how to clean windows

by Marty Burton
(PA)

I wanted to write a blog post here about my experience on learning how to clean windows.


Three years ago I was working a dead end job and had an awful boss that I didn’t want to see anymore. Well, I found a solution to end all that. It all ended because I choose to learn how to clean windows.

It’s kind of funny because it was on a Monday afternoon and I was at work packing some boxes and when I looked up I saw this guy outside cleaning windows. He was wearing a cool looking belt with all his window cleaning tools attached and with his window scrubber and squeegee he was cleaning the windows at lightning speed. It looked like he was having a bit of fun and I wondered if he really liked his window cleaning job. I started thinking - Could I learn how to clean windows? Could I start a window cleaning business of my own?

It just happened to be my two o’clock break so I made a decision to go out and talk to the window cleaner. I introduced myself as Marty the box stuffer and he introduce himself as Mike the window cleaner. I asked him if I could pick his brain about how to clean windows and he said with a big smile on his face he would be glade to answer any question I had. The two main bits of advice he gave me were – “In order to learn how to clean windows properly you need two things. 1- You will need a few quality window cleaning tools and 2 - you will need to learn a few window cleaning techniques and get some practice in”.

Mike told me the best way to start is by researching the internet and suggested that I read everything I could find on the subject of how to clean windows. I decided to do just that but unfortunately, for some reason I didn’t find this site until recently. Anyway, I ordered all the basic window cleaning tools and told my dad I would clean his windows if he let me borrow his (beat up) aluminum 18ft extension ladder and 6 foot step ladder until I could afford to buy my own and he agreed. I drove a 1989 Toyota pick up so naturally this was the vehicle I started out with.

After cleaning my dad’s windows he was so impressed that he told a few of his co-workers. I did three houses for free just to get the practice in and after that I started charging. Each person I cleaned windows for gave me a couple names of their friends. It took about two months and I was cleaning windows on about three or four houses a week all in the evenings after my day job at the shipping plant. All my window cleaning jobs came from word of mouth. I was making about double the money working part time cleaning windows compared to my full time job so I decided to quit.

I am now my own boss, making the money I deserve and I found out I really like providing the service of cleaning windows. My advice for anyone looking for information on how to clean windows or starting a window cleaning business would be to study this site. A lot of the things I learned came from trial and err but I’m sure that if I had the information provided here I could have provided myself some short cuts.

Thanks for letting me post my story. I hope it helps someone get the courage they need to get started because if I can do it anyone can.

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How To Clean Windows
by: Ray Croskrey

Thanks Marty for sharing your experience on how to clean windows. Here is a link to the Brooklyn library I thought you might be interested in. It tells a story about a window cleaner that cleaned windows on the Williamsburgh Savings Bank skyscraper. I don't know the first thing about how to clean windows on a skyscraper but I do have a tun of respect for those that do.

The Loneliness of the Skyscraper Window-Washer


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Learning How To Clean Windows
by: Jason Spenser

Hey Marty - I too am thinking about a window cleaning business. On average - How long do you think it should take for the average guy to learn how to clean windows? I know in your post you said that you cleaned windows on a few houses for free to get practiced up and then a couple of months later you were cleaning windows on a fairly regular basis. Just curious if you are a fast learner or if learning how to clean windows is really that easy to pick up on. And also what do you think was the hardest or most difficult part of learning to clean windows?

Thanks for the info.

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Learning How To Clean Windows
by: Marty Burton

Hi Jason,

Learning how to clean windows the right way does come with a bit of a learning curve but it isn't the hardest thing to learn in the world that is for sure. I know in my post it may seem like I turned instantly into a professional window cleaner but the truth is I did make a lot of mistakes at first. Before I cleaned the windows at my dad's house I practiced for a couple of days on my own window and got used to the feel of the squeegee. Each time I did a window cleaning job I just keep improving. I would say that after the first full summer I was fairly confident to clean most types of windows. Keep in mind that I only do first and second story buildings.

I think the hardest thing when learning how to clean windows is mastering the squeegee with all the different types and styles of windows. Trying to keep it from chattering and leaving marks on the glass is something to be learned. The nice thing though is that you can clean a window over and over until you get it right. Sometimes I had to clean a window over a couple of times, it's just part of the job. Time with lots of practice will make an expert.


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Learning How To Clean Windows
by: Mark Alloy

I love reading your story on how you started your window cleaning business. I learned how to clean windows from my uncle when I was in high school 26 years ago. Worked my tail off through the summers and when I graduated from school my uncle started setting me up with my own window cleaning accounts to manage by myself. It too took me about 2 years to build a full client list of my own with my uncles help. I now run with two employees and mostly do residential work.

Learning how to clean windows I think was a great career choice as I love to work outdoors while getting to interact with different people each day. The money is great for the work and I love owning my own window cleaning business and would not trade it for anything.

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