If you decide to become a professional window cleaner, you will need to invest in the right equipment. Having top-of-the-line equipment is definitely worth the investment as a professional craftsman of any trade – window cleaning included.
In this article, I will discuss the various squeegees on the market and their proper application. There are many different makes and models of squeegees, each with their own pluses and minuses to take into consideration.
The standard window cleaning for the old-school window cleaner has been a the brass Ettore squeegee. Brass was used because it is rust proof. As squeegees are constantly exposed to water, it was important to have a tool that would not rust.
However, brass is a relatively heavy metal. Later on, the major squeegee manufacturers began making stainless steel handles and channels. Stainless steel is stronger and lighter than the brass and is a definite improvement especially as one gets longer squeegees because the weight starts to add up.
Metal is a very durable material, but it has it’s limitations. For one, when it gets really cold outside metal squeegee handles absorb this cold; nothing is worse than having a freezing cold squeegee. To solve this problem and to make squeegees lighter still, the squeegee manufacturers started making the handles out of very tough and lightweight plastics. These new squeegees are lighter and easier to grip.
Another advancement in squeegee technology has been the use of quick release levers. This allows the window cleaner to slide out the channel and change the rubber without the use of tools. Previously, the window cleaner would have to use a screwdriver to loosen the screws in order to do this. As rubber often needs to be changes fairly frequently, this really is a convenient option.
Still another advance in squeegee technology has been the pivoting squeegee. This is very handy for cleaning windows with a pole as it allows the squeegee to pivot. There are a few pivoting squeegees on the market. The most popular are the Unger Swivel Lock, The Ettore Contour Pro Plus, and the Wagtail.
The Wagtail freely swivels back and forth with very little resistance. This is really a great feature if you are very skillful with the pole as it allows the window cleaner to easily fan the window. However, having too much swivel may be too much to handle for the less experienced window cleaner.
The Unger Swivel Lock has the benefit of being able to adjust the level of tension, thereby, giving the window cleaner the level of swivel they want. It can also be locked into whatever angle in desirable. The Swivel Lock comes in two models, one with the standard 40 degree head and one with a zero degree head/ I find that the zero degree version is the most versatile as it is easier to perform most pole maneuvers with a zero degree squeegee.
The Ettore Contour Pro Plus is in a class all it’s own. It can swivel side-to-side (although not as well as the Swivel Lock or Wagtail) and it can adjust the forward-and-back head angle. So it can be a standard 40 degree squeegee or you can click it into the zero degree position.
Zero degree squeegees are very handy for the window cleaner. It allows them to “close-out” windows with much greater ease (closing out means to go all the way to the edge). This is especially handy for windows with deep mullions or sills. Deeply recessed window may be almost impossible to clean without using a zero degree squeegee. They are also especially helpful for commercial windows with deep ledges.
Another consideration in selecting a squeegee is what size windows you will be using it on. If you plan on cleaning large store front windows, you may want to get a handle that is compatible with wide body aluminum channels. You see, when you want to go over the largest standard size channel (18 inches) you need to get a sturdier channels so that it remains straight and flush. The longer length of 22″ through 40″ can more easily bow if not constructed more rigidly. The wide body aluminum channels (ex. Slayer Channels, and Ettore Super System) are very rigid and lighter than stainless steel. This is important, because when you start going above 18 inches you need to have the squeegee be as light as possible.
If you are planning to be a dedicated storefront window cleaner and you want to do large pieces of glass quickly, you may want to check out Sorbo’s line of extra large squeegees. Using a 30″ squeegee will make quick work of those extra big car dealership windows!