Window cleaning is an awesome occupation. You get to be in a new place every day, enjoying awesome views and unique locations. But the one thing that makes it not so fun is the weather.  Some places are more challenging than others, depending on your location. I live in Ohio, and the spring and summer months are amazing here, and great for window cleaning. Although it gets hot here it’s nothing compared to the heat in Florida, Texas, and Arizona. In my state, and in particular, my service area, on the shores of Lake Erie, the winters can be brutal making window cleaning at times an impossible task. Imagine cleaning windows in the winter in Wisconsin!?! 

Warm weather is every window cleaner’s dream. Who doesn’t love warm weather? The extreme heat, though, can ruin your day if you’re not prepared. Too much soap in your water can be a headache-causing it to flash on the glass. Wetting one window at a time and moving at a snails pace, so you’re confident the windows aren’t streaking from the heat. I tend to use a lighter mix for my solution in the heat. Changing my solution during this time of the year for me is a must, especially when I have to scour or scrape bug poo off windows. The heat just makes it more difficult.  Sweaty, sticky, and annoyed you begin rethinking this window cleaning gig. 

Some things I do to get prepared to clean in the heat, besides using a lighter mix for my solution, is adding less soap and less ammonia (yes, I use ammonia). I tend to make sure to use a stiffer rubber in the heat. I’ve found a stiffer rubber compound in the summer makes things a lot easier. Make sure to stay well hydrated. There’s nothing worse than being dehydrated while working in the heat. The issues you run into from the effects of dehydration can have a huge impact on your body. After repeated bouts of dehydration, I started passing kidney stones which, if you haven’t passed one, it’s definitely something you want to be sure to avoid. Some say the pain is close to giving birth naturally. I’m not sure what having a baby feels like but passing a stone is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy! 

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the sun. Being protected from the sun is paramount. We all know overexposure to the sun can lead to certain types of cancer. I love a big straw hat in the summer. It’s like a shield against the sun’s evil laser-like rays. Sunscreen should also be in your toolbox, and some bug spray to prevent those bugs from nipping at your legs. And don’t forget your wasp and hornet spray. 

The cold. It’s always lurking around the corner in the northern states. There can be just as many, if not more, challenges cleaning glass in cold weather. Not only is it cold, which sucks all by itself, but you are limited in what you can do. It is also a little harder to secure work in the winter months in cold weather climates. Especially residential work. Over the years, I’ve only serviced residential customers a handful of times. So you either do as much work as possible while you can when the warm weather allows it and take the winter off, or you build yourself a nice storefront route that keeps you moving in the winter. I do the latter. I have route work that keeps me busy in the cold.

Customers need their windows cleaned all year round, and that’s where the challenge begins. The cold temperatures create the problem of freezing, and with that comes the added expense of additives to keep your solution from freezing on the glass. Some people use straight methanol, while others, like me, use window washing fluid. I tend to do a 50/50 mix of straight water and window washing fluid for my exterior window cleaning in the winter. I’ve found that the methanol tends to break down faster, and there isn’t much you can do with it once it’s lost its potency.  Window washing fluid also has the other added benefit of keeping your vehicle windows clean. I usually buy it by the case, most often, six one-gallon jugs. I don’t buy the pricey stuff as I’ve found it doesn’t make it less apt to freezing. If you buy the higher-priced stuff because it “protects up to -30 degrees” as opposed to the regular blue fluid that is good up to -20, it doesn’t make much of a difference since you’re most likely going to be adding your favorite soap to it to help get the fingerprints off the glass and help with the glide. Once you’ve added that soap to the fluid, it’s more likely to freeze, so even in the winter, your soap use has to be carefully moderated. Too much soap will cause it to freeze quickly, especially on windy days. 

Just writing this has me second-guessing working in the upcoming cold! Dressing for the cold, however, is a lot easier than for hot weather. You can bust out the long johns, the hat, gloves, and winter boots and be good to go. I was given an awesome tip that I would like to share here from Luke the Window Cleaner. You know those cheap stretchy gloves you see at  Walmart and stores like it? Usually, they come in packs of two or three. These gloves aren’t very good at keeping your hands dry however, adding a pair of disposable surgical gloves over the top of them is quite nice in the cold, allowing you the mobility you used to without gloves but keeping you warm and dry at the same time. I’ve found that using heavier gloves cleaning windows can be a pain, and this has become a very good solution while still protecting me from the elements. Hopefully, anyone cleaning in the winter will also find that tip useful.  

The climates’ differences surely separate many of our experiences within the trade. We all have the common goal of making views better for our customers and providing a good income for ourselves, but the weather makes our experiences vastly different.

Hope everyone has had an amazing summer, and here’s to wishing you all a profitable fall!