The first thing to understand (and explain to a potential customer) is that the water-fed pole system is like any other tool. It has to be used properly, by a skilled user, with the right technique. Contrary to the seemingly popular belief of many, you cannot just rub a window with pure water, get it a bit wet and leave it to dry with perfect finish.
It’s no different to traditional window cleaning methods – if you use a squeegee the wrong way round, with worn out rubber or forget to dry your edges with a scrim, you get a bad finish. It doesn’t mean traditional cleaning methods don’t work. It’s down to the operator.
Luckily for us, learning to use a water fed pole properly is not rocket science. When taught well, an inexperienced operator can become competent in a day or two.
On that basis – here’s a low-down on how to use a water fed pole correctly, that will ensure you get the streak free finish that you promised your customer
Start at the highest windows first if possible – or at least bear in mind that any dirt you clean off higher windows will likely run on to the ones below.
Set your water fed pole at the correct height to comfortably reach the top of the window frame without stretching.
Start, not at the top of the window, but at the top corner of the frame (there are exceptions to this – see below)
Thoroughly clean the top part of the frame – this prevents any dirt running off the frame onto a clean window after you’re gone (one of the most common causes of failure)
Then move onto the window – work methodically brushing the entire window pane at least twice (and more for seriously soiled windows) applying enough pressure to clean it and not just tickle it.
Use your eyes – if there are still marks on the window e.g. Bird poo, soak it well, and come back to it after another window and give it another scrub – 9 times out of 10 this will rid bird poo from the glass. Rarely, if it’s still not coming off you may need to investigate further, is it paint or something that needs the use of a blade to remove?
When you are satisfied, you need to pull your brush back from the glass, and use the streams of pure water to rinse the window thoroughly, starting at the top corner and working down. You must ensure that the water you leave on the window is pure, and that the once pure water now contaminated with dirt is completely gone.
If you’ve agreed to clean the sills, do so with the bottom of your brush. This is easier with a sill brush (which personally I always use anyway). You’re usually working blind at this point so be thorough & methodical.
If there are vents in the window frame above the window or above the frame, avoid getting these wet at all costs. These are usually full of dirt, and easy to fill up with water. You’ll find they leak dirty water down your window long after you’ve gone. Be aware that older wooden frames that have been painted (most commonly white) tend to release a cloudy residue when wet, again affecting your finish. Avoid getting the frame too wet where possible OR make sure to provide extra rinse to windows with this problem. You can test if a frame is likely to have this problem by rubbing a dry finger along the wood – if you’re left with a white finger you can bet this will happen. You get a similar problem with Aluminium frames as they oxidise.
Be careful with both brush and water pressure on ‘real’ old fashioned lead light windows (This does not apply to newer, fake ones). The individual panes are easy to crack and expensive to replace. They are also about as waterproof as a sieve and you’ll end up with water flowing down the other side of the window – lower your water pressure. This can be a bit of a catch 22 as they require more rinse than normal windows, as the lead oxidises and also gives off a cloudy residue. Be cautious of window frames with flaky paint or rotten wood – a stiff brush can strip the paint off the wood and make a right mess of your brush and the window.