Secrets of Window Cleaning

Glass -  We all have or see glass every day.  Windows in our homes, widows in our cars, glass everywhere.  Most of us know that glass is made from fused silicon or sand but after that glass can take many shapes and forms.  Glass comes with coatings of all sorts, tinting, reflective coatings and other coatings to resist weathering or other attacks by the environment.  The one thing that most people don't think about is that your glass needs to be cleaned regularly or different types of attacks by the environment can age and damage glass.  We will talk about specific environmental attacks in later posts but one thing is certain that regular cleaning is preventative in reducing permanent damage to the glass.

Most people have cleaned glass in some way or form but is there a right way or best way to clean glass?  Searching the internet for ways to clean glass will come up with an enormous amount of different ways to clean glass and an amazing amount of chemicals to do the job.  Commercial window cleaners are well known like Windex, etc and do a good job but are slow to use and takes the proper kind of cloth to insure a lint free clean glass surface.  These cleaners use a number of different chemical such as ammonia, alcohol and others that evaporate quickly to reduce streaking.  The problem is that no matter what you use the dirt on the glass must be transferred to the cloth, rag or whatever wiper you are using.  If the dirt does not come off the glass then it will be wiped all over the glass leaving streaks.  Another tip some suggest is to use distilled water to avoid any mineral deposits.  Some suggest polishing the glass with old newspapers and that does do a great job but be prepared to get the news print all over you and anything else nearby.
My experience is that there are really only two ways to clean glass effectively and quickly.  The first is pretty standard for most professional window washers and that is using a cleaning detergent that also has high lubrication.  Professional window washers soap up a glass window and that puts the dirt on the glass into the solution on the window.  Then the window washer will use his squeegee to pull all the soap on the window down to the bottom of the glass where it can be wiped away completely leaving the glass clean and streak free.  Now there are a number of different commercially available cleaning solutions, some with not very creative names like "Squeegee" and they are all pretty similar.  The standard retail solution that many professional window cleaners use is "Dawn" dish washing cleaner.
No matter what solution, the basics are all the same, the solution must lift the dirt, put it into solution and allow the squeegee to slide over the glass to allow the dirt to be removed to the bottom of the glass to be wiped away.  Most of us have seen a professional window washer doing this cleaning on glass but this is the simple explanation of how it works.

Now I did mention there are two ways of cleaning glass.  The other way is to use de-ionized water.  Now you may ask just what is de-ionized water?  De-ionized water is just that water that has ions removed.    Tap water is usually full of ions from the soil (Na+, Ca2+), from the pipes (Fe2+, Cu2+), and other sources. Water is usually deionized by using an ion exchange process.  Soooo, what does that mean?
Basically, de-ionized water (DI) has sodium, calcium and iron removed so when it dries it won't leave residue from those elements.  DI water is used daily by car dealers across the country to clean their cars so they are shiny clean waiting for buyers.  The same things are true for window cleaning.  Window Agency like many other professional window cleaning companies uses  DI water systems to clean windows of all sorts of buildings both commercial and residential.  The DI system allows DI water to be used to clean the glass and the cleaning solution will dry streak free which is the purpose of the system.
Which method of cleaning is best??  The answer is basically that it depends on the job.  Really dirty and damaged glass needs more attention than DI water can handle. DI systems can provide a cost effective cleaning solution to large buildings with lots of glass where conventional window cleaning would cost far more and often require equipment to get the window washer up high to clean the glass.
Professional window cleaning companies like Window Agency have full access to both methods of cleaning and will chose the right method for the right job.  This quick introduction barely touches on many of the issues that glass cleaning involves as we often have to deal with damaged glass from environmental conditions.  This blog will deal with many of the special problems with glass, how to fix them and more important how to avoid them in the future.  We love our windows and our views out of them and Window Agency is the company dedicated to providing a clean building and at a reasonable price!