Squeegee Vs. Pure Water: What's the Best Window Cleaning Tool

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I just saw a mail out from a window cleaning company advertising that they exclusively use squeegees, which they promise results in a longer lasting and deeper cleaning than a Pure Water Cleaning system. There’s some suspicion floating around the internet about these new-fangled water fed pole systems. I have objections.


If anyone is skeptical about Pure Water Cleaning’s effectiveness, it’s because of encounters with bad cleaners, not bad tools.

Demystifying Window Cleaning

At 8 years old I was a master with Windex and Paper Towel. In talking to customers I’ve heard a lot of tales of the perfect window cleaning tools: Norwex cloths, Vinegar and Newspaper, or ammonia and prefold diapers (laundered of course). Someone who knows what they’re doing can likely get great results with any one of those processes. Someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing can make any of them look ineffective.


All window cleaning techniques are essentially the same. One wets the window with water, agitates the grime to bring it into solution (possibly using some additive to the water to make this easier), then gets all the dirty water off the window, leaving behind clean glass. That’s it. There’s no magic ingredient. 



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A window can be cleaned with Windex and a Paper Towel just fine. Spray the window (the ammonia starts to break up dirt), then buff it dry with a paper towel. The paper towel agitates stubborn dirt into the cleaning fluid and absorbs it off the window. Any streakiness left behind comes from unabsorbed moisture that evaporates leaving dirt. It can be done well! The reason you probably won’t see this technique if you’re hiring window cleaners is it can take a lot of elbow grease, a lot of paper towel, and a lot of time to clean a house this way.


Windex and Paper Towel isn’t a bad tool for getting windows clean; it’s a bad tool for getting windows clean quickly.

Most pro window cleaners use a mop and squeegee and/or a pure water cleaning system. With one tool we agitate dirt into solution with a mop full of soapy water, and get all the dirty water off the window by sluicing it off with a rubber bladed squeegee.  With the other we agitate dirt into solution with a brush and purified water, and get all the dirty water off the window by rinsing it off with more purified water. 

The Right Tool For the Job

Poor results can be had with either mop and squeegee or a pure water cleaning system, but those results are caused by poorly maintained equipment or a lack of user skill, not an inherent flaw in the tools. There are however some unique benefits and drawbacks to each tool set that may make one or the other better for a given application.

Comparison chart of squeegee versus water fed pure water window cleaning

Working safely and getting great results for my customers are my biggest concerns on any site. I love my Pure Water Cleaning system. I have customers who love it; customers have asked me to do their ground floor windows with it because they say the windows stay clean longer than with squeegee window cleaning. 

Where Suspicion about Pure Water Comes From


So what is the company behind this baloney mailout talking about: that squeegee cleaning is longer lasting and deeper cleaning than a pure water cleaning system? I have some guesses.

Part of the fault lies with the companies that make these things. In early days they marketed them towards property managers and maintenance people as a $5000 purchase that would mean they’d never have to hire window cleaners again. They should have sold them with a training course. It takes some skill to use this system successfully. The promise of not having to train someone to use ladders safely has resulted in a lot of green workers being sent out with a pure water cleaning system and not being able to produce results customers are all that happy with. 


These tools also require more technical know-how. When a tech is cleaning with a mop and squeegee, as soon as they’re done, they can look and see if the window is clean. The path between the problem with the tool/technique and the result on the window is short and obvious. What’s inside a pure water cleaning system is a little more mysterious. If a filter hasn’t been changed on schedule, there could be just a little more contaminant in the water than is acceptable and no matter what the tech does, they still get spotting on the window. 

Finally, it’s expedient for a company that doesn’t want to put up the cash to invest in one of these to spread the idea that Squeegee is the only way. There are still some good situations to use a horse, but they’re not better than a car.

A Pure Water Cleaning system isn’t a replacement for a mop and squeegee in all situations. However, it is a safer tool for work at heights that produces exceptional results in the hands of a knowledgeable technician. Don’t brook any  nonsense about the superiority of squeegee cleaning. If you’ve hired out cleaning and your windows don’t come out awesome, look to the technician, not the tool.

Like to know more about our window cleaning services?

We service Edmonton and Surrounding Areas