Sometimes time moves by so fast, I blink, and we go from those semi-humid days where the thick clouds rolling in off Lake Erie tell us the lightning storms are coming. Announcing that Fall is about to arrive, about to make the changes that find us gazing off into the tree line, the bursts of color, the skyline popping with blasts of reds and oranges, hints of green pine here and there. These shades turn to brown, then the wind kicks up and takes them all away, leaving us with a landscape prepared to accept the coming snows.

It seems like yesterday we were scheduling around the lightning, taking great care to make sure we moved about our work safely.


A storm off of Lake Erie outside of Cleveland, Ohio, can pop up, come in fast, come out of nowhere.


We learn to know the signs and keep one eye on the sky when we are up on the ladders or hoisting up a water-fed pole. Now, the naked trees show us a reality, soon the bitter winds off the frozen lake will cool us down, chill us deeply, to the bone, yet we will continue cleaning windows until that wind blows the temperatures down well below zero. It is not uncommon for us to go out at -15 with wind chill, clean away as if it was just another day. We head out when it gets a little colder. We get down towards -20 with that wind chill. You better believe we start to feel that faster! The coldest I have ever gone out in my 40 years out in the field of work has been -35 with the wind chill, a bitter day I will not forget, and even though that day was the coldest day I have ever spent outside cleaning windows, it was a good day to clean windows.

Credit: Mark Tanner

For me, there is something about winter window cleaning. I look forward to it each season. The cold can be a tad bothersome, but what nature provides more than makes up for the short period of time we endure these cold conditions.  Our work region includes a system of valleys, rivers, Lake Erie. We have an abundance of wildlife that comes out in the winter, scavenging, prancing about when we work the early morning hours before most life has begun, well before everyone else wakes up, the fresh blanket of snow covering the entire city. All of life as we see it, each new day after a snowfall, such a clean feeling when everything is covered, and the silence of the early-morning world can be so peaceful, softened by the snow.


One of my other favorite parts leading into winter season is switching over our tools and technology.


Our truck is emptied, everything is cleaned and organized, then we set the truck up for the winter run! We use our water-fed/filtration all year round. As long as it is not freezing, we run the systems! If it is freezing, we run traditional! Preparing for winter can be a bit of a task at first, but once things are organized and a flow is established, it can be easy and fun, but we also know that we must stay safe out there. Make sure to properly dress, get in the truck, and warm up when needed. We do not schedule a full schedule. Most window cleaners know what it is to maintain store-fronts, route work during the colder months, and some of us, as crazy as we are, roll out a little harder, we get on the residential work, set up ladders in the snow, pole 3rd-floor windows from 3’ snowdrifts. We find ways to make our work fun, enjoyable. 


I remember back to when I was a child, the famous “Blizzard of 1978”, Cleveland, Ohio got hit, snowdrifts 20’ high, covering everything.


It took several hours to dig out the door to get in and out of the house. We had to climb out the roof and work our way down from there to get to the ground level. It was a two-day storm with driving wind, chilling wind, and snow on top of the snow! Like any window cleaner back then, my dad was concerned, when and how would we get back to work? Well, that did not matter much, as things got cleaned up, the city was a mess, the windows had been covered for several days in snowdrifts, once everything got cleared up, every plate of glass pretty much got cleaned up! My dad and his partner set out to get all the store-fronts on the route taken care of, which was just about our whole town at that time. 

Winter window cleaning can be rough, tough, it can be hard and trying at times, but there is a side that can be fun, enjoyable. There is beauty out there in the nature and surroundings around us when we are out there on a snowy day—having an amount of passion, a love for your work, the proper tools and technology, and methods for the winter season. A window cleaner can maintain clients during this season, continue to earn, and still keep a pace that finds them with plenty of time off to rest up for the next season of window cleaning fun!


Craig Hendzel

Lakewood Window Cleaning LLC


“Quality you expect…quality you deserve…since 1935”