Streaking with pole

Let me start off by saying that I am pretty much a newbie (I have only done 4 houses and a lot of practicing on mine).
I have a question. When cleaning exterior windows using a pole, what should I do to prevent streaking? This isn’t a problem with windows that are close to the ground because I can wipe the squeegee blade and around the edges of the window. There must be a solution to it . . . I tried making it so the rubber didn’t stick out as far past the channel but that didn’t seem to help. Thanks.

Poling is frustrating until you get the hang of it.
I’ve being doing it for a few months now and every time I have a chance to use a pole I try to so I can practice, but I still have problems when closing on the sill (ledge).

You need to angle your squeegee sideways, and the lower part should be on the “dry side” of the glass. You might think the water is going to go down but the water goes up your rubber.

Starting from the right hand side of the window, your first pull is straight down, then move your squeegee to the left, “invading” the dry side for an inch or so, and the right side of your rubber should be slightly lower than the left side to avoid streaking.

I know is kind of confusing and not meant to be explained using a computer, but go to youtube and you’ll see examples of what I’m talking about.

When poling do not wet the very top of the window. Try to leave a small space for the squeegee to start out dry. Tapping the squeegee on another window or even a wet part also helps get some water buildup off. If the windows are really dirty you may need to soak the window really well and even the top. In that case I use a huck on the pole to dry the very top before I squeegee if streaking occurs.

I guess my problem isn’t so much the streaking in the middle of the glass as much as it is the streaking around the edges. I have tried using a huck on the pole to wipe around the edges, but that is very unpractical.

I saw a video of a guy on youtube. First of all he squeegeed across the top of the window then went down on the right side. After that he kind of started in the wet area on the left and then went up to where it was dry at the top before coming down on the right with 2-3 inches over the dry area. Now this was in a mall and the window was probably 10-12 feet high and 8-10 feet across. I can’t imagine using this technique on a window 16 feet up and only 20 inches wide. I guess for this you just have to rely on the tilt the squeegee technique.

Now I still have the problem of streaking on the edges–particularily the left and right sides. When the squeegee comes down, it leaves a little water which leaves nasty streaks when it dries. Help. . .

Do you have ladders? Or are you only poling?

I hate the poles. I can’t get it right either. Occasionally you’ll have the window that’s simply impossible to get to, but usually you can find a way to get your nose to it with a Little Giant and a 20 ft extension ladder. And if space is an issue, I used to haul both in and on the roof of my Chevy Cavalier :stuck_out_tongue:

With double hung windows you can always lean out and fix the streaks along the edges you’re talking about from inside

I always detail my edges w/ a scrim on a pole. Then there is no streaking. Some guys let the solution that’s left dry on the edges and then detail that off. No matter how you do it you’ll have to detail.

Robinson-Solutions: Window Cleaning Videos for Beginners: Using a Pole

Robinson-Solutions: Marks Video’s of low rise commercial window cleaning

I have a few thoughts about what your doing. First I am not sure how accurate one can be with a 16’ high window that is only 20" wide using a pole. My inclination is to ladder up the wall the do it face-to-glass. This is the main reason I am not using a WFP for resi-work. Besides that I have to go up for the screens, frames, and tracks anyways.

Second, I use three different towels when I clean. One terry, one large micro, and a small micro. The terry is used for wiping up large amounts of water on the frames, tracks, edges, and rarely on the glass. I try not to touch the glass with the terry. The large micro is used for touching up wet streaks, drips, marks on the glass. I don’t touch the frames or tracks with it. The small micro is used for buffing dry streaks, drips, edges, etc. The towels are progressively drier, respectfully. The terry is sopping wet in a short amount of time, the small micro is always dry. I can use only one large micro and one small micro in a 10 hour day of WC’ing. I will however go through up to five or six terry towels in a day. I know that the scrim users do something similar. I’d like to try one.

Third, someone mentioned reaching out of a window. One, the ANSI I-14 standard for window cleaning safety states that you should only put one arm out of a window, up to the shoulder, and no more. So be very careful about leaning out of a window. Do I do it? Yes. Should I? No, but it beats re-laddering a 24’ high window, much less a 16’ pane. And leaving the streaks at the edges is an absolute no-no!

I know a 16’ tall 20" wide window is just an example, but if that were the real size all you’d need is a 20" squeegee and enough pole length to reach the top and enough back up space to get to the bottom in one shot.
On the subject of avoiding streaks while poling, the wetter the window is the better. Don’t overlap on the passes that follow the intial one by more than ABOUT 20% of your squeegee width. In other words, if you’re using a 20" squeegee, don’t hit more than about 4" of dry glass on your next passes. You need plenty of wet under the rubber.
To get it right you need to also reach the right balance of how much to tilt the leading edge down, how much extra pressure you apply to the leading edge, and how far forward or away from the glass you’ll have your squeegee.

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Definitely not very safe. I was primarily referring to sticking just an arm out and getting streaks with a towel. The few times I’ve tried to hang out and actually clean the window from inside, I couldn’t get my angle right and nearly peed my pants… if the window is too high to get with a ladder, it’ll no doubt be pretty far off of the ground and scary to dangle out of

if i see a frame is really dirty i drape a wet cloth on the pole and quickly first wipe the sides and top edge . then i clean as usual and detail the edges with a scrim on the pole . you really only have to clean the top rail one time (not every visit ) by doing this you far reduce the chance of your squeeging or rain later etc leaving a dirty streak

Yes, I do have a ladder. It’s just that it’s safer and seams faster to use a pole.

By nature pole work is inferior to face-to-face, but it can be done well. I sometimes carry a rubberband to hold my DRY towel to the pole for detail work. This keeps it from falling off.

Remember that if you cannot hit the glass with a dry towel, you won’t be able to detail well. This is where beginners almost always fail, they detail with damp rags. The only exception is when the window is very hot and the streak is super dry really quickly. If that is the case, adding a drip of moisture to the detail towel will lift the streak.

And like it has already been said: your rag is going to get wet if you the perimeter is too wet.

Thanks for the advice.

Very helpful.

i think that you just need to detail the edges with a clean dry huck towel, i usually have to do that on a lot of the larger windows i pole, works well for me.

Use a Super system handle and squeegee on an angle.



The window you saw the guy in the video wash was a store front window, most store windows and commercial windows have a really deep edge and a flat bead of caulk or rubber at the edge, The squeegee rides this edge and leaves an acceptable finish. On most residential windows there is a raised or beveled edge which causes the squeegee to rise at the edge and leave a fairly large wet line that really means a pole is not the best way to wash residential windows, Its possible but a pain in the butt and probably faster by ladder

Does this mean that trasoms are over your head? : )

Bert gave solid advice. Terry never touches glass. And your finishing cloth should be used as little as possible. I found that good rubber and an assortment of channel lengths can be handy around homes. I even custom cut them on site when neccesary. I may try to pole and awkward window but if you are getting streaks you gotta get on up there. Only two other tidbits of advice I might offer:

  1. Safety is your friend.
  2. If you must cyber…please wear a modem