ACME Thread versus European Thread

If you do have a waterpole, now you’re probably wondering–how do I attach this tool to the European (fine) thread on the end of my waterpole?

Well, there are a few ways to accomplish this.

Waterpole Adapters -- Unger

First, and most versatile, is the Unger HiFlo MultiLink Cone Adapter. This little guy will attach to your European thread on the end of the waterpole and allow you to attach the Unger ErgoTec Locking Cone Adapter. Then, you have the option of attaching a wide variety of tools, whether they screw on (with the coarse, ACME threads), lock on with Unger’s locking button system, or friction-fit on to the tapered part of the cone.

Waterpole Adapters -- ReachAround

The other option is the ReachAround. This is a simple red ACME threaded tip that can be added to some waterpole goosenecks. You can use it with screw on tools, or you can add a wooden or plastic taper to accommodate most window cleaning tools. With the ReachAround, you can use both the waterpole’s cleaning brush and another tool.

Do you have additional questions about extension poles, waterpoles, and the adapters available?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop now!

The 3 Keys to Your Success

Keys to Success

How do you make this year your best? By wanting it. By doing it.

Building your business is all about accomplishing little things, consistently, until those little things become bigger things. It is about sticking with those little things until they have the time to grow into the bigger things.

Accomplishing your goals for your business comes down to 3 key items.

First, Determine Your Goals

The first step toward building your business is naming your goals. Only you know what is best for the future of you and your business, but here are a few goals to consider:

  • Do you want to expand your business?
  • Do you want to pick up new customers?
  • Do you want to hire more workers?
  • Do you want to work less?

Be specific and honest with yourself.

Second, Develop a Plan

Once you’ve determined what larger goals you want to accomplish, start thinking about how best to achieve those goals.

Make a plan. Start by listing your larger goals. Then brainstorm and break those goals into smaller, more manageable pieces.

For example, do you want to pick up new customers? What things can you think of to start working towards achieving that? Everyday things. Things you’ve not tried before. Things you tried before but didn’t follow through on.

Increasing your customer base can be accomplished a few ways:

  • cold-calls
  • word-of-mouth
  • being more visible

Try to be more specific in your list. The more specific, the more likely you are to stick with it.

  • Ask for referrals
  • Print and send out postcards to one specific zip code
  • Print and put flyers on doors in specific neighborhoods
  • Promote yourself on Facebook and Twitter
  • Mention your business at gatherings and functions

Third, Do It! And Stay Motivated

Once you pick one or two specific actions, put them into effect immediately. And stick with them.

The key is consistency.

If you decide to do something–like advertise on social media–make a schedule and keep that schedule. If you plan to post everyday, 3 times a day–do it. And keep doing it.

Give yourself a set amount of time to determine if something is working for you–say 3 months or perhaps one window cleaning season. Evaluate what has been accomplished in that time, and whether the actions you took are working.

Do they need some adjustment? If so, what would make you more successful?

Want to learn more about how to start your spring right and make your business more profitable? We can help with that! Comment below or email us from the About Page!

The Best Kept Window Cleaning Secret

 

The Best Kept Window Cleaning Secret

A window cleaner’s tools are the key to their success. Whatever tools you use, you want them to be the best quality at the best price, so that they last and benefit your bottom line.

Well, what if I told you that you could save money as soon as your next set of scraper blades?

If you use Triumph scrapers, I have news for you!

Just last year, Unger released their new scraper – the Ninja Adjustable Scraper. If you have not tried it, this scraper is an innovative tool that could change how you view window scraping. Why? It has an adjustable head, allowing you to use it straight when working by hand or angled when using it on an extension pole. It also comes in both 4″ and 6″ sizes for the best versatility.

But there is even better news!

So you say you use a Triumph scraper and you don’t want to buy a new scraper? Well, Unger can also save you on the next pack of blades for your Triumph.

This is because the Unger Ninja Adjustable 6″ Scraper’s blades will fit into the Triumph scraper, at a lower price than you’re currently paying for Triumph’s replacement blades.

The Unger Ninja Adjustable 6″ Scraper uses stainless steel blades that fit the Triumph. Even if you prefer carbon steel blades, Unger has a direct replacement for those as well. The replacement blades for Unger’s 6″ ErgoTec Glass Scraper are a direct replacement.

Want to learn more about saving money on your next pack of scraper blades? We can help with that! Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop for the Unger Ninja Adjustable Scraper or replacement blades now!

Unger Ninja Adjustable Scraper

Use the Ninja scraper straight, for hand use…

 

Unger Ninja Adjustable Scraper

…or angled for pole use.

How to Choose Waterpole Brush Jets

Waterpole Brush Jets - Pencil and Fan

Waterpole Brush Jets – Pencil and Fan

The Brush Jet is what delivers the Pure Water to the window. It attaches to the Waterpole Brush.

Brush Jets come in two styles—pencil jet and fan jet.

Pencil Jets

A pencil-style Brush Jet sprays water in a straight line. Pencil jets are best for Hydrophilic Glass, which is glass where the water easily cascades down the surface in sheets. Hydrophilic Glass is easily cleaned with quick passes.

Pencil Brush Jets are the standard type of jet to come with most Waterpole Brushes.

Fan Jets

A fan-style Brush Jet sprays water in a wide, fanning shape. Fan jets are best for Hydrophobic Glass, glass that “fears” water, repelling it, and where water beads more, not covering the surface as easily. Hydrophobic Glass is best cleaned with slower passes.

Fan Brush Jets are usually available to be swapped out, or are commonly in Waterpole Brushes with four jets.

Hydrophilic Versus Hydrophobic

No one knows what causes glass to become hydrophobic, but you may be able to return the glass to hydrophilic by gently rubbing the glass with bronze wool or a bronze wool pad.

Otherwise, using slower, tighter passes with your Waterpole will clean hydrophobic glass better.  For more information, see the blog post How to Perfect Your Waterpole Technique.

Do you have additional questions about Pure Water filtering and the products available?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop for Pure Water systems now!