Washing exterior windows is no easy task, especially those that are high off the ground and require a ladder. Use the right equipment and techniques to ensure a clean, streak-free finish.

To reduce the likelihood of water spots, wipe the window using an S pattern rather than in straight lines. This allows more surface area to absorb water and minimizes the chance of it air-drying and creating streaks. Read on for some ideas.


While cleaning windows is an important part of maintaining a home or business, the work can be dangerous. Most window cleaners must use ladders and other equipment to reach windows at high elevations. These tools increase the risk of falls and other injuries. A thorough risk assessment must be undertaken to ensure that the job is completed safely.

Ladder safety is particularly important. It is crucial to have a stable ladder and three points of contact at all times and to avoid overreaching. It is also necessary to have a fall protection harness.

The proper clothing, including flame-resistant protective coats, can also help protect against unforeseen hazards. Proper footwear with a good grip can help prevent slippage on slippery surfaces. And personal protective equipment like gloves and masks can help minimize dust and other contaminants from contaminating the clean windows. All of these precautions can significantly reduce the risks associated with cleaning exterior windows.


Professional window cleaners use a variety of tools to scrub, wash, and squeegee windows. Using the right equipment ensures you can clean high windows without risking your safety or damaging the glass.

Start with a squeegee that can be adjusted for different heights. Look for one that’s lightweight, durable, and angled to direct excess water away from frames. Scrub brushes and sponges are great for removing loose dirt in corners and between windows. Look for scrubbers that fit over a pole-mounted squeegee to make cleaning more efficient.

Consider a tool belt or holster to help you keep your tools organized and within easy reach. A quality belt is comfortable and has plenty of pockets for all your gear. A holster is less expensive and can be worn over your shoulders or on the back to free up your hands. Pro Tip: Offer screen cleaning as a simple upselling technique in your quotes! Find a complete set of window cleaning tools at your local hardware store or online.


Before attempting to scrub, rinse exterior windows with the garden hose (close the doors first). This loosens up much of the dirt that would otherwise require scrubbing.

Next, add your cleaning solution to the water. A cost-effective option is to use dish soap, which works well on glass. A homemade solution made from vinegar and water also works well.

Dip a sponge in the solution until it’s fully saturated but not dripping wet. Apply the sponge to the window and work it in a backward S pattern, starting from the left (if you’re right-handed) and moving over the entire surface.

Switch to a squeegee when the window is clean and dry. Wipe the blade on a clean, lint-free cloth in between squeegee strokes to prevent streaking. Consider using an extension pole for high windows, as these are safer than a ladder. They can also accommodate a variety of cleaning heads, including brushes, sponges, and squeegees.


Window cleaning is typically done with a scrub brush or soft-bristled scrubbing pad to remove stubborn dirt or grime from the frame and sill. Occasionally, it’s necessary to loosen sticky residues such as tape or labels by soaking them in a product like Goof Off, which can be found in the paint department of hardware stores and home centers.

Professionals usually use a combination of equal parts vinegar and water in a bucket, but dish soap and even distilled water can also be used as a substitute. After fully saturating a sponge or cloth in the solution, it’s important to wipe off any excess fluid from the surface of the window to avoid leaving unsightly streaks on the glass.

Then it’s time to squeegee the windows. Start at the top left-hand corner of the pane, working in overlapping strokes to prevent any streaking, then rinse your squeegee off with a clean rag. Once it’s dry, wipe the muntins and sill with a clean microfiber cloth. Next article.