Cleaning behind neon lights

Hello everyone…I was wondering how all of you handle cleaning behind neon lights that go around the perimiter of windows…theres rarely enough room to fitt a scrubber and sometimes a squeegee…I have a few ways ive been doing it but all are time consuming and im thinking there has to be a better way…I either wet a rag and hand scrub behind them as high as my arms will reach and then throw the rag over a capped scrapper on my pole for the higher section then use the scrubber on the middle section and squeegee the water from the middle behind the neons(if theres enough room)…and repeat the process until clean…sometimes though theres fried bugs or something? little specs…between the neons and glass that are a real pain to get off just ragging bahind there…and keeping the whole window wet long enough…I guess mainly behind the neons is a real pain when there is also a neon sign hanging in the middle of the window …trying to be careful and fast enough to do it all before it dries is not the easyiest task…I HATE NEONS…(and usually avoid stores with this kinda setup because of the risk and agravation) …

First of all, ALWAYS turn off the lights before you clean. And remember, just because the lights are off doesn’t mean the power does not run to the fixture. Ideally you need to unplug them.

Neon border lights are a real “pane” in the rear end. If there is an easy way, I haven’t found it. You need to compensate yourself for the extra time you spend working around them.

A towel with some foam cleaner on it should do the trick.

How often do you clean this job? A weekly cleaning should be pretty easy as far as bug spots.

You need to realize, these lights are VERY expensive, as all neons are. A little cold water on a hot fixture and kaboom, glass all over the place. Just be very careful.

I run into these at 2 nail salons I do. Luckily, they don’t want me messing with them, so I gladly only touch up around them as needed.

Is it safe for us all to assume that the cost of repairing the neon lights at this job is peanuts compared with all the money you’re making at the job?

In other words how many times will you have to clean that store to break even, after payroll expenses etc, WHEN you or an employee finally does break the light?

1 Like

hey thanx for the responce…its a monthly job…and its a restaraunt so theres food debree too…ughhh…they need it done more often than monthly but they dont wanna spend the dough…thats a good idea about the foam cleaner im gonna try that next time…also it just hit me…maybe a wagtail flipper might fit behind the neons because its thin…I just would have to rig it to not wag…lol…I wish there was some kind of thin scrubbing device like that out there that would lock onto a poll…maybe i should invent one and get rich…lol

I wish It was worth the cost of the risk…its not and im nervous every time i do the job…in my gut i know i shouldnt take the chance but im barely making it right now and every dollar helps so much…just tryin to hang on til i pic up a few more accounts

That’s right Ron listen to your gut not the but.

When is it ever really worth the risk? Does it matter whether you are new or making millions? The idea of running a business is to make money, not spend it. Peanuts or not, I’d rather be safe than sorry :slight_smile:

Ron, I understand your dilemma. I felt that way when I first started. Then my dilemma changed to me wanting to be the hero or not wanting to feel like a failure. I think I’m cured now. I do a few places where you can pull the signs back on the chains they are hanging on. That’s not nearly as bad. I did a pizzeria at one time where the lights were as you described- unmovable and covering the border of the glass basically. I lost the account because I wouldn’t completely rearrange my route for that day just to make the owner happy. What a relief!
I seriously would do as some others have already suggested- just don’t do it because the risk far outweighs the reward or get a well-crafted waiver to cover the possibilites of it getting ruined.

I have done those too. Really scary. But, if those are beer advertising neons there is a silver lining. Those are put in by the vendors of those brands at no cost to the restaurant/bar. If one quits working or gets broken they will immediately come and replace it with a new one at no cost. It’s how they market. In some cases they actually will pay the restaurant/bar a small fee to have them in their window or give a discount on their products to the owner of the business.

Ron, we have a very popular pizza chain downtown who has the very same set up: neon around the perimeter of the glass and neon signs hanging down in front of the glass. What makes it even harder for us, the pizza prep station is right behind these two large windows, not to mention indoor mezzanine windows above the ovens!

It was a huge headache in the beginning to figure out how to get it all clean, but once we figured out our method the madness went away. What’s very important with any account you pick up is establishing expectations. We explained to the owner since there was neon around the perimeter of the glass, we couldn’t clean the edges 100% and they completely understand. It can be intimidating with the hanging neon’s, but we just turn them off and pick it up with one hand, while we clean with the other. Again, sometimes it’s not a perfect clean, but in the beginning we made sure we were on the same page with managements expectations.

And while some guys here might scoff at this idea, on a few places we do that have neon’s, we just lift them up with one hand and spray Windex. Cleaning the upper area’s that way looks a bit unprofessional, but it’s quick and gets the job done.

I’ve always felt in a way, you want window cleaning to be a bit difficult. That way, the customer calls you to handle it! (and we make it look easy!)

Clearview. Maybe sometime you could try out Sprayway Glass Cleaner foam. Might look more professional for you and it smells good. Not to mention it does a great cleaning!

I’ve been meaning to pick some up and give it a try. I’ve read a lot of good things about it saving the day when guys were faced with unique situations. Thanks.

Hey just wanted to thank all of you for the responses to my questions since i have started posting here recently…such helpful info…like i said before i have never had anyone teach me how to be a window cleaner besides what i’ve learned here at wcr…so at times I have been unsure how to handle certain things…:confused:…good luck everyone

Passed on a giving a small neighborhood bar a price on inside cleaning today due to it being full of neon beer signs in the front windows, and was unsure of how to safely get the job done.

Would one of those Unger SpeedClean Window Kits be good for that? Any other suggestions? My rule is if I can’t buy it, I won’t move it. Until I get some more experience that is probably the best route for me.


If those neons are self contained, they usually hang by a chain as someone stated and they aren’t that much of a headache. Better than suction cups. If the neons are installed, I drive or walk on by. Way too much risk for the reward.

I do a number of accounts with neon signs. Generally, they hang from a chain, and I make sure they are secure, pull them away from the glass and wet/squeegee behind them from a step. I’ve done it with a pole where I put my scrubber on just tight enough to pop off with my thumb onto a beach towel while holding the bottom of the sign with my other hand and swap it for a squeegee and straight pull.

I passed on those type too. Nightmare . Unless you un-plug an take them off , an for what we make it ain’t worth it. If they want to remove before you come then different story.

I did a bar for 6 months finally I was like what am I doing . Forget this. Nice guy felt bad telling him I’m going to have to pass.

Regular neons no problem … Bar neons hells no

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

That kind of money makes them worthwhile but sheesh what a pain.