How clean is clean? - Commercial

This thread is excellent:

I would say the standards differ for commercial vs resi though. Was interested in everyone’s thoughts on this.

(By commercial I mean office buildings, schools, etc., not storefront.)

Whatever keeps the client happy!

My standards are the same commercial verse residential.

Most of the time my “customers” are the same too.

The difference is on residential the customer will see all of your work or even check on it. Where commercial the customer or contact person may or may not even send a message out stating windows will be cleaned. If so, the average office worker likely doesn’t even pay attention to the quality allowing for less quality potential.

Why risk it, repeat customers are who we want. Do what you’re paid for and build on to your customer base.


Commercial is more forgiving than residential generally.

People notice higher quality work over time, however don’t kid yourself and let standards drop unnecessarily.

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So do you guys steel wool every pane? That’s my standard for resi. Also, I’m extremely reluctant to razor anything because so much comm glass is tempered.

I dont steel wool all residential. 1 time clean possibly but not always. My residentials are usually 2 times per year and mostly repeat which may be the difference too.

Unnecessary step that really adds time. Use as needed.


I use the blue 3m scrub pads on pretty much everything that isn’t cleaned biweekly, both resi and commercial. It’s a good middle of the road option between wool and just mopping.

Steel (actually, Bronze wool is what I carry) is sort of my tool of last resort. If I can’t scrape it, I’ll scrub a little harder with the blue pads, or use a magic eraser for silicone smears and stuff. Oil based stain gets spot treatment with oven cleaner and the scrub pad.


blue pads? ive been using scotch non scratch pads and they work great if i have nothing else. but i dont know what brand your talking about.

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So i was using the scrub pads for a while but then I thought I’m going through the same motions, why not just use an abrasive thats more effective and requires less pressure, so i switched back to steel wool. I felt the scrub pads are so poor at removing debris I didn’t see the benefit of using them at all except maybe the price, but steel wool is cheap enough imo.

I basically want to scrub once and squeegee once.


I’m of the same opinion.
Though I use Bronze wool much more than steel wool. Bronze is faster than pads, but bunches up after a bit. More expensive, but no rust. That’s my issue with steel wool. It starts rusting in less than an hour for me. A bronze wool pad will at least last a 4 hour job. Steel, not even.

At height I use bronze wool and a doodle bug, or bronze on a Tbar. Though the tbar type seems way less durable than flat pads.

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I put steel wool on a knuckler for my wet scrub. It usually lasts all day if not two. I keep a dry bronze wool on me too for any specs i missed. Doing it that way it lasts for weeks. I find that gives me the best if both worlds.

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I learned a long time ago that my perception of clean is a lot different than most of my customers perception of clean.

You have to remember that we are looking at the glass and most customers are just looking through it.


I think he is referring to the white pads. That’s what we sale for glass Unless 3M has a new pad now for glass that is blue.

Also one of the things I love about Responsibid is it list in detail what cleaning task will be performed. Then the customer knows what they are paying to have cleaned and what they are not having cleaned.

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They’re a little more aggressive than the white pads, but still safe on glass. Got the tip from @windowsrx


Hey Alex. Hope you are doing well. Those pads work really well. Glad you like them.


First of all, if the client is happy AND you can live with the extra work with the discounted price…you did good. Although I’m not a fan of that approach now, it would be easy for me to criticize, so I won’t. I can recall long ago when I was a much younger business owner/operator, I would do anything to get the work. But that was when I was just growing and new in the business, circa early 1980’s. As for the detail needed to please a client, I have always found that residential tends to be more exacting in their expectations while commercial accounts are a bit more forgiving…but there are always exceptions. Managing customer expectations is paramount regardless of whether the job is a home or a building. For example, even on an office building, if you notice blown seals, really bad hard water deposits or chemical stains on the glass like leaching from above concrete fascia, it is always wise to let the customer know that these conditions either warrant an extra charge or they will have to put up with a less than perfect look to their glass. Even commercial clients can get upset if they are expecting one thing but getting another.


Fantastic post and imo this statement truly captures the idea.

i usually will do one OCD wipe (as i like to call it) on the first appointment of the month if it’s a recurring Job/Client and then do a basic wash and clean on the rest (unless they are crazy dirty).

But if it’s a monthly or quarterly job i will do an OCD wipe every time. :slight_smile:

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I never charge more for initial cleans on commercial jobs unless it is post-construction.

If they will commit to a schedule, you will make all your time back and more.

Eat it on the first clean, get paid, make them happy, and maintain it and get paid again, and again, and again, and again…

Upcharging initial cleans confuses the client and is a short sighted profit.