Archive for Window Cleaning Supplies

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 Window Cleaning Gloves

Winter is coming - are your hands ready?

Colder weather means it is time to start thinking about hand protection.  With the heavy usage they get, window cleaners can usually expect to get about one season of use from a pair of work gloves.  So it’s probably time for a new pair of gloves.

Window Cleaner Gloves

But not just any pair of gloves will work well for window cleaning.  What qualities make up the right pair of work gloves specifically for our profession?

Waterproof

Window cleaners work with water all day long, and the only thing worse than working with cold hands is working with cold, wet hands.  Find gloves that will keep the water out – they should seal well on the surface as well as around your wrist.

Dexterity

For manipulating the tools of the window cleaning trade, you should be able to move your fingers and thumb well within the glove.  The glove should also conform to your hand to allow for detailed work and picking up smaller items.  Some neoprene gloves even have pre-curved fingers to reduce hand fatigue.

Warmth

This is the biggest consideration.  Gloves are no good to you if they don’t keep your hands warm.  Look for a substantial thinsulate or fleece lining for protection without losing functionality.  Standard thinsulate is 40 grams.

Palm Grip

Because window cleaners work with wet tools all day, having gloves with good gripping ability is crucial.  Last thing you want is to drop a tool because it is slippery.

Exterior Material

The other big consideration with window cleaning gloves is what type of exterior material they should be made from.  All of gloves types listed below have the qualities mentioned above.

Fabric

There are some good fabric work gloves on the market, just make sure that “Waterproof” is specifically stated.  Fabric gloves breathe well, making them a good choice.  Another consideration when looking at fabric gloves is the palm – it should have a good texture for gripping tools that are wet.

Our new Winter Hawk gloves are made of waterproof fabric and have all the qualities of good window cleaning gloves.

Leather

Leather gloves are very popular for work gloves.  There are a number of different types of leather gloves, based on the type of animal they are made from, and the part of the animal.  For working with wet tools, cowhide is going to be the least useful, as cowhide stiffens when it gets wet.  The best for window cleaners is pigskin, because it is durable, dexterous, breathable, cold-blocking, and actually softens with use.

Our best-selling Mechanic’s-style gloves are a great waterproof pigskin leather glove.

Neoprene

Neoprene is a thick, waterproof rubber that is a popular glove material because it is less expensive than other types.  It works well with insulating layer, making it good for winter protection.  Neoprene gloves also provide good dexterity and chemical protection.  The one downside to neoprene gloves is they do not breath as well as other types of gloves.

We carry a range of neoprene gloves from both Unger and Glacier Glove that are very popular.

Do you have additional questions about gloves and the gloves we have available?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop for gloves now!

Know Your Squeegee Rubber

Squeegee Rubber Profiles

Squeegee Rubber Profiles

Squeegee rubber.  It is both the most important part of your window cleaning arsenal and the most important to get correct.

So what are the options?  And what should you choose?

Well, here is the information you need.  Know your squeegee!  ‘Cause knowing is half the battle!

Different Rubber, Different Profiles

Know Your Squeegee Rubber

Above is a profile view of the different types of rubber available.  It may not be apparent at a glance, but they certainly look different, and it makes a big difference in how they fit into a squeegee channel.

Most of the squeegee rubber brands are interchangeable – Ettore, Pulex, Unger, and even Wagtail squeegee rubber have a round shape and will fit any of these same brands of squeegee channels.

Sorbo rubber and channels are in a category of their own, though.  These rubbers are referred to as Double-T rubber.  The rounded style that fits other channels won’t work here.

There are options for Sorbo channels, however.  Buying Sorbo rubber in a roll comes in a slightly different style – a Single-T rubber.  (This roll rubber is also made of silicon, instead of the natural rubber their pre-cut rubbers come in, which can make a difference when you are using it.)  There is also the Soren rubber by Ettore, made specifically to fit Sorbo channels, and that is also in the Single-T rubber style.

Soft Rubber or Hard Rubber?

A piece of hard Unger Rubber

A piece of hard Unger Rubber

Another consideration when choosing rubber is whether to use soft rubber or hard rubber.

Soft rubber is the most common type sold.  Unless the rubber specifically states otherwise, the squeegee rubber you are looking at is probably soft rubber.

What is the difference?

Simply put – soft rubber is good for cooler weather and hard rubber is better for hot weather.  Around 90 degrees or so, soft rubber can begin to perform poorly and even leave streaks.  This is because the rubber becomes even softer and more pliable the warmer it gets.  Hard rubber will stay firm and perform best at these higher temperatures.

For northerners like me, soft rubber is good for most of the year.  We use very little hard rubber up this way – only on those extra hot, dog days of summer.

For other parts of the country, where it is warm most of the year and occupants see little to no snow, one may choose to use hard rubber for all but the coldest times of year.

The term “hard rubber” may be misleading.  This is not rubber that is so hard it will retain its shape.  It is still flexible.  So it may be difficult to tell whether the rubber is hard or soft at a glance.  Usually hard rubber has HARD stamped on the rubber (as in the picture above).  Another way to tell the difference is to lay the two pieces over the end of a table.  A soft piece of rubber should hang lower then a hard piece of rubber.

Some more considerations:

  • Hard rubber will usually last longer than soft rubber
  • Hard rubber will require more pressure against the glass
  • Soft rubber can damage more easily
  • Soft rubber will conform better to uneven glass

Make Those Rubbers Last

UV vs. Squeegee Rubber

Often I get asked the question about how long squeegee rubbers will last when stored.  It is hard to say with certainty, but if stored correctly, they should last about a year.

Correct storage means some place cool, dark, dry, and particularly away from direct sunlight.  Most times, for window cleaners working out of their vehicle and storing all of their equipment there, the best idea is to keep the squeegee rubbers in an opaque and/or UV-resistant plastic case.  Buying dozen packages of rubber from Ettore or 25-piece promo packs from Unger are great for this, because they come in their own case.

Ultraviolet rays and sources of ozone will do the most damage to rubber.  So be sure to store pieces you are not using somewhere they are protected.

You also want to keep them away from high heat.

That will do it for this rubber discussion.  I hope this post gave you some of the information you need to make the most informed decisions about your squeegee rubber.

Do you have additional questions about squeegee rubber and the brands available?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop for rubber now!

6 Life-saving Tips for Scraping Windows

scrapers

Scraping windows with a window scraper can either increase your effectiveness or cause you more costly problems.  Scrapers are great for removing stickers and most stuck on debris giving you problems and not coming off with just your washer.  But they can also damage windows if used incorrectly.

Important Note: Be extremely careful when scraping windows.  Incorrect method can result in costly damages.

Proper preparation and technique are important.  Here are some tips that can save you time, money, and headaches.

1. Beware of Tempered Glass

Tempered glass or safety glass is a hardened glass that can scratch easily due to the likelihood of raised imperfections formed in the hardening process.  You should never use a window scraper on tempered glass, as it will scratch the glass as you run the blade over those imperfections.

Beware that scratches caused to tempered glass may not even be visible until 45+ minutes later, as these scratches can grow over time.

For more information on tempered glass and the issues it may cause to window cleaners, check out Window Cleaning Network’s site devoted specifically to this issue: Scratched-Glass.net

2. Use a Window Scraper

Always use a professional window scraper for scraping windows.  Don’t use household items like flat-head screwdrivers, box cutters, putty knives, etc.

3. Inspect Your Scraper

Always inspect your scraper before scraping a window.  Make sure there is no rust, chips, or bends in the blade before starting.

4. Wet the Window

Always wet the window before scraping.

5. Test a Small Area

Test the scraper on the window in a corner before using it on the window.  Make sure there are no scratches.  And remember that some of these scratches may not appear right away.

6. Scrape in a Forward Motion

Only scrape by moving the scraper forward, like a plow.  Side-to-side or even pulling the blade backwards back over the glass can cause scratches.  Debris can get trapped under the backside of the blade.  This is also why you should only scrape small sections at one time.

Keep these tips in mind and you should have a more productive and less costly time of scraping windows.

Do you have additional questions about window scrapers and the scrapers available?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop for scrapers now!

The 5 Essential Items for Cleaning Windows

5 Essential Items for Window Cleaning

Whether you are a professional window cleaner or a home owner looking to keep up on cleaning your windows yourself, there are many tools available to make that job easier.

Here we will touch on the five most important items.

1. Bucket

The window cleaning bucket serves two purposes:

  1. Holding soap while you are cleaning windows.
  2. Storing your window cleaning tools when they are not in use.

Window cleaning buckets are usually rectangular, and this is to better fit the entire length of your washer so you can get soap on the entire length all at once.

Standard buckets are about 6 gallons and easily work with washers and squeegees up to 18 inches in length.  Smaller buckets are available, and may be more economical and space-saving if you are only working with smaller sized tools.

There are also round buckets and buckets on a belt.  Round buckets are the preferred style for some window cleaners, they are also more readily available if you are just looking for something around your house to use.  Buckets on a belt hang from a tool belt.  They are designed to hold soap and both a washer and a squeegee, making them a more mobile choice.

2. Soap

This is the liquid used to clean the window, and is very important.

Whether you use a solution from around the house (dish soap actually works very well for cleaning windows with a washer and squeegee) or a store-bought window soap, make sure you pay attention to your soap-to-water ratio.

More is not always better!

Too little soap will be more likely to dry quickly on the window and will lower the cleaning power of your solution.  But too much soap can cause an over abundance of suds and leave streaks behind on the window.

A graduated dispenser that pre-measures can help with mixing your soap and keeping it consistent.

3. Washer

A washer is composed of a fabric sleeve and a t-bar.  This is the tool that scrubs the dirt off the window, with the help of your soap solution.

Washers come in a wide variety of styles.  Some are regular fabric, some are microfiber.  Some have extra scrubbing ability.  Whichever type you use, it is important to wet and scrub the entire window, and keep it wet for the squeegee to remove.

The washer t-bars are available in solid handles or swivel handles, depending on your need and preference.

4. Squeegee

The squeegee is the most important piece of the window cleaning arsenal.  With it, you remove all of the dirty water.  This leaves behind clean, dry, sparkling windows!

Technique is an important part of squeegeeing a window clean, and can take some practice.

Squeegees are made up of two parts – the squeegee channel and the squeegee handle – and they come in a wide variety too.

Channels come in a few different styles:

  • brass
  • stainless steel
  • aluminum
  • wide aluminum

Handles also come in a variety of different types:

  • solid
  • swivel
  • ergonomic
  • zero-degree

Choosing the right combination really comes down to preference and your needs.

5. Towel

The towel is helpful to touch-up any wet spots left behind after squeegeeing, particularly around the edges and on the window sill.

Drip marks are the last thing you want after all of your hard work!

There are a great deal of different types of towels available, and these include:

  • terry cloth towels
  • microfiber towels
  • re-purposed surgical or Huck towels
  • scrim towels
  • chamois

Do you have additional questions about all of the products available to clean windows?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

How to Choose a Window Washer Sleeve

One difficult to answer question when on the phone with a customer always proves to be telling them what product is “best.”  Why?  The answer to this question more often comes down to personal preference and the customer’s application than what brand or sleeve is “best.”

All the major brands are good quality and give good results.

Such questions are especially difficult in regards to window washer sleeves, since there are so many choices available.  Perhaps that is what makes them such a common question area.

So here is a quick run down of the major window washer sleeves available.

Unger

Unger window washer sleevesOriginal – The Unger Original Stripwasher sleeve is made of thick, white fibers.  Being a non-microfiber sleeve, it tends to be more suited to heavy-duty soils.  It also has a scrubbing pad at one end of the sleeve, for particularly stubborn spots.

The Pad – The Unger The Pad Stripwasher sleeve is the same sleeve as the Original, only with a non-abrasive scrubbing pad that covers the entire length of one side.  This allows for scrubbing with one side and washing with the other.  It is good for heavily soiled windows.

Microfiber – The Unger Microfiber Stripwasher sleeve is a green, super absorbent sleeve.  This allows it to retain water longer, for less trips to the bucket.  It also has a scrubbing pad at one end of the sleeve, for particularly stubborn spots.

Monsoon – The Unger Monsoon Stripwasher sleeve is made of a blended fabric – alternating regular fibers and microfibers, giving it the alternating green and white stripes.  It combines the best of both types of sleeves – heavy duty cleaning and super absorbency.  It also has a scrubbing pad at one end of the sleeve, for particularly stubborn spots.

Ninja – The Unger Ninja Stripwasher sleeve is also a blended sleeve.  It is heavy-duty regular white fabric with alternating stripes of grey non-abrasive scrubbing stripes, making it good for a wide variety of applications.  It also has a scrubbing pad at BOTH ends of the sleeve, for particularly stubborn spots.

Ettore

Ettore window washer sleeves

Durasleeve – The Ettore Durasleeve is a tough and durable white sleeve made of thick, heavy-duty fabric.  The Durasleeve is also more absorbent than most non-microfiber sleeves and can hold a lot of water.  It also has a scrubbing pad at one end of the sleeve, for particularly stubborn spots.

Golden Glove – The Ettore Golden Glove sleeve is made of yellow and white microfiber.  It is a highly absorbent sleeve.  It also has a scrubbing pad at one end of the sleeve, for particularly stubborn spots.

Microfiber – The Ettore Pro+ Microfiber sleeve is made of premium blue and white microfiber and is super absorbent.  This allows it to retain water longer, for less trips to the bucket.  It also has a scrubbing pad at one end of the sleeve, for particularly stubborn spots.

Porcupine – The Ettore Porcupine sleeve is made of white fabric and has interwoven blue bristles throughout the sleeve for extra tough jobs.  Please note, because of the bristles, this sleeve is not for Mylar coated glass.

Pulex

Pulex window washer sleeves

White – The Pulex white sleeve is made of thick, white fibers.  Being a non-microfiber sleeve, it tends to be more suited to heavy-duty soils.

Pad – The Pulex pad sleeve is the same as the white sleeve, only with a non-abrasive scrubbing pad that covers the entire length of one side.  This allows for scrubbing with one side and washing with the other.  It is good for heavily soiled windows.

Microfiber – The Pulex Microfiber sleeve is made of premium blue and white microfiber and is super absorbent.  This allows it to retain water longer, for less trips to the bucket.

MicroTiger – The Pulex MicroTiger sleeve is also a blended sleeve.  It is heavy-duty regular white fabric with alternating stripes of red non-abrasive scrubbing stripes, making it good for a wide variety of applications.  It also has a scrubbing pad at the end of the sleeve, for particularly stubborn spots.

Microfiber Versus Regular Fabric

Microfiber versus Regular Fiber

Microfiber vs. Regular Fiber – per Wikipedia

One big debate is the question of microfiber versus regular fiber.  There are a few things to consider here.

As the picture above shows, microfiber is more effective at capturing particles of dust, dirt, lint, etc. than regular fiber.  It is also more absorbent.  These can both be a pro and a con.  Capturing more dirt is good, but it means a sleeve that can get dirtier quicker than a regular sleeve.  Microfiber being more absorbent means less trips to the bucket, but it also makes for a heavier tool.  This can become fatiguing after long use.

As I mentioned above, it really comes down to personal preference and the application.  All of the major brands have good products to help you get the job done quickly and successfully.

Which sleeve is right for you?  That is a good question!

Do you have additional questions about choosing the right window washer sleeve?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop for sleeves now!