Just Getting Started with Window Washing...Will These Tools be Enough?

Made a thread over here introducing myself to the forum with a few questions. If you could check it out I’d appreciate it.

I want to get started by doing homes. I’m not trying to be cheap but I’d like to keep things as minimal as possible and buy tools as I’m ready to use them since I’m just starting out. I’m hoping to get as much feedback as possible, thanks!

Handle: Ettore Pro+
Channel: 12" and 18" Stainless Steel
T Bar: would you recommend the Pro+ or the [URL=“http://shopwindowcleaner.com/ettore-pro-grip-t-bar.html”]ProGrip? Either way I’m starting out with a 12" and 18"
Sleeve: I’m thinking about going with the Microfiber but I’m open to suggestions
Scraper: Classic 6"
BOAB: going with the Ninja since it can hold two squeegees and [URL=“http://shopwindowcleaner.com/unger-belt.html”]this belt
Sponge: 6" Sea Sponge
Towels: Huck Towels for detailing. Can I replace the Sea Sponge with Microfiber Towels?
Brush: Paint Brush from local hardware store
Abrasive: 8" Scrub Pad
Extra: Squirt Bottle with belt holder, Towel Bag, Paint Can Opener, and Small Screwdriver Set

That’s my shopping list so far. If there’s ANYTHING you see I’m missing or can improve on, I’m all ears (or eyes I guess…). Thanks for reading.

Are you looking to get into residential? Low rise commercial? Storefront?

Depending how you answer that will change your tool needs.

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I plan on going the residential route

I noticed another thread you posted in almost right after I replied…

Buy a good ladder will be my first bit of advice for you.

24’ Werner ladder with a stand off and leg levelers. This is the best investment you can make for residential work. Especially if you want to clean gutters as well.

If you’re just starting with little to no experience, don’t think you can get away with using an extension pole to clean second story glass. Pole work takes a lot of time and a lot patience and a lot of skill to do well enough. You don’t want to land a job and then realize you cant clean the glass well enough with a pole.

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Here’s a getting started thread.

Handle: Ettore Pro+ (would it be worth it to start out with the Contour Pro+?)

I’d start out with the pro and after you have a solid technique you can get the contour if you think you need it. But I’d recommend getting 2 handles because in houses, you’ll want 2 sizes.

Channel: 8" and 12" Stainless Steel

I carry an 18 and a 12 stainless in houses and between those 2 I’ve got everything covered. You can buy 18’s and cut them down to size. Channels are cheap so get some extras and cut whatever you need.

T Bar: would you recommend the Pro+ or the ProGrip? Either way I’m starting out with a 10"

Do you have a reason for the 10? The only 2 sizes of mop I carry are the 12 and the 18. And I use the 18 like 99.999% of the time but I don’t have a ton of cutouts here either.

Sleeve: I’m thinking about going with the Microfiber but I’m open to suggestions

I like the microtiger, but your area will determine what you need. I’ve got a lot of baked on dirt here. Others like the monsoon since it holds so much water. Do a search and get feedback.

Scraper: Classic 6"

Do you have your scratch waiver ready to go? Are you trained in how to scrape? You do not want to scratch windows when you’re getting started because replacing a house full of glass is a quick way to go broke.

BOAB: I’m thinking of this Ettore but open to suggestions

I like the ninja because it’ll hold 2 squeegees. Others like the pulex. Not sure how many use the classics.

Sponge: 6" Sea Sponge

No opinion. I don’t use them but [MENTION=1736]JfromtheD[/MENTION] does.

Towels: Microfiber…Would it be wise to look into these Recycled Surgical Towels down the line?

I like the huck (surgical) towels. I use microfibers for wiping sills or cleaning out tracks.

Brush: Track Cleaner

Use a paint brush. You can get chip brushes at walmart for like 50 cents each.

Pole: do I need one starting out? 2 section or 3 section?

It doesn’t matter unless you’re going to spend a LOT of time on your own getting comfortable with the pole. If you were going to start out with storefronts, you’d get comfortable within a few weeks of using it day in and day out eating and sleeping with it. If you’re going to start residential only, then get a ladder.

I’d recommend a little giant knock off (werner or costco). 17’ should get you most 2 story houses for windows (you need 24’ for gutters). But with the lg you can position it on stairs, as an extension, a frame or whatever you need. I use my 17 almost exclusively and only rarely break out the sectionals or the extension. When you get more money, you can buy more ladder sets, but the lg 17 is the most versatile one you can buy starting out.

Get the lg 17 and if you want to do gutters you can rent a 24 extension.

Abrasive: should I go with scrubbing pads or wool?

Get the white scrubbing pads. They’re cheap, don’t rust, and will get you going.

Add to your list:

  1. Get a squirt bottle. Old soap bottles work. Less trips to the bucket saves you time and makes you money.

  2. Get a bottle holder for your belt to hold the squirt bottle.

  3. Get a belt, I like the unger double loop ones but the tuff belts rock.

  4. Get a towel bag. You’re going to use a TON of towels starting out until you learn how to clean the window effectively.

  5. Get a paint can opener (50 cents at walmart - don’t use the free ones from HD and Lowes, they’re not angled correctly). There’s no better tool for removing screens. You’ll find 100 uses for it pretty quick.

Here’s another thread that might be helpful, it shows different toolbelt setup that people use on a daily basis.
It will help you get an idea of the tool you might find handy to have.

http://windowcleaner.com/vBulletin/newbie-corner/27754-work-belt-setup-newbies.html

Also like Mike “ProWindowCleaning” “24’ Werner ladder with a stand off and leg levelers. This is the best investment you can make for residential work. Especially if you want to clean gutters as well”

Good luck out there be safe!!

[MENTION=41799]AMC[/MENTION] - Hi there!

the list [MENTION=12729]JaredAI[/MENTION] provided is pretty awesome.

Feel free to give us a call today before you place your order. We are happy to walk you through it. 1-862-266-0677

You may also want to check out some of our starter kits - Window Cleaning Starter Kits | Squeegee Kits | Shop WCR

the Expert one is very popular.

Nice list… I like the Pulex swivel t-bar. The Ettore Pro+ is a gem. I don’t like microfibers except for screens and mop up. Go for hucks.
I only pole stuff that is just out of reach, when it’s quicker than bringing a small ladder, like reaching over a desk or a bush.
I use my squirt bottle mostly for washing out tracks. I carry the compact ettore bucket which I love. Paint can openers are inexpensive but
upholstery tack pullers have a nice handle :slight_smile:

Some great advice here. I would add a 4 foot step ladder.

Also some white hospital bed pads. They’re great for catching drips, setting storms or screens on, setting your step ladder on inside to keep the floor clean, putting under your bucket, etc.

5-in-1 tool/painters tool. Great for everything from popping out screens to cleaning your ladder feet. Small screwdriver set for storm windows.

As with most things, you get what you pay for. I would advise against buying the cheapest option of anything, when for a few dollars more you can get one that will make you much happier.

Micro fibers are funny you can’t go and buy the cheap krappy ones from like the dollar store. Polzn blades gave a good tip with microfibers when u put it up to the light u don’t want to be able to see thru it. That’s a good microfiber. But that being said I rarely use them. Only in specialty situations. Hucks are my go too towel. And they will last u for a really long time.
On ladders if I didn’t have a lot to spend I would get first the 24 Werner extension ladder. And add leg levelers and standoff. Then I would add a 13 Werner lg ladder. That ladder is an invaluable ladder. It’s. 3-6 ft step ladder but very compact.
And as soon as possible add sectionals. The best most versital ladder u can buy in the states in my opinion.
Because like someone else said u can’t do high stuff traditionally with a pole. On houses. Commercial is different but on houses u need to be nose to glass.
On channels there’s a reason that ettore brass handles and channels are the best sellers. If u are going cheap they’ll get u buy until u can buy ergonomic stuff. 14 is a great residential size.

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I was wondering what size ladder I’d need too. Appreciate it.

[MENTION=12729]JaredAI[/MENTION]

Thanks for taking the time to break everything down for me!

Handles: So you’re saying have two handles with two different sized channels on it?

Channel & T Bar: I’ll go with 12"and 18" and like you said, cut them down if I need to

Sleeve & Scraper: I’ll do some more research on these

I’ll definitely look into the lg. I’ll update my original post with the new stuff you mentioned. Thanks again your input really helped.

The 24’ladder is a must for gutters but you can’t really use it inside. The 17’ lg can be used inside, on stairs, outside, dusting a ceiling fan, whatever.

The sectionals are useful if you have the money, but I get more out of my lg.

Handles: yup. The quick release is fast but you’ll use both size squeegees in a house. Just make sure you get a boab that can hold two.

Just to be clear: you can’t cut tbars and sleeves but get extra channels so you can chop them up as needed.

Sent from my Panasonic VCR. Please set the clock before responding.

smiled when i saw this

gotcha so I’ll pick up some extra channels and then I’ll get some 18" replacement rubber and cut it down if I need to. As far as ladders go, 17’ lg is first then 24’ extension is next

Quick question is the tack puller a better tool for getting screens out than the paint can opener?

[MENTION=12729]JaredAI[/MENTION] is begging to get a Sponge in his Xmas stocking, he just doesn’t know it.

  • and I agree with the paintbrush vs track cleaner.

Putting aside the fact I enjoy his company, and he’s my bud…
LOOK AT THAT LIST!

I WOULDN’T take the time to do that.

I’ll add a couple of things I am not sure I saw, I bought a 2 step, step stool from home depot. I use it a ton inside for window transoms, $19
I bought some cheap bath towels at walmart $3 each. Lay them in front of every window you do to catch the extra drips you will make until you get a little more seasoned. Even if you don’t drip a lot people love it. Shoe covers by the washable ones from WCRA, they are worth $20. Also if you have the extra money I found a lot of uses for Unger indoor cleaning pads and Spray Away. Those two things have saved me from having to bring a ladder into many houses.
Joe

I think the can opener is more useful. It’s certainly cheaper (29 cents at my walmart).

I use it to (off the top of my head)

  1. pull out screens (I never use the pull tabs because they ALWAYS break) and the curved part acts like a magic finger to pull the screen out

  2. compress screen springs if the screen is put in backwards (certain types of screens are made to go only one way)

  3. save my fingernail trying to pull stuck tabs on a pull in window (curved bit acts like a super fingernail)

  4. tighten my swivel handles (you might need to file it down a little bit but it’s basically a curved regular screwdriver)

  5. lever screens BACK IN if they’re tight

  6. push spline in for a quick fix on a screen

  7. pull/push the retaining blades on older pella windows

  8. pull the blinds from newer pella windows

  9. leverage out the grill inserts from pella windows

  10. use 2 of them to hold open a window [MENTION=4695]Squeegee[/MENTION]ninja style

and a bunch of other things I can’t think of off the top of my head. If I had to do a house without one, I’d probably freak out.

And if I lose it? Who cares? 29 cents.

I already got one! I think it’s in my son’s bathtub…

I just can’t imagine how/why to use it. It’s just another item on my ever growing “I don’t understand it” list alongside sectional ladders, indoor cats, modern art, the french, and metrosexuals.

Oh, the ettore rubber is the bomb. But keep your old 18’s. When your rubber wears, it usually wears on the ends, so cut the ends off for your 12" and other sizes. It’ll save you a lot of money down the road.

i really appreciate everyone’s help and advice, especially [MENTION=12729]JaredAI[/MENTION]. i’m very fortunate

this is what i ended up going with: http://i.imgur.com/3EDvCQe.jpg

i bought surgical towels and a spray bottle from ebay and i’m going to go to wal mart to pick up a paint can opener, 2" chip brush, laundry bag for my towels, and dawn.

as of right now, i have $80 to spend before i start going door to door. i’m not able to buy a ladder at the moment and it would take a month for me to have the funds. would i be crazy to go door to door and offer to clean only the first floor windows to get my foot in the door? i’d take down their contact information and come back to them offering to do the second floor + gutters.

with the $80 that i have i want to get some business cards and a domain to get a simple website going.

am i missing anything?

Don’t bother with a website before you have a ladder.

Spend $15 on 500 business cards from vista print and then make some black and white fliers (two per page) on your computer then print out $25 worth (should be 250 copies, two per page gives you 500 fliers)

I still use black and white paper fliers and still get calls on them when I put them out.

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