Your home's exterior isn't really clean until you have sparkling, crystal-clear windows. Dirty windows detract from your home's outer beauty, so it is worthwhile to keep them clean. However, using spray glass cleaners and paper towels is slow and hard on your hands. Instead, you should purchase a few quality window cleaning tools that will make the job fast and easy; the tools will last a long time, and you will find yourself cleaning your windows more often since the job is less taxing. Below are a few of the most important tools you should have in your window-cleaning arsenal:
T-bar and sleeve
T-bars, which are named after the tool's resemblance to a letter "T", are designed to hold sleeves, the cleaning implements used to scrub the glass. A typical T-bar consists of a handle that usually is hollow and threaded to fit extension poles, along with a crosspiece that is attached to the sleeve.
T-bars come in several configurations and are made from a variety of materials, and it is helpful for homeowners to choose a design with comfort in mind. For example, some T-bars are manufactured with ergonomically designed handles that are less tiring to grip and hold. In addition, keep in mind that aluminum crosspieces will be easier to maneuver in overhead use due to their lightweight construction.
As for sleeves, there are also a number of options for homeowners. Some are made from extremely absorbent materials that can "carry" a lot of liquid to the windows, while others are designed to prevent dripping. Additionally, sleeves are often manufactured with extra features, such as attached scouring strips for use in scrubbing stubborn spots. If you are working exclusively outdoors with your window cleaning tools, then keep in mind that sleeves able to transfer a higher volume of liquid to windows are preferred for amateurs. This will help prevent premature drying and spotting of windows.
Squeegees are used to strip away the dirty window cleaning solution after scrubbing is complete. The proper use of a squeegee takes a little practice, but it is an art worth learning; you can rapidly wash and squeegee windows as opposed to spraying and wiping with a cloth.
Quality window-washing squeegees are assembled in three parts, each of which can be purchased separately if desired:
Handle - As with T-bars, squeegee handles are typically hollow inside, so they can be attached to poles when desired. Try to find a handle with a comfortable, non-fatiguing grip.
Channel - This component is a cross piece that slides into the squeegee handle; its purpose is to grasp the rubber blade, and it can be constructed from plastic or metal. Channels are made in different lengths, depending upon the preference of the buyer and the tasks at hand. Typically, the smaller the window, the more preferable to use a shorter channel.
Rubber blade - This last component is the rubber strip that slides into the squeegee channel. The blade is important, as it is the only part of the squeegee that touches the glass. Blades should be kept clean and replaced as needed to maintain the cleanest windows possible.
You will need a container to hold your window cleaning solution, and while any large bucket will do, there is a better option. A rectangular bucket is preferred by many professional window cleaners, and you will benefit from one, as well. These elongated buckets are able to handle a wide T-bar without awkward maneuvering, and they also often come with accessories such as bucket lids T-bar rests. Purchase a bucket with a sturdy handle to make maneuvering easier.
Towels are critical to the window cleaner due to their use for wiping down dirty squeegee blades, and they also are handy for drying your hands, wiping window sills and a variety of other tasks. One of the best options available is to use surgical towels. These towels, which usually come in a pale blue shade, are used within hospital settings due to their absorbency and lint-free characteristics. Surgical towels are sold new, but you can also purchase reconditioned towels for a reasonable cost.
While the above tools are sufficient to get you started and will provide excellent results, you may wish to add a few other tools as your window cleaning skills progress. Here are a couple of other tools to consider:
Scraper - This device consists of a handle and steel blade that is used for removing stubborn deposits such as paint, sap or bird droppings.
Pole - An extension pole permits you to reach higher windows without the use of a ladder, but keep in mind that using a pole requires proficiency with your tools. Squeegee work with a pole, especially, can be challenging to a beginner, so be sure to practice first before attempting to use a pole.
If you don't have the time or money to invest in these tools right away, consider working with a home window washing company in the meantime to keep your windows sparkling clean.