Archive for Window Cleaning Tips

Window Soap & Winter

Winter Window

What is the best way to keep my window soap from freezing?

During the winter, this is a common question I receive from window cleaners.  Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to this question.

Why?  Well, the purpose of window soap is to lubricate the squeegee and to keep your water from evaporating off the window too quickly.  The most effective way to lower the freezing temperature of water is an alcohol additive.  However, this is somewhat counterproductive, because alcohol will cause the water to evaporate more quickly.

Adding alcohol is also adding more chemicals to the equation of window cleaning.

So winter window cleaning becomes a balance of factors.

If the weather is not too bitter cold, it may be more effective to use warm water in your soap mixture.  Be aware, this will also cause soap to evaporate off the window faster.

If you do use an alcohol additive, make sure you use cold water.

What types of alcohol can be added to window soap to lower its freezing temperature?

  • Methyl alcohol (Methanol) – A good source of this is automotive windshield washer solvent
  • Isopropyl alcohol – Also known as rubbing alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol (Ethanol) – Commonly used as a solvent in the form of “denatured alcohol,” which is drinkable alcohol with poisonous additives to make it undrinkable

There is also Ethylene Glycol (most commonly automobile antifreeze), Propylene Glycol (often used for “pet-safe” antifreeze), and Glycerol or Glycerine (which was formerly used as automotive antifreeze but is more commonly used now in sprinkler systems and is non-toxic).  These are not as commonly used in window soap as antifreeze, but are present in some commercial cleaners.

For more information on types of antifreeze, check out the Wikipedia article on the subject.

In addition to evaporation time, it is also important to pay attention to the dangers of working with alcohol mixtures.

Keep in mind:

  • Alcohol is flammable
  • Read all MSDS information carefully
  • Keep chemicals in clearly marked containers
  • Remember that you will be coming into close, prolonged contact with these chemicals, and that makes them more dangerous
  • Gloves and good ventilation are always important

For more information on safely using alcohol as an antifreeze additive, see the AWC article Using Alcohol, by Gary Mauer.

Above all else, always be aware of what chemicals you are using and how to use them safely.

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

Or… Shop for soap now!

How to Perfect Your Waterpole Technique

A squeegee

For window cleaners used to cleaning with a squeegee, the idea of cleaning a window with just a brush and water is daunting.  Rest assured that the combination of a soft brush and Pure Water is all you need to clean windows!

Traditional Cleaning versus Waterpole Cleaning

The conventional, traditional way of cleaning windows involves a squeegee and the following two steps:

  1. Scrub with a soapy applicator.
  2. Remove all the soap and dirt at once with a squeegee.

Then, because you want the window left dry, you probably also need to touch-up the edges with a dry towel.

To clean with Pure Water, there are two steps:

  1. Scrub with a soft brush.
  2. Rinse with Brush Jets and Pure Water.

A window cleaned this way can be left to dry naturally, because all of the dirt has already been rinsed away.

In the Pure Water method, the brush is the substitute for the applicator and the brush jets and Pure Water do the same work as the squeegee.

Pure Water means that the TDS levels are at or near 0.  This is an unnatural state for water, and it will aggressively try to get itself back to a state of “dirty.”  So the Pure Water does most of the work in cleaning the window!

However, these two steps are not very useful at explaining exactly HOW to clean with a Waterpole.  You may be thinking, “I could scrub a window and run some water over it and it won’t necessarily be clean.”  Unless you know what you’re doing, you’re probably right.

The trick is all in the technique.

1. Scrub the window – First Pass

Water-fed Cleaning Pass #1

Waterpole Cleaning Pass #1

Run the Pure Water and the brush over the entire window.  Use overlapping, top to bottom strokes from one side to the other.

2. Scrub the window – Second Pass

Water-fed Cleaning Pass #2

Waterpole Cleaning Pass #2

Run the Pure Water and the brush back over the window going in the other direction.  Use the same overlapping, top to bottom strokes.

Two passes is all you should need to effectively clean the window.

3. Scrub the Top and Bottom

Water-fed Cleaning the Top and Bottom

Waterpole Cleaning the Top and Bottom

If necessary, get into the crevices along the top and bottom edges.  Use side to side, full-width strokes.

4. Rinse the Window

With the brush lifted slightly or at an angle, so the brushes are not touching and only the Pure Water is hitting the window, rinse the window in a horizontal, back and forth pattern, starting at the top and working your way down.

Remember: If you are working with Hydrophilic Glass, you can make larger, faster passes.  Pencil Brush Jets work best here.

Water-fed Cleaning on Hydrophilic Glass

Waterpole Cleaning on Hydrophilic Glass

If you are working with Hydrophobic Glass, you are going to want to make tighter, slower passes.  Fan Brush Jets work best here.

Water-fed Cleaning on Hydrophobic Glass

Waterpole Cleaning on Hydrophobic Glass

If you follow these simple steps, that Pure Water will not only clean the windows, but keep them clean longer!

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!

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!