Question for cleaning sills

I have a resi client today whom I spent 5 hours doing 30 windows/18 screens. The major time killer for me was she wanted her sills spotless, near perfect. While I have no problem at all serving my clients to the best of my ability, I can only do so much with the tools that I have. Being I only have a sill brush, my options were limited. She had dirt that was so impacted in the corners, the sill wouldn’t even touch it. The only trick I could find was using my car key inside my microfiber towel to get in the edges and get it lifted out, so I could brush it out the window. She mentioned that a friend of hers in the past had used a Shark-like steam vacuum to turn the dirt into liquid, and thus it was easier to remove then. Have any of you run into horribly dirt-covered sills, and if so, what’s the best methods you’ve found to remedy it? I’m asking, cuz investing in a hand held vacuum like a Shark is feasible for me, but if something else seems to work better, I’d prefer going that route. Thanks!!!

Jason D. Russell
Squee Gees, LLC
Grand Rapids, MI

Maybe instead of your keys a flat head screwdriver, Or better yet a 5 and 1 its a painters tool. I hope you charge extra for that type of cleaning.

Nope. I have a flat rate special for all inclusive cleaning. I’m still making a very good rate. The money wasn’t ever the issue. How to satisfy the homeowner with pristine cleaning is :slight_smile:

That’s good then if the sills aren’t bad then you make an even better rate . Nice!!

Flat head screwdriver, putty knife, semi stiff paintbrush (as sill brush) for corners. I like to use old terry cloth bath towels on main part of sill to get the major gunk off, then a magic eraser to get the marks off.

If you want to save time, you can use a truck wash brush on the window sills from the outside with window closed before you clean the windows. I have learned that it saves time and effort washing the sill first then the window. You can get nice and sloppy without screwing up an already clean window glass.

I do the outside first. The when I go inside to clean the interior windows, I lift up the lower double hung and wipe out the 1 inch missed spot where the window was closed from the inside.

Another trick is squirting a cleaning solution from a squeeze bottle into the corners.

I swear by the terry cloth bath towels. Scrim for the glass and terry cloth for the sills and frames.

[MENTION=4338]greenj26[/MENTION] The solution In a bottle is a great idea I use a big squeeze bottle I think its 24oz , and I like those pva towels. Learned about those on here.

Upon the recommendation of Tony/Anthony, dear departed Mr. Squeegee (banned). I have used a Black and Decker Pivot and Flex cordless vacuums to good effect with a brush/brushes of some kind and and pointed objects. Pick a weapon and start scrubbing and digging and the vacuums suck up the dry dirt. If it’s real bad and they want them spotless get sloppy and scrub like @greenj26 said. This is not elegant work, charge for it.

I do have a bunch of terry cloths I haven’t used yet, I’ll give that a go for sure. As for inside/outside first, I have been doing the inside first, then going outside, but what you mention definitely makes sense…I’ll have to give that a go around for sure. Thanks!

Rubbermaid makes counter brushes-soft/flagged, semi stiff, and they are easy to hang from your belt.

Say big guy, you look good in a kilt.

Care to talk about it? How is it different then just cleaning the glass?
This is not a challenge, I’m with you 100%. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Question. WFP or regular sills like can clean from inside? I do A LOT of new const and move outs. New const has paint, mortar, plaster, etc… 5 in 1 works great. Firm tooth brush. Vacuum the loose first. Good scrub brush. Nice spray bottle top like like Zep blue yellow sprayer or small garden sprayer. New const, all that stuff needs to come out. Many cracks, crevices, tracks. I use the sprayer to flush out the residue and rinse it away and out. Brushes get you so far and using 5 in 1, even with a cloth swab gets so far. I usually have a mixture of denatured alcohol and vinegar. The sprayer flushes into the tiny corners. No it wont get everything else wet. If worried get a towel to put on inside ledge. My girls leave residue there and I walk in with the sprayer, few squirts and it comes out. They use a sprayer now. Of course the black gunk from regular houses are a bit goopier but works just as well brush-N-flush. Could always use a Q-tip.
Worth a try, right?

When you say sills I am assuming you mean tracks? Where the screen sits in? Nothing works better than a sea sponge. It will hold a ton of water and you can flush out the track and break up all the dirt. Then wring it out and it will soak up all the water and dirt. It will get the corners as well. It’s fast and easy. Two downsides to consider 1. you have to carry a bucket of water around the house with you and it gets dirty fast, which will still clean the tracks but if you spill it your probably screwed. 2. A Lot of homes here have security system sensors in the bottom track and if it gets water in the hole it can short it out so watch out for this. I just don’t flush the water over the sensor or near it bust use the sponge damp to clean over the sensor.

Not really under the screen. The screens locked on the top portion of the unit. When I take those out to clean underneath, those are a breeze…just a slot to keep them from moving back and forth. What I’m referring to is in front of that when inside looking out…more or less the left and right sides where the window slides up and down. The corners of that were completely impacted with dirt. I will take your suggestions on how to clean them next time if I get a scenario where they’re nearly as dirty as they were today.

for those willing to pay… we clean as much as we can with sill brushes and a small shop vac… toothbrush has come in handy, also small flat head screw drivers with a towel.
If thats not good enough I have a fine point sprayer powered by a small air compressor, Works with venturi - sucks up a small amount of liquid and sprays it and air in a very high powered little stream… gotta be honest though I have only had one customer that was that anal… just did it in the spring he paid up the butt for it but was happy as hell, says he wants to do it 2x per year…( OCD Clean…)… gotta be carefull though can also make a big mess spraying crap all over the place…just lower the pressure till you get the results you want

Yes that was what I was referring to. Most window cleaners here refer to the portion of the track under the screen as the outside track and the portion under the window sash as the inside track. Try the sea sponge method. It is by far the easiest and most effective way to clean them.

I do mostly construction and empty cleanings. The best thing I have used is the track brush from the store, a paint brush (any cheap one will do), and my Dyson cordless vacuum (forget the model number, pricey though).

I get as much dry soil up first, then whatever’s left I will get with the huck or micro fiber towel.

I have the Dyson DC40, and I was halfway tempted to bring that with me today, just in case. Couldn’t have hurt, although it’s quite the lug around.

I tried the shark on other things. A lot of hot steam/pressure might work well on the gunk plus it dries very quick. I’ll try it. I have used it on my trouble children windows once. Carpet and bug guys sprayed something that could not get off. Scraper did nothing. Steel/Brass wool failed.This melted it away. Never thought about the sill. Hmmmm
See , always get cool ideas here. I also like the venturi air thing.


You never just clean the glass? You market your services as only detailing the frames, tracks, etc, all inclusive? If so, this works well for you?
I’m interested because that is usually how I operate, but I won’t turn down a “Just hit the glass, I have an unexpected event day after tomorrow.” request. If I have the time.