Coastal windows and salt spray

Hey guys,

You know, I see a lot of videos on youtube and nobody seems to really discuss salt spray/mist from the ocean getting onto the windows and how to clean them. I deal with this stuff from the ocean being right in the backyards of homes. Nobody seems to mention how the salt damages everything is touches if not maintained and washed down on a regular basis.

Windows take a beating. With the salt comes tiny tiny particles of SAND. Sand gets on the wand, spreads on the glass. Sand gets picked up on squeegee…(uh oh, now you have a nice BRIGHT white line trailing). Sometimes the S-technique will do more harm than good and you resort to straight pulls either vertically or horizontally. I am at the point where any new job I have, if it is a first clean-- I will WFP (without tanks, i generally only use WFP for routine cleanings) or hose the home down and get most of the crap off. I find it gets the sand off the windows and helps remove some of the salt spray— but always be careful and do not flood the window if you are not sure on HOW THE WINDOW SEAL IS-- I have had an incident or two I will admit and I flooded a window due to a broken seal (No big deal as it just leaked from the outside to the inside window-- just had to clean the inside by hand).

And let me say something about salt spray…it is a money maker and I have a love/hate relationship with the ocean because of it. Anybody on the coast knows if you have any kind of winds over 15mph either South, South East, East, or North East and anything higher than 3-4 foot seas will result in every window you cleaned being ANNIHILATED and completely “fogged up” within 24 hours. I kid you not guys, I have done a clubhouse I service year-round and we’d have 20-25mph winds…by the time I was finished I would put my finger on the glass and the salt spray would already be returning. We’re talking 2-3 HOURS…not days. So yes, it is not unlikely to do many jobs once a week during season, so your phone is ringing plenty after the wind dies down.

Salt spray and WIND SPEEDS present a problem with scheduling, because you don’t want to “steal” the customers money if you KNOW it’s going to absolutely blow off the ocean and by tomorrow you will already have salt spray covered on your windows. However, sometimes the customer does “not care” and “has to have it done”, well that’s THEIR call and it will be taken care of. The problem is-- sometimes you get 2-4 days of hard winds-- (anytime there is a cold front that comes to Florida you get strong NE winds and high seas. You can go inland and be fine, but the oceanfront work literally “has to wait” until it stops blowing.) I know the guys on the coast know what I am talking about.

It’s difficult to clean, WFP with pure water DOES help, but you really have to flush those frames otherwise you get that nice hazy streak below sills. Once the salt is off, go to town as normal-- but I always felt doing oceanfront work was a little more challenging that most inland homes-- lakes and other bodies of water present a similar challenge-- but I mainly deal with oceanfront residential and commercial. I have a full 5 gallon bucket ready to go as I find I need more water to do a good clean and remove the salt buildup.

Over time I have noticed many homes that did not regularly get their windows cleaned have windows that are now PERMANENTLY etched with it. I think the only solution is expensive buffering AND/OR for many people-- replacement. In fact, I was doing a job today with some new glass and as I was taking the window stickers off and they stated "for coastal areas it is recommended not to exceed 3 months between cleanings to prevent damage and scratching/etching of glass. LOL, thought that was interesting and beginning to think this is a trend- not sure if low quality glass or just Mother Nature winning the battle.

After a hurricane…man, better just go get the PRESSURE WASHER and get that crap off!!! I remember recently after Matthew, Irma, and Dorian…it looked like a bomb went off and the windows were top to bottom covered in anything you can imagine. I was removing sand for weeks off sills, nothing like 2-3 inches of sand on the bottom frame…!!! But boy was it good for business!

Anyway, just my two cents and I’d love to hear how you guys battle the salt spray all over the world. It’s tough to keep it off, but I will gladly have them pay me to keep coming back over and over through the years!!!

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Oh man, this is my first post in a while, but I felt this one was way too familiar!

I live on the east coast of Australia, and yep, HEAPS of salt. Luckily for me, most places have really good seals and frames, so WFP is perfect. Gotta make sure you have huge flow though - fit as many jets/rinse bars as possible all over the place, then do the frames first focusing heavily on washing out the crap and then hit the glass last. If it does happen to go through a little - so be it, I’ll just get my offsider to go inside and fix it up immediately.

I have a good number of apartments in highrise buildings that are a bit tricky, as the owners can’t let water drip below… for trad stuff I use a bath towel around the frames first, then flood the glass with very soapy solution and pre detail before finally squeegeeing with my applicator re-wetting the already soaked glass in front, and finally washing the squeegee in my bucket.

I agree, its a huge pain in the ass, but the types of customers with this problem mostly have large disposable income; very often I’ll be doing these places every 4 weeks as a ‘regular’ clean, and more often if we get nasty onshore winds, so it works out pretty good.


Also next to the sea & the problems associated with it. Yep… just add more water. Sometimes I will prescrub with a strip washer & that makes wfp easier to do it’s job.

I also service houses in the interior of the island with quite different problems, shotgun fungus, pine resin residue, pollen & run-off concrete silicate issues.

The grass is always greener!

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I have worked on an island cleaning windows full-time since 2005 or so— whenever I go “inland” (Even 2-3 miles in) I always am glad it’s just normal dirt on the glass and not salt spray and sand PLUS a “first clean” dirty.

I normally “scrub and hose it” and then finish off with DI rinse-- that does the trick as you mentioned karlos-- or if I am cleaning by hand (sometimes you just can’t WFP) I do the same thing and let it dry

Another trick I learned, and this also helps when you are working in high humidity (sometimes it’s 90+ percent) climates— wet the window with your wand, and then take a Huck towel and really quickly rub up from the side, to the top, to the other side— and then clean with the S technique as normal— you do not have to detail much at all, you get a cleaner pull from your squeegee as you won’t pick up little bits of sand/dirt because the rag did that for you. Not many people mention that one, people think it slows you down-- just the opposite. I still do a lot of work by hand, but I know when to use WFP and not to so it’s nice to have it in the truck in case it is needed.

I enjoy the challenge this kind of environment brings-- and the best part is— this is such an HONEST trade-- if I skipped a window, YOU would know because you literally would not be able to SEE out of it due to the salt spray covering top to bottom. I like that about it.

There is a product for this - an additive for wfp pure water. I want to say salt-x don’t remember where I saw it, it could have been the old version of the UK window cleaning warehouse website but it’s gone now.

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Hi All
Wondering if I can get some advice. I started window cleaning a while ago as I have a residential cleaning business and clients asked me to do windows. So now I do all my clients windows mainly with WFP . I have a client lives in condo on the ocean 3 stores high. So I have 2 questions

  1. The balcony glass doors have scratches on them , would the WFP have done this ? I’m not sure if they were there before or not but I do hose down before I WFP .
  2. On the side of condo the patio doors have about a 1.5ft space between the outside door and balcony perimeter glass barrier, it’s almost impossible to clean. Any suggestions??
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Well, if you use a rinse bar you can scratch the windows. I dont think I have ever scratched a window with my WFP…unless it was there already.

Not sure how to get between that gap…would probably need a HUGE squeegee so you could at least attempt to clean it with the 1.5 feet gap (your arm between it) – all I could think of looking at the pic

No don’t use a rinse bar so they must of been there before then . Thanks for advice I will try squeegee

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