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8 FAQs answered on window cleaning (and gutter cleaning too)

If you’ve got questions on commercial window cleaning and gutter cleaning, we have all the answers you’ll need

Window cleaning and gutter cleaning from LaddersFree and the REACT Group
We can shine a light to answer all your questions about commercial window cleaning and gutter cleaning

In our last blog, we reminded you that we’re proud to have a specialist window cleaning company within the REACT Group: LaddersFree. But we know that plenty of commercial clients have questions when it comes to window cleaning and gutter cleaning. Whether it’s about health and safety, sustainability, or just the practicalities, no question is too basic for us. In this blog, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about commercial window cleaning and gutter cleaning.

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 26 metres (85 feet), 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 (MEWPS) 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 window cleaning, it’s recommended to have IRATA training to the level required. Within the REACT Group, LaddersFree has the expertise and training to deliver the best in commercial window cleaning using all these methods.

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.

4. 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.

5. 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 LaddersFree and the REACT Group.

6. Why is gutter cleaning important, and who is responsible for it?

Gutter cleaning and clearing is very important to ensure rainwater drains away from the property effectively and gutters do not overflow. Without a regular gutter cleaning schedule, you’re risking costly problems with damp, mould, and vermin. Any overflow could cause damage to buildings, including water seepage into walls and foundations, which could necessitate very costly repairs. Cleaning gutters would generally fall on the landlord’s responsibility, but it's important to check any tenancy agreement.

7. Can you clean gutters with ladders, and what are the alternatives?

It is permissible to clean gutters at a safe height using ladders. But as with window cleaning, the HSE requires you to consider if alternatives are available, such as the use of gutter vacs, scaffold towers, and mobile elevated platforms. Again, the focus must be on health and safety; this includes securing ladders and maintaining a safe perimeter around MEWPS. However, some buildings have gutter valleys which require access to the roof of the building to provide thorough gutter cleaning.

8. What does gutter cleaning involve?

LaddersFree deploys gutter vac systems that suck out organic debris from the gutters. For buildings up to 50 feet (15 metres), they can operate a gutter vac from ground level. They’ll fit telescopic gutter vac systems with a camera and monitor, so the cleaning operative can then check all the debris has been removed. If being operated from height, a visual inspection may be sufficient.

It is also important to ensure the downpipe is clear. This can be done by sucking out any debris from the top of the downpipe, or by unblocking it with water pressure or a plumbing snake. And if necessary, it might also be advisable to fit bird deterrents, should the building have problems with birds congregating and causing a mess with the potential for blockages.

To find out more about how LaddersFree and the REACT Group can answer all your questions about window cleaning and gutter cleaning, contact one of the team today.

Post by Sam Haywood

Sam is Group Sales Director of REACT Group plc., a business dedicated to specialist cleaning going beyond the everyday. His focus is on delivering clients with excellent service whatever their cleaning challenges. Sam has a background working in facilities services and facilities management across hard, soft, and M&E services for national accounts and clients.


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