Have you ever watched a professional window cleaner use a squeegee and thought, Wow!
Now you can be just as proficient and lightning-quick as the experts with your window squeegee in hand. You’ll learn all of the squeegee secrets, and more. Here we go…
First we need make our window cleaning solution. Add a small amount of Squeegee Wash detergent concentrate to a half filled window cleaning bucket of water. Add just enough detergent so the solution is a little slippery to touch.
Next it’s time the wash the glass. Dip the window washer into the bucket. You don’t want drips so squeeze any excess liquid out of the washer. In a circular motion wash the glass. Do not over wet the glass and try to keep the frames as dry as possible.
Now the fun part. It’s time to squeegee. Before we talk windows squeegee technique lets cover our bases...
1. The important parts of the window squeegee are...
a. Squeegee Rubber
This is where the rubber meets the road (or glass in this case).
b. Squeegee Channel
Holds the squeegee rubber.
c. Squeegee Handle
Holds the squeegee channel.
d. Squeegee Quick Release
The mechanism on the squeegee handle which releases the channel from it. This mechanism is different, depending on the model of squeegee you choose. Certain varieties do not have this feature.
e. Squeegee Swivel
The part of the handle which allows your squeegee to swivel. There is a fitting which adjusts how firm or loose this swivel will be.
f. Squeegee Clip
On some channels, these clips hold the squeegee rubber in place.
2. Some precautions before cleaning with a window squeegee
• Always inspect your window squeegee before using it. When you run your finger down the edges of the rubber, it should feel perfectly straight from one end to the other. Not wavy, stretched, or too tight.
• The smallest nick in the rubber’s edge will cause streaks. If the nick is only on one edge, you can pull the rubber out of the squeegee and use the sharper edge.
• Ensure that the rubber is hanging out from both ends of the squeegee channel by about half a centimeter or 5mm. This helps prevents any damage to window frames, painted surfaces, edges, etc.
• Finally, check that your squeegee channel is straight and not bent or bowed.
Change your squeegee rubber often. For best results, use a new window squeegee rubber after 4 to 6 hours of continual use.
3. How to hold a window squeegee
The key is to relax and just let the window squeegee sit in your hand. Relax your wrist, arm, and shoulder too. Simply resting the squeegee on the glass should be all the pressure it needs to do a great job. Being tight and tense will tire you out quickly. You may also end up applying more pressure on the glass than required. If you find that more pressure needs to be applied, it is probably time to replace your squeegee rubber. Most professional window cleaners change rubbers after 4-6 hours of use.
Gently grip the squeegee.
4. Window squeegee technique and principles
a. What’s your base distance or base angle?
The base distance or base angle refers to the position of the squeegee to the glass surface. The base distance is measured between the end of the handle and the surface. Take a look when you hold the squeegee on the glass... the correct distance is just under 7 centimetres. That means, if you hold the squeegee at the correct angle and extend your little finger, it will not quite touch the surface.
If the base distance is too small, say 5cm or below, it may cause streaking and slow you down. And when your base distance is 9cm or above, you may feel the squeegee jump or shudder, which will leave moisture on the glass. That’s not good either.
Whether you are cleaning across, top to bottom, with an extension pole, or using an advanced technique like the fanning method, concentrate on a consistent base distance and you will find window cleaning much easier and far less frustrating. Keep the correct base distance at all times. This ensures that the sharp edge of the squeegee rubber will be used, which leads to faster cleaning and better, streak-free results.
To test your skill at keeping the same base distance while working, take note of the base distance when you start a pass and then take note of the base angle when you finish that pass. Is it the same? The goal is to ensure that it is.
b. Cutting the edge and creating a dry zone
Window cleaning works best when we can place a dry squeegee onto dry glass and then move it across the wet area of the window. When we wet the frames, you will see what some describe as window crying, or water travelling out from the frames as you begin squeegeeing the window.
To prevent this, we can ‘cut the edge’. This can be done with a cloth, or with practice, the edge of the squeegee. We only ever dry about a 1cm-2cm area along the top of the frame and the left hand side of the frame (that’s if you are right handed working from left to right). By separating the frame from the majority of the moisture you create a dry zone or a starting point to begin cleaning. This vastly reduces the crying effect around window frames.
c. Cleaning across the window
Cleaning across the window is our preferred method. It may not always be practical, but there are certain advantages:
• Easier for you to keep your base distance and squeegee position consistently correct
• Helps you to control the squeegee better
• Helps the moisture to fall evenly down the glass
• Makes it easier to catch the falling water before it hits the bottom frame.
5. Let’s do it. Now it’s time to squeegee like a pro
After washing your window, ‘cut the edge’ all the way along the top and left hand side of the frame.
Place your squeegee on the dry part of the glass, on the top left of the window frame.
With very little pressure, gently glide the squeegee all the way from the top left to top right of the window without stopping. Make sure the top edge of the squeegee is positioned slightly forward to help guide the moisture down the glass. That means when you get to the other side of the window the top edge should touch the right hand side first. Remember to keep your 7cm base distance all the time.
When you reach the other side, pull the handle up slightly, bringing the squeegee rubber into the edge of the frame.
Remove the squeegee from the glass and gently wipe the moisture from its rubber with a cloth.
Now repeat the process overlapping each pass by 3-4 centimeters.
After cleaning the surface, if there is some moisture that remains on the sides or edges, give it a quick wipe with your lint free cloth (microfiber works great) before moving to the next window. Some rags and cloths are not suitable, so test a few out to find which one works best.
Can you squeegee across and down on the same window?
Absolutely yes. It can be difficult sometimes to squeegee the whole window across because of the width or frame of the glass. It’s all about the results in the end.
Handy hints for cleaning windows
1. Reduce the mess with the washer in your left hand
You can hold your window washer directly under your squeegee to catch the water dripping off it. This is especially recommended when cleaning windows inside to reduce potential drips and mess.
2. No pressure
When you start to clean, it is always hard to know how much pressure you should apply on the window with the squeegee. You hardly need any.
To convince yourself, wet the glass and then do your first squeegee pass with gentle pressure. Then do your second pass with half that pressure. Then do the next stroke with even less pressure and observe the results. Which pass looks best? If the squeegee rubber is in good condition, it is nearly always the third pass.
3. Wipe as you go
When ledges are not wiped down immediately, staining may occur. That’s why it’s best to get into the habit of wiping up as you go, it will save a lot of time in the end.
4. Reach higher without an extension pole
When the top of the window is just out of reach, activate the quick release feature on your squeegee handle (if you have one), and slide the handle to the far left hand side of the squeegee channel (if you are right handed). By doing this, you can increase your reach without having to use an extension pole.
5. Cleaning glass that is warm or hot
If you’re cleaning glass that is warm, you will need to use more water.
6. The ‘fanning’ method
The ‘fanning’ technique is a lightning-quick cleaning technique that requires practice to master. It is best learnt in a practical setting and is not covered in this training information.
Practice makes perfect
Improve your cleaning speed with these two simple exercises:
1. As you move the squeegee across the glass, change the distance of the handle to the glass and play with this. Then on the next stroke, keep the base distance the same all the way. Keeping the base distance will reduce streaking.
2. Now squeegee across using different amounts of pressure. First squeegee across with normal pressure, then squeegee with half pressure, then squeegee with even less pressure. Did less pressure work better? And remember to wipe the edges.
Self squeegee test
Test your squeegee know-how with this quick pop quiz:
• Why is the base distance of the window squeegee so important?
• How tight should you hold the handle of the squeegee?
• What is the right amount of pressure to use with a squeegee on glass?
• Is creating a dry zone and cleaning from dry to wet essential?
• How do you avoid streaking on a window when you use a squeegee?
• Is it easier to squeegee across or down the window?
We’d love to hear any tips or tricks you’ve found successful when squeegeeing windows. Get in touch with your thoughts, ideas and experiences. We really appreciate all the feedback we get.
Feel free to call our customer care team on 1300 123 499, if you require any help or advice on window cleaning squeegees and equipment. For more information you can also visit the XO2 window cleaning squeegee online store.