by J. Racenstein, www.JRacenstein.com
Window cleaners often think first of working efficiently regardless of the circumstances. The winter cleaning months create some unique cleaning conditions that require product choices that enable them to be efficient and warm.
The first area that you need to consider is that of keeping hands protected from the elements and the water in freezing temperatures. The importance of keeping your hands warm and dry enough to work effectively and safely is paramount to the window cleaner working in winter conditions. Many of the gloves used for outdoor window cleaning are made to be waterproof while offering the utmost freedom of movement of fingers to cleaners.
Neoprene is a synthetic polymer resembling rubber that is resistant to oil, heat and weathering and is commonly used in many weather resistant products including gloves for window cleaning. Many window cleaners opt to use neoprene gloves without liners to give them the best dexterity for finger usage while cleaning, sacrificing the warmth of a liner.
Temperatures dictate which type of glove a cleaner will use. The usage of neoprene only will suffice to temps down to about 20 degrees. Colder temps will necessitate utilizing a liner along with the neoprene.
Often gloves offer curved fingers to reduce fatigue and Velcro wrist straps to keep cold air and water from getting inside the glove. The grip a cleaner will have to grab tools while using gloves is important, thus many winter cleaning gloves offer a non-slip textured palm.
The second area that has to be considered is that of the water. When temps dip below 32 degrees, cleaners are forced to use methanol or other alcohols in their bucket to be able to continue to work outdoors. Not adding alcohol causes the water to freeze when placed on the glass. With the additive, window cleaners are able to get the water on the glass and back off again with a squeegee as they would at other times of the year.
The final area that needs addressing is the clothing in general. Window cleaning requires range of motion, so often times big or bulky clothing will not allow for proper movement. You have to layer your clothing so that the cold temperatures don’t affect your body temperature. Of course, as important as the outer clothing is proper footwear. Well-lined boots that provide protection from wet conditions are crucial.
So with the proper gloves, the right additive in the water and the proper clothing and footwear, one is ready to brave the elements and face the cold weather in winter months.
J Racenstein & Co. (“JRC”) is a preeminent distributor of window washing supplies, tools and equipment in the U.S. JRC has been in the business for over 99
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