Winter cleaning

Any cliff notes out there on cold weather window cleaning? Wasn’t thinking to go through winter, but I have a couple commercial accounts now that I might try to service through the winter.

Specifically, how do I adjust solutions, what are the concerns with water and glass temperature, can you even do high work (20’) in the winter. If you know the Arby’s chain, you know the kind of work I’m looking at. I hate that one high diamond window that 8 feet corner to corner.


Nothing to add, but where are you located?

Invest in good gloves, if you can’t keep your hands warm you won’t be out very long.
Depenting on how severe your winter is you need to get either winshied washer fluid, or something stronger, methonal or something else. I get wwf but that is because my winter here in Idaho is not that severe, I used to live in Michigan, with the cold weather, and the lake winds BRRRR!
Plus also where I am here is in the montains one end of my area is around 4500 ft. and the other end is just under 6500 ft. so the change in elevation changes the freezing point, and I have to adjust throughout the day.

Get some denatured alcohol or methanol (windshield washer fluid will do in a pinch) and add it as needed to keep your solution from freezing.
One caution is to remember that by adding these chems you are actually lowering the freezing point of the water so I would avoid putting my hands in the bucket if at all possible.

I have found that Methanol is the best thing to use. One thing to remember. it is methyl alcohol. It willl dry your hands out. Always wash hands after use. I recomend plenty of hand lotion to help soothe hands from exposure

Speaking of hands drying out…does anyone have that problem with Dawn? My hands look like a 90 yr old man at the end of the day. Anyone use the Dawn w/ hand lotion in it or does this not work as well for windows?

For doing pole work, where water will sit on window a bit longer, I carry a squirt bottle of Methanol. Just squirt some on your scrubber for extra freeze protection.

In the winter our guys wear neoprene gloves and use denatured alcohol.
Mike as for your hands drying out invest in a good hand lotion AHAVA is incredible (its from the Dead Sea) you can order it online and some beauty places carry it, but it is the best lotion by far because it also helps heal the cracks in your skin from it being chapped. PS. it works great on feet too!!

We wear those “glacier gloves” when its cold out, for the really nasty days you can get the shakable hand warmers, just shake them up and place them under the velcro straps on the gloves over where you take your pulse, a few in your boots don’t hurt either, They are usually a buck a pair in Lowes and last about 5-6 hours

Always wear gloves when handling methanol. Methanol can make you sick if you handle it too long without proper protection.

I also like to dress in layers. it may be cold when you start but once you get working it warms up. don’t get stuck outside with only one coat. I wear fleece and layer it. for me it doesn’t slow or bind me down plus it’s easy and cheap to layer. I know everyone else has covered water and gloves but another thing to watch out for are your ladders and poles. keep and eye out for ice with the ladder and pole work(sorry I had to say it). cover your poles so your hands aren’t touching the cold pole and so your hand or gloves can grip the pole. oh ya…get a good mug for your coffee. Starbucks will run you dry in the winter. hope this helps a little. winter is not so bad once you get into it. stick it out for a week and after that you don’t notice the cold as much.

I try to remember when my accounts will be in the sun during the winter. Morning jobs need the warmth of the sun more than later on in the day when it tends to warm up a bit. Also unheated display case windows will freeze up faster than the rest of the windows.

It is amazing what your body can get used to. And yes layers are key to staying warm in winter.

Last year was my first winter (Toronto, Canada) and WWF did me fine. I remember asking everyone last year how much WWF to use in my water and they all told me [I]‘until there’s enough.’[/I] Hey, it’s true. You just add until you don’t need to. Also start with very cold water.

I’ll reveal my “water warmer” soon. May not work very well for you guys where the tempature is well below freezing as hot water freezes quicker… but I have a way of keeping my water bucket full of warm water even while in the back of the truck.

As for those Arby’s diamond windows… use a squegee that swivels and do straight pulls using a pole. You may have to wipe the blade dry everytime until you’re used to it, but they’re really easy to do.

Located in RI and we go all year. Check out ironclad cold weather gloves and pick the nice days of the week for that route work.

Mark your so right about the mixture of solution and wwf, you just sort of know. id rather have too much than not enough though!

I actually plan a lot of my route around the time of the day the sun will be hitting the windows.
I try not to clean windows in direct sunlight so I certain places I schedule for mornings or later in the after noon. Google Earth is helpful for finding the orientation of buildings. Windows facing directly north will never get receive direct sunlight. Windows facing directly south will always receive sunlight but it will be hitting them at a steep angle (more or less). (Provided you are located north of the tropic of cancer)

This is generally Not True. Hot water Changes Temperature faster (from warmer to colder) than any other temperature of water between the hot water and the ambient temperature. In order to freeze, the hotter water much eventually cool down to reach the same temperature of the cooler water before it then changes temperature further to the point where it freezes. There are very specific instances where hotter water will freeze faster than cooler water but none that any window cleaner would ever have to worry about.

Here ya go! I can’t remember excactly where I got this from, I think it was on NWCD, a guy from Alaska. I haven’t had to use it yet, but when I saw it I saved for a really cold day that I might need it.

S-L-X denatured Alcohol about 2 1/2 gallons to every five gallons of water + a good squeeze of dawn and 1/2 cup ammonia. try it, I work till about 55-60 below.

Since we’re on the topic of winter, I have a question:

Is there a temperature at which I should bring my squeegees inside so the cold doesn’t ruin them? Or will they be O.K.?