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13 Best Window Cleaning Tools for Window Washing Professionals

May 3, 2024 8 min. read
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When your truck is fully stocked with quality window cleaning tools, you’ll work more efficiently, make fewer mistakes, and impress customers along the way.

Good news: you don’t have to invest in dozens of window washing supplies and expensive equipment. Professional window cleaning only takes a handful of tools that are easy to find at your local hardware store or online.

With recommendations from window cleaning expert and business owner Stephen Richardson (SteveO the Window Cleaner), we’ll help you figure out the best tools for cleaning windows and how to make smart purchases.

Check out Stephen’s favorite window cleaning equipment and product recommendations in this video:

1. T-bars and washer sleeves

A t-bar (also called a window cleaning wand) delivers your cleaning solution to window surfaces. It consists of a rod and a sleeve that you use to apply cleaning solution.

Image of t-bar, a t-shaped window cleaning tool that delivers cleaning solution to window surface.
The Sörbo Swivel T-Bar

Keep different sleeves around for different jobs. Sleeve sizes range from 6 inches (ideal for french window panes) to 24 inches (for storefronts and other large commercial windows).

There are two types of sleeve material to choose from:

  • Microfiber sleeves can hold a lot of water, and usually come with scrub pads on the ends for spots that are harder to clean.
  • Bronze wool sleeves are more effective at getting tough grime off of windows. Just avoid using them on tinted glass—they can damage some types of window tint.

Stephen’s picks: 

If you want a great t-bar, I would definitely suggest the Sorbo t-bar with the Ettore Pro + Microfiber sleeve.

Why? This is going to retain the most water of any sleeve I’ve tried and I’ve tried every sleeve out there.

Stephen Richardson SteveO the Window Cleaner

2. Scrapers and blades

You’ll need a glass scraper particularly for exterior window cleaning to remove thick substances like grime, paint, or dried bird droppings. The sharp, flat blade on a scraper helps you clean without damaging a customer’s window.

Keep a pack of extra blades as replacements. Regular usage can dull the sharpness of a blade, and you need your blades sharp to scrape windows efficiently and safely.

Most scraper blades are made of either carbon steel or stainless steel.

  • Carbon steel blades are slightly thicker and stronger than stainless steel, and can handle heavy-duty scraping better. 
  • Stainless steel blades are safe from corrosion and rusting, unlike carbon steel. Keep these around to remove stickers, paint speckles, hard water spots.

Unger Ergotec Ninja Scraper
Unger Ergotec Ninja Scraper

Stephen’s pick: The 6” Unger Ergotec Ninja Scraper. This scraper includes a holster so you can attach it to your belt and whip it out when needed. It also has an angling head which makes it easy to use with an extension pole.

3. Squeegees

A window squeegee helps you dry off windows after cleaning. It consists of a flat, smooth rubber blade attached to a handle, allowing for streak-free glass cleaning and drying.

Squeegees come with different materials for their handles and channels.

You have a few options for channel and handle materials:

  • Metal channels are more durable and last longer than plastic channels, but plastic is more lightweight, comfortable to use, and affordable.
  • While the weight of brass handles helps you apply more pressure to a window, lightweight aluminum and plastic handles help you clean windows faster with less strain on your wrists.

Since you’ll use more than one squeegee, try one of each and see what feels best for you.

Stephen’s pick: The Unger ErgoTec Ninja channel and handle is comfortable, doesn’t bend, and comes with an easy-to-replace rounded rubber.

The most simple squeegee to buy, the most easy to replace the rubber with is the Unger Ninja Channel and squeegee handle. This squeegee is great for beginners.

4. Extension poles

Extension poles are the best tool for cleaning hard-to-reach windows without ladders or lifts. These poles lock onto your squeegees, t-bars, scrapers, and scrubbers.

Most extension poles are made with ultra-lightweight carbon fiber or aluminum. Look for ones with ergonomic grips, easy locking mechanisms, and replaceable tips.

Unger OptiLoc Extension Pole
Unger OptiLoc Extension Pole

Stephen’s pick: The Unger OptiLoc Extension Pole is the “best bang for your buck to get into small spaces,” says Stephen.

5. Window cleaning solution and buckets

Even for professional window cleaners, a dish soap and water mixture is the most effective cleaning solution out there.

Consumer dish soaps like Dawn or Palmolive can also be used as glass cleaner. They’re great at breaking up grease and will let your squeegee slide smoothly on any window surface. 

Grab a few inexpensive buckets from any hardware store. Purchase one rectangular bucket that’s large enough for your widest t-bar—like the Pulex Bucket.

Pulex Bucket
Pulex Bucket

My biggest suggestion is Pulex Buckets. They come in bright colors, and they’re really safe for commercial or residential jobs because people can see them.

6. Towels

A microfiber cloth or surgical towel are both cheap options for detail cleaning without leaving lint or streaks behind.

A recycled surgical towel
A recycled surgical towel

Keep a few common bath towels in your work truck. If you need to cover floors or decks, you can use bath towels as drop cloths to prevent messes.

Stephen’s picks:

7. Window screen cleaning tools

To clean your customers’ windows inside and out, pick up one of these window screen cleaning tools:

  • Microfiber and cleaning solution. For small home windows, clean screens using a microfiber sleeve or cloth soaked in your window cleaning solution.
  • Pressure washer. On larger or dirtier window screens, use a gentle pressure washer to loosen grit and dust. Make sure the pressure washer is gentle enough to be safe for screens.
  • Professional screen cleaning machine. A screen cleaning machine pushes water through bristles so you can clean screens with less effort. These machines can be pricey, so only use one if you have lots of screens to clean in a short amount of time.

8. Abrasives

For tough stains, like dirt or hard water, that won’t come off with a scraper, you’ll want an abrasive that can tackle the stain without damaging the glass. 

There are three different types of abrasives you can consider:

  • Nylon: Nylon abrasives are great for cleaning a broad range of surfaces, from screens to windows, and ideal for applying stain-removal products.
  • Walnut: Walnut abrasives are made from crushed walnut shells. They’re a gentle abrasive and the perfect option for surfaces where scratching is a concern.
  • Steel wool: Fine-grade steel wool is excellent for cleaning glass and polishing wood, ceramics, or metal, as it cleans effectively without causing scratches. Unlike walnut or nylon abrasives, steel wool abrasives are a one time use.

9. Tool belt or holster

A tool belt helps you carry your most-used tools around the job site. Expensive tool belts aren’t necessary—just find one that’s comfortable and within your budget.

Holsters are a more minimal, lightweight option when you only need to carry one or two window cleaning tools. Try a squeegee holster or a bucket-on-a-belt (BOAB) to keep your most-used tools close at hand.

Stephen uses a carpenter belt from his local hardware store. It’s comfortable on him, has good padding, and was in his price range.

10. Ladders

While extension poles will help keep your feet on the ground for most jobs, there are times you’ll need a ladder to get a good scrub on a tall window.

Cover your bases with a 20-foot Werner extension ladder and a standard 3-foot step ladder. Choose a quality ladder—when it comes to your safety, you can’t cut corners.

Werner 20 ft. aluminum extension ladder
Werner 20 ft. aluminum extension ladder

11. Personal protective equipment

You’re working with chemical solutions and often at dangerous heights. Safety goggles, gloves, and ant-slip shoes are necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) for window washing jobs.

  • Safety goggles with anti-fog lenses and a chemical splash vent will protect your eyes from cleaning solutions and debris. They should fit snug on your face without obstructing your vision. The HDX Chemical Splash Impact Goggle is a trusted best-seller.
  • Thick, chemical-resistant nitrile gloves, like these Tronex 9662 gloves, are your best bet for keeping your hands safe and clean.
  • Neoprene or nylon gloves are must-haves in colder weather. Make sure they have waterproof, fleece-lined material to keep your hands warm and dry. They should also offer good fingertip grip, like the Youngstown Winter Plus Glove.
  • Anti-slip shoes: Many shoe brands sell slip-resistant work shoes, so choose what’s in your budget and what’s comfortable. Or, buy skid-resistant shoe covers to wear on top of your current work shoes.

12. Safety harness

When working on roofs or high rises, secure yourself in a harness to prevent falls and injury. Make sure to choose a harness that’s comfortable to wear for the length of your typical cleaning jobs.

Tractel Phoenix T5 Harness
The Tractel Phoenix T5 Harness

Look for harnesses with:

  • Padding on the shoulder straps, waist belts, and leg loops
  • Nylon, polyester webbing, or a blend of both materials
  • Multiple attachment points for lanyards, lifelines, and tools

Stephen’s picks: 

13. Window cleaning software

Window cleaning software like Jobber helps professional window cleaners create professional quotes, track job details, and efficiently schedule and dispatch crew members.

Window cleaning quote in Jobber with optional line items for pressure washing and screen cleaning

Using Jobber, you can win bigger jobs by suggesting additional services like screen cleaning, gutter cleaning, or pressure washing.

Once the quote is approved, instantly generate the fastest, most fuel-efficient routes so you can cut transit time and fit more work into your day. 

Have a listen to David Moerman, owner of exterior cleaning company Revive Services, speak about how different running his business was before and after Jobber.

Jobber also helps you easily manage job details on the go. Through custom job forms, you can keep important information—like the number of windows that need cleaning, roof pitch, and photos—available at your fingertips so you can complete visits without problems.

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