UK Window Cleaning Tools & Equipment

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Water fed pole brushes

What water fed pole brush?

There has been a lot of talk lately about water fed pole brushes, and what ones are best.

Let me start by clarifying one thing, the most popularly used is not necessary the best. A while ago there was a certain brush manufacturer that caught on to the fact that the reach and wash system and water fed poles in general were gaining popularity among window cleaners, and quite rightly got in on the act. They realised their was big business and started promoting their car washing brushes at trade shows etc, and offering good deals to water fed pole suppliers. They even made some changes to the brush to make them more water fed pole friendly, trouble is they forgot about two main factors that overwhelmingly effected the cleaning power of the brush. Firstly the density of the bristles, their brush is far too dense and this restricts the flow of dirty water passing through the bristles, and working its way down and off the glass. Secondly the bristles were splayed at the ends to make them softer for car paintwork, as glass is a hard surface this was not necessary for a window cleaning brush, it had a negative effect and trapped dirt particles, again restricting the easy passage of dirty water through the brush and down to the bottom of the glass. These two factors although not the only disadvantages makes the most widely used water fed pole brush a nightmare to use.

How did the average window cleaner not notice this? They were supplied with the brush from their supplier, they didn't know any better, after all if you pay good money for a window cleaning system you would expect to be supplied with the best equipment to do the job it was designed to do. Trouble is most of the water fed pole suppliers have never cleaned a window in their life, they picked up on a brush that was being heavily promoted, got a good deal and the rest is history. The window cleaner got round the defects on the brush by brushing the window and then lifting the brush off the glass to give it a final rinse, which is both time consuming and a much higher water consumption over the course of the day.

There is another couple of disadvantages with the brush I am talking about. The weight of the brush, and the shape of the bristles. Again the clever window cleaners has compensated for the weight by using a much smaller brush, the size of the brush brings the weight down considerably, only problem with that is again more time wasted covering the glass with the smaller brush, and again more water wasted as you are on the glass longer. Next there is the shape of the bristles, they are straight. If they were slightly crinkled it would serve as a more aggressive cleaner, as there is a more abrasive contact on any dirt sticking to the glass. Slightly elongated bristles servers the same purpose allowing the bristles to splay more and would allow the non splayed tips of the bristles to come in contact with the dirt. This would also allow for faster cleaning, which in turn reduces water usage.

The funny thing about all this is I have had customers of mines changing from the brush I supply which has none of the disadvantages of the above brush, to one of the disadvantaged brushes. Why? simply because they have been told by other window cleaners that the brush they use is not a water fed pole brush, and that they have to change over to the disadvantage brush that they use. Its not all bad though, these helpful chaps sometimes show them some new exciting ways to get a spot free finish on the glass, they show them how to take the brush off the glass and give it a final rinse, and how to waste time and water into the bargain.

Peter Fogwill

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

How much water do I need for a days window cleaning

This question seems to be the most read posting on the water fed pole board on the window cleaning forum. The answer is a hard one, and I usually tell prospective customers who ask, "it depends on how fast a worker you are". A slow worker on a fast water flow will waste quite a bit of water over the day, whereas a fast worker on a slow water flow will waste a lot of time in the day, as he will be waiting around for the window to have enough water passed over it to wash the window properly.

It also depends on what type of windows you will be cleaning, domestic or commercial. Domestic uses less water as the pole is being heightened and lowered more than in commercial. Another thing that will determine water usage is the type of jets you use, fan spays will use less water than pencil jets as they make better use of the watter spraying water under more pressure to the very edges of the glass. Last but not least is the way you turn the water on and off while working. If you have to keep stopping what your doing to turn the water off between windows you will tend to keep the water running between windows, this tends to waste a lot of water in the day. I developed a system of stopping the water easily at the brush to save such water, it can be seen at

Its only when you get into the swing of things and find out what settings are best for you, will you find out how much water you personally will need.

Peter Fogwill

Monday, February 13, 2006

Reach and Wash window cleaning

A new water fed pole water treatment system will be on the market shortly from the makers of the Reach and Wash system. Seemingly the water purification system has no waste water, and with all the talk recently about water shortages in the south of England, this really would save quite a bit of water for the window cleaner.

I have been told that the waste water coming from the Reverse Osmosis membranes passes through another type of filter and back into the Reverse Osmosis. The downside is the cost of the replacement filters seemingly they are quite expensive.

Peter Fogwill

Monday, February 06, 2006

Window Cleaning problems on the south coast with water shortages

Window cleaners have been discussing hose pipe bans in the south of England which could come into force this summer due to very little rain fall lately. They are worried that the only water supply could come from a central stand pipe in the street, which would mean obviously water purification with their reverse osmosis systems would be impossible.

It is not all doom and gloom, they have long poles and could make good use of them. For around three or four years before I personally got into water fed poles I used the same poles I use now for window cleaning with pure water, to clean windows up to 3 storeys with an applicator and squeegee on the top of the pole.

It takes some practice and patience, but very good results can be achieved with this method. I am sure customers would understand if the windows were not perfect for a couple of weeks while they perfected their techniques with a squeegee on the pole, especially when they realise the normal amounts of water usage in these circumstances would be impossible.

If you live on the south coast of England why not try a squeegee on top of you pole and get some practice in now, and in the event of a hosepipe ban you will be prepared.

Peter Fogwill

Window cleaning with pure water

Someone asked on the forum yesterday if the windows would need cleaned more frequently if they were done with a water fed pole as opposed to traditional window cleaning methods. The opposite is true, the windows will stay cleaner a lot longer when done with pure water as there will be no soap film left behind.

Next time you clean windows with soap and a squeegee wet your finger and rub your finger across the glass. What you will see is the residue soap film. Because the pure water leaves the window without this soap film, the rain which is pretty pure will have nothing to mix with, hence leaving the windows spotless even after a heavy shower.


Friday, February 03, 2006

What window cleaning products

Nearly everything out there on the market for window cleaners works fine.

I remember about 10 years ago having problems with Ettore rubbers, certain batches of them were inferior quality and left streaks on the glass due to the water passing from the back of the rubber onto the glass. The way I worked it caused major problems and cost me a lot of time. On the other hand one of the biggest window cleaning companies in the USA never had any problems with the same rubber, not because their rubber didn't have the same faults but because they trained their window cleaners to run a cloth along the squeegee after every window. I could have done the same thing but imagine the time it would cost over the day. It cost their workers time as well, but it didn't bother them as they didn't know any better.

What was happening is there was a wobble in their cutting tool, and some of the rubbers were slightly narrower in places. These narrow parts were allowing the water to pass from the back of the squeegee on to the glass.

I did tell Ettore about the problem, but because the big USA window cleaning company didn't notice the problem they were not interested. I ended up changing to Pulex rubbers and never used anything else since.

The moral of the above storey is there are lots of different products all doing the same thing, you just have to try out different things until you find whats best for you. Always look for better products and better ways of using them.

Peter Fogwill

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Introducing the new Autobrush As you will no doubt be aware with the increasing use of water fed poles in the window cleaning industry, we will undoubtedly have an environmental effect on our water supply. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water will be wasted each day when the window cleaner is moving from window to window, and more so when the pole is being lowered or heightened.. The AutoBrush will save all this wasted water, as it only lets the water pass through the brush when the brush is in contact with the window. No window cleaning, no spraying. Battery power will also be saved with the AutoBrush, as in most cases the pump will be idle when the brush is not cleaning the window.