Residential Cleaning Process

Hi all. I am a window cleaning business owner who doesn’t clean windows. I’ve got a good, but inexperienced, technician that does the cleaning for me. Everyone loves the guy, but they don’t always love our results. I’m hoping you guys can help me make sure we are using the correct equipment, supplies and process to deliver excellent results every time.

On the exterior, we’re using a Wash-IT Pro with a Reach-IT Mini waterfed pole. Currently using a Boar Hair Brush. Just ordered a Constructor Brush Industrial but don’t have it yet. For the interiors, we use the Unger Pure Water system.

We clean 100% residential. We’re relatively new, so most of our jobs are first time/one time. We’ve had a lot of homes with serious oxidation issues. I think the only answer there is scrubbing the panes until it runs clear, correct? We also have a lot of homes with thick, white grime on the windows that doesn’t come off with the boars head brush. Hoping the Constructor will help with this.

So, is this the correct/best process for doing residential?

  1. Go inside and remove all screens (label with Sharpie so we know where to return them).

  2. Go outside and clean the screens.

  • Screen Magic doesn’t seem to work very well. I think we’re going to buy (an Aztec?) screen cleaner and upsell screen deep cleaning. We’ll just do a basic dry wipe as an included service. Does this make sense?
  1. Go inside and clean windows (Unger Indoor Pure Water Kit).
  • Is the best process to start with the thicker pile pad, then finish with the thinner “polisher” pad?

  • When do we use the white scrubber pad? Do we start with it on the dirtier windows?

  1. While cleaning interior, use the Track Cleaner Brush to clean out the tracks.

  2. Go outside and start cleaning windows.

  • Would it help to do a “pre-soak” of the windows? Maybe scrub the panes, then soak the windows on one side of the house and then go back to the first window and clean normally?

  • Should we start using some detergent on first time cleans? I see ecover mentioned in a lot of threads?

  • When would I use the Constructor vs. the Boar Hair brush?

  • Should I get a smaller pole for the 1st floor windows? Does that make things easier?

  1. Deal with trouble spots.
  • Should you clean all of the windows and then go back for trouble areas? Or do it on a window by window basis?

  • Where do we use steel wool (0000) vs. a blade vs. the white scrubber pad? Is there a secret?

  1. Return screens.

Are there other tips or tricks you guys can recommend? Are there tools or supplies I’m not providing that will help him get better results? Are we missing any obvious steps or doing things in the wrong order? Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!

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[MENTION=29273]friscobob[/MENTION], welcome to the forum, and the industry! :slight_smile:

I’ll give you my take on your steps, one by one. This is based on working solo, a lot has been written on the forum about the most efficient processes for teams, feel free to use the search function.

  1. Good place to start. But working solo, I remove and mark the screen as I get to that window. No sense making extra trips around the home.

  2. I clean the screens after I’ve cleaned all the interiors. That’s because I haven’t gotten them all removed until I’ve gotten around to all the windows. The Aztec cleaner is a great investment. I use it on nearly every job, with no up-charge. “real” screen cleaning is built into my pricing, if someone is dead set on not wanting me to touch their screens at all, I’ll drop $2 off per screen. That’s just my approach.

  3. The unger cleaning kit is a great tool to have in the arsenal, but definitely not my go-to tool for interior cleaning, and I wouldn’t even necessarily recommend it as essential starting equipment. I find it best suited for fairly well maintained, difficult to reach with traditional tools, windows. I suggest reading up more here on the preferred cleaning methods for interior and exterior cleaning.

  4. Track cleaning is not really my thing. I’ll let some others weigh in on this. I think it really depends on market, what people expect for window cleaning. The only time I deal with tracks, is when bugs cram their nesting material into the tracks of storm windows. What a mess. In that case, I sometimes use my pocket knife to get that crud out.

  5. For first time cleans, I almost always do face to glass. The few exceptions are for windows that aren’t safe to reach with a pole, or windows have been well maintained (I can usually tell this while I’m cleaning the insides of the windows.

  • pre-soaking does tend to help. So does hot water. Detergent helps, too, but remember you’ll need to rinse extra well.

  • not sure why you would need anything smaller than a pulled-apart MiNi for first story work

  • I don’t have any experience with boars hair, but I have never had a need for anything more aggressive than my constructor brush

  1. I try and deal with trouble spots as I do the windows. For first time cleans, if I can tell a window isn’t tempered, I go at it with the 6" razor followed by a white scrub pad. If it is tempered (or I’m unsure) I’ll use the scrub pad, followed by bronze wool if that isn’t doing the trick. I really try and limit my use of a razor on tempered glass, although the older the glass is, the safer it tends to be. And I always get a waiver signed before proceeding with that.

For difficult stuff like “screen burn”/oxidation, I’ll use oven cleaner, very carefully. Rinse well, and use PPE!

That’s all I can think of for now. Have fun :slight_smile:

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[MENTION=29273]friscobob[/MENTION] Do you use squeegees at all? I’d only use the indoor kit on hard to reach windows or skylights.

Sounds like an overall bad investment. My first ? would be… how can your employee be good if he can’t deliver results the clients are pleased with?

Cc550 is the best for screen burn.

This space for rent!

Good question. I guess: You can be a good guy and be the suck at window cleaning. Or you can be a bad guy and be the bomb at window cleaning.

“Bad guy” and “the bomb” can still both be bad


This is a reasonable response. But, I have a day job that funds the window cleaning business and doesn’t allow me the time to go out and do it myself. So I’m hoping we can learn virtually from the experts on this forum.

  1. You don’t have any issue with dirty screens leaving dirt/marks on indoor carpet?

  2. We’ve seen really dirty tracks create a lot of mud during the exterior cleaning, so this is sortof a precautionary measure. Seems to be pretty quick and easy with the track brush.

Thanks for the tips. Much appreciated.

We don’t use squeegees, purely pure water. I guess maybe that’s not a reasonable approach?

He’s a good employee who was a questionable boss and incomplete training. I think he can be great with proper care and feeding.

Then you may not be the right ranch hand for the caring and feeding. I know I can be a dick but how can you properly care & feed your employee when you have NO basic skills regarding window cleaning? Your either an investor who has not done his research or one that looks at figures alone and could care less…
Most of your initial questions starting this thread reference you being spoon fed as to how easy it is to clean glass. Honestly, as a veteran in this industry, I would be laughing at your employee if he broke out the unger indoor glass cleaning magic wand and proceeded to clean all my windows and doors. Get in the trenches and learn

I’m honestly trying to make sense of this thread but as I type, I am in the middle of a bidding war on ebay for some used rubber… I hope it’s the kind I use in my channels

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"Mind blown!"
What would you do if it was in your home and on your bright white carpet? :confused:

Nope. If you run on a house that has a lot of build up on the windows, those unger pads will NOT go very far. You’d need a LOT of pads to get a house done with decent results.

You need a squeegee.

For residential only, I’d get a 12" and an 18" squeegee and a 12" and 18" tbar and mop. Plus bucket on a belt, a belt, some huck towels, and basically everything else in this thread.