Hey all, just thought I’d share what I believe to be the most ergonomic way for most people to clean windows. It’s in this video I made for complete newbies so don’t be offended if it seems very basic. I apologize for the video quality.
IMO straight pulls are more ergonomic and alleviate repetitive motion problems. A pickle channel reduces the need to wipe the top edge saving you motions. The ledger eliminates the need to tilt the squeegee which is easier on your fingers.
The swivel of the the swivel ledger is easier on your joints.
Don’t get me wrong, I love fanning. But I can’t fan a house for 10 hours straight. I can listen to books on tape and not even strain myself using the swivel pickel ledger (SPL).
Not saying this is for everyone, but it has proven to be the easiest on my shoulders, wrists and elbows
well I can do 14 pullups in row, run a mile in 7 minutes… but that repitive motion can kick your butt no matter how good of shape you’re in. Some people can’t even do a situp but will call anyone who strives to be more ergonomic a “wuss.”
I’m going to keep hammering away on the importance of ergonomics in window cleaning ecause I think it is very important. Ask all the vetrans in the industry who have had to have multiple surgeries for carpal tunnel, rotator cuff problems, tennis elbo etc
If you are fanning with the old “boat anchors” brass squeegees, and have no aches or pains, you are probably a genetic miracle or only clean windows for 4 hours a day, IMO.
Would love to stir up some controversy here. We’re not learning anything unless we stir up the pot.
The whole “hit the gym” thing is a pretty weak arguement as I have been a lifetime fitness buff with a perfect 300 score in the Army.
Everyone likes the drama… when window cleaners start insulting each other’s vans and significant others, then it gets personal lol
Where is Rob Allen when you need him.
But seriously, look at how many veteran window cleaners (guys who have spent 20 years in the field) have had to have multiple surgeries, or the window cleaners who have had to leave the field or switch occupations from repetitive motion injuries.
Some people just have the attitude that, “that’s why you hire employees to clean the windows for you and get out of the field.”
But I don’t think that option is for everyone. Not everyone is a business genius, expert entrepreneur etc. Plus, I definitely think it’s easier to grow a business in certain areas than it is in other areas.
Has anyone noticed that in Canada, the UK and the Northeastern United States for example it is a lot less work to have a bigger operation than it is in areas like the Southwestern United States.
Rules regarding subcontracting and local taxes play a big role. Personally, I think that the business environment for window cleaners is headed towards the United Kingdom model with more responsibility for the safety, health and well being of the employees being laid at the feet of the employer.
I’m trying to engineer a window cleaning company that is very friendly towards the needs of the people performing the work. Right now, that is mainly me with my wife helping out on bigger jobs.
I like for her to help me as I can test out different equipment setups and see how convenient and ergonomic it is. As she doesn’t help me all that often, I can see how someone with less training is able to plug into my system.
I feel that designing a system revolving around a young, skilled window clear will not translate well into growing a window cleaning company in the future environment. The skilled guy I employed a couple of years ago was very easy to equip. You could just toss him a fixed 12 inch squeegee and a mop and he would be off to the tracks.
Unfortunately, a high-rise guy in his mid-twenties also had a lot of socially undesirable traits: swearing, smelling like smoke of various kinds, unpredictability etc.
I know that you can clean a window without a lot of fancy tools, but I don’t want my system to depend on skill. I want to design a system that you can plug any decent hard working college kid into without a lot of training. Or a semi-retired 50 year old contractor who is polite and well spoken etc - the point is a wider variety of skills levels and physical abilities.
I don’t want to have to depend on finding a stream of highly skilled window cleaners in order to accommodate busy seasons.
Sorry for the long winded post, but I have been thinking a lot about different ways to scale a business.
Funny example about ergonomics, Starbucks changed out all there machines where the employees had to twist the levers for machines were they simply pull down because of ergonomics and L&I
I agree company’s should be able to plug-in employees into any position that they are needed in, with very little training because the tools and systems that the company has in place are “[I]tried and true[/I]”.
I’m finding that the ettore soren rubber isn’t holding up very well in hot weather. I like the super system channel because it works with the ledger, it is always straight, and it accepts the regular regular (ettore or pulex hard for me in August).
Wagtail is definitely the way to go as far as ergonomics are concerned. You use your shoulders elbows and wrists a lot less if used properly. I’m no pro yet with the tool but I can already notice I use these body parts less strenuously, especially the wrist. You use it in its intended up and down hinge motion as opposed to the side to side motion. I’ve also noticed you can grip it with your fingers and leave your palm open, that’ll help fend off the death grip from holding something too tight for too long. That and use wfp as much as possible, with a good rock back and forth on your legs routine. Switch arms a lot too, that helps.
I know there a lot of videos out there. You know what seems to help me get better? Is watching the technique and look for the unsaid little movements you all do. Found many on my own practicing but little things help. What do I mean? We watch a fan or pull. Up down or left right but I began watching the just before start and stop. I see some make a slight L/R movement, maybe setting the blade? It helped me get a good blade set and reduce the amount of edging. I see when many stop there is a short pause holding blade tight to corner/edge. When I do this I sometimes will not have to finish with cloth or detailer. Now I look for these little movements that you guys do naturally out of habit. I think “I saw him do this thing I’ll try it and see if it helps.” Like hidden bits of treasure. It works for me. Thanks for sharing.
Totally agree with your Wagtail observation. I was, many years ago now, trained using Ettore Brass squeegees. A few years ago I started windows again (after a long sabbatical in retail) and discovered the zero degree Unger. I developed, in the main a side stroke system with and without pole (long and short) that was much easier on hand, wrist etc. Interestingly I found I got best results by having the swivel screw almost totally loose…decided to give Wagtail a go last year. First the PC, a revelation, then PC flip on short and long poles. My go to Wagtail currently is the new Combi. Every day kit is 1x14" with pad, 1x 14" bare, absolutely the lightest most ergonomic squeegee available. I use it in hand, left and right or with a short (50cm) plastic pole all the way up to my Reach-It Mini WFP. Yes there is some perseverance required to become proficient with these tool, but, the time and effort pay huge dividends physically.
I agree with you. Straight pulling with a proper size squeegee minimizes stress on wrist and shoulders. I thought the wagtail was the greatest invention made until realizing how many unnecessary movements i was making. For the most part, I went back to my steccones. The wagtails are mostly used for pole work. I still fan mostly out of habit, but I’m minimizing it. My wrist and shoulder don’t hurt as much these days.
I noticed something else. I usually have a spray bottle that I could spray solution to window and use the washer. Do you think it is better to use the squirt bottle? I do know when outside and you don’t hit where ever you spray the small drops may dry dry rather quickly and have to redo. When doing daily cleaning it is a waste of time to get the bucket. I’m not using window spray for quickies anymore, just pure water and a swipe. I usually have a wet washer with me in my cart so if doors are bad I can give a quick wash. Honestly first video that shows someone using the bottle to wet up the washer. I could use the spray bottle but often wonder if the spray i actually causing the soap to bubble more? I’ll try the squirt on mop. Have you found a difference and that is why you use the bottle?
I think the wagtails work great for straight pulling. Many window cleaners think their only advantage is with fanning. The swivel will save your joints. I only use swiveling squeegees at this point in my window cleaning career. Unger 0 degree, wagtail orbitals, and the swivel ledger.
Even if you only clean windows with vertical straight pulls, the swivel is still important IMO.
Odd thing I did. So what else is new. LOL. I was playing with my ninja. Have 2 so the idea fairy hit me. I set out to modify it. Smoothed out the tab so it moves freely. Hey, if I need to lock again just turn the screw. I did this because I wanted to get a swivel head but not sure what to get and wanted to try something before I bought another product that doesn’t fit me… I found that I can apply pressure to thumb on the nice thumb rest on handle. As I fan or pull I can move the head with my thumb to angle the blade instead of using the wrist. It seems so natural for me to do this. Does this mean I am a Wagtail swivel type guy?