5 window cleaning FAQs: get your building summer ready

We certainly had ups and downs with the weather this spring, and we’re not yet sure whether summer will be another record breaker. Whatever happens, footfall increases at many commercial premises with warmer weather. That means you want them to be looking at their best for all your customers. You should also consider how severe winter weather may have affected the exterior of your building. So now’s the time to get your windows and cladding clean. And you can do it all with Fidelis, thanks to our in-house expertise and our position in the REACT Group of companies. In this blog, we give you a refresher on window cleaning and cladding cleaning by answering 5 frequently asked questions.

You don’t have to climb ladders to clean windows

Our main method of window cleaning is known as ‘Reach and Wash’, using water-fed pole technology. Traditional methods of window cleaning have their drawbacks, particularly for taller buildings. Alternative ‘ladder-free’ window cleaning methods established themselves in the early 2000s, driven in part by new legislation (notably The Work at Height Directive 2005). Operated from the ground, Reach and Wash uses soft brushes mounted on telescopic poles to scrub off the dirt while jets of eco-friendly deionized water rinse the surface. As it’s pure water, this dries to a spot-free finish. And as well as windows, this can be used to clean cladding too.

Reach and Wash has become the preferred methodology for window cleaning services at a range of commercial premises, including schools, hotels, car dealerships, and nursing homes. But where appropriate, we can also provide other methods for cleaning windows and cladding. That may be traditional window cleaning using a squeegee and blade at ground level, or it may involve using mobile elevated working platforms and window cleaning via abseiling/rope access.

We have our own in-house expertise when it comes to window cleaning and cladding cleaning. But we also now have access to a huge network of window cleaners through LaddersFree, our sister company within the REACT Group of specialist cleaning companies.

Answering 5 FAQs about window cleaning

For something that should be transparent, we know many of our clients have concerns around health, safety, and sustainability when it comes to window cleaning. So here we answer some window cleaning FAQs.

1. Why is window cleaning important, and how can I make cleaning worth it?

Whatever the building, it’s always worth thinking about cleaning windows. Clean windows provide more light into a building and give a more pleasant outlook. At retail premises, they help promote product display, while in hospitality, they signal an attention to detail in customer service. And it’s well worth cleaning your windows as part of your planned preventive maintenance schedule. Ensuring windows are kept clean can help prevent long-term damage and deterioration to the glazing, seals, and frames.

What’s more, if you get the cleaning method right, you can even limit the number of visits you need from your window cleaners. Cleaning windows using pure water leaves a clear film on the windows preventing dust, dirt, and grime attracting to the window as quickly. This helps windows stay cleaner for longer.

2. What is the safest way to clean windows at height?

Firstly of course, it depends on the height at which you need the windows cleaned. For buildings of up to 24 metres (80 feet or 7-8 storeys), the safest way to clean windows at height is using an extension or telescopic pole with a squeegee and blade or using a water fed pole system. The water fed pole system enables the operative to clean windows while operating the pole safely from ground level, negating any risk involved when working at height.

There are other solutions to working at height. For example, can the windows tilt and turn and therefore be cleaned safely from inside? There are also various double-sided magnetic window cleaning tools on the market that enable you to clean the outside of a window from inside. However, we’d advise that these solutions don’t always get good results.

Buildings above 80 feet will require window cleaning using Mobile Elevated Working Platforms (MEWP) or abseiling/rope access. Mobile access equipment (often called a ‘cherry-picker’) requires operatives to have IPAF training, and you will require a thorough risk assessment. As for rope access, it’s recommended to have IRATA training to the level required. Within the REACT Group, our sister company LaddersFree has the expertise and training to deliver rope access window cleaning.

3. Can window cleaners still use ladders?

The short answer is yes. It’s not illegal to use ladders; however, there are certain restrictions under the Working at Height Directive produced by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). If there is a safer alternative method available, then that should be the first choice. It is the responsibility of the building owners and managers to ensure that they have a safe working method in place. For example, any ladders in use must be tied safely at the top and footed/secured at the bottom to prevent the risk of slips, trips, and falls. For the best results, we’d definitely recommend other methods.

4. Can window cleaning scratch windows?

If the window cleaner doesn’t take sufficient care, then this can potentially happen. For example, a squeegee or brush head of a water-fed pole may collect grit from being placed or dropped outside on the floor, and it will require thorough washing before use on a window. Alternatively, if a metal scraper is used on windows that have a tinted vinyl finish, this can cause scratches. However, this isn’t a problem you should have concerns about when you deploy Fidelis, LaddersFree, or any of the REACT Group companies.

5. Can window cleaners work in a hosepipe ban?

This would depend on any restrictions set out by the local water supplier during drought conditions. In the past, water usage restrictions have prevented you from using a hosepipe to clean your windows at home. However, such domestic use restrictions do not usually affect commercial window cleaning. Who knows what the summer weather will be like – but we’re on hand to keep windows clean.

To find out more about Fidelis Group and our window cleaning and cladding cleaning services , contact one of the team today.

  • Telephone: 0845 431 0382  |  0121 289 3258
  • Email: info@fidelisgroup.co.uk
  • Website: www.fidelisgroup.co.uk

Post by Chris Ryan

Chris is Commercial Manager at Fidelis Group, a business which stays true to providing cleaning and related property services to the commercial and industrial sector. Having joined Fidelis in March 2022, Chris has a strong management background in FM and cleaning services. He works to help Fidelis become a partner of choice within the commercial and industrial cleaning sector.

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