With the unseasonably warm winter and spring this year, lots of people are thinking about cleaning their windows earlier than usual. Ours were looking more like walls than windows, after a couple years of neglect. Dirty windows are kind of weird; you don't really notice how bad they are until after you get them cleaned.
This spring, we got in touch with our friends at Fish Window Cleaning (remember we worked with them last year on a giveaway?) I called on a Monday, and within three hours they had stopped by the house to check out the windows and give me an estimate. I scheduled the cleaning for a few days later.
Keep in mind, we've always cleaned our windows on our own in the past. It works fine, and it's certainly a good option for lots of people, but it's a TON of work, and not the safest kind of work either (up on ladders, etc.). Plus, our windows are decades old (some are the originals, from 1912), so taking the screens and storm windows off to clean everything is a chore.
This time, we decided to try a service, and I'm glad we did. The guys who came over were neat and polite (even had little red booties with the 'Fish Window Cleaning' logo on them), and they worked MUCH fast than Alicia and I could have.
Windows are tough to photograph, but here's a before and after that should give you an idea of the difference the cleaning made (this is looking out our bedroom window):
I'm telling you, you could feel the extra light coming into the house the instant the guys got done with a room. It was stunning. Here's a shot of the living room (straight outa' the camera; no tweaking):
I talked to Nathan Merrick, VP of Franchise Development at Fish Window Cleaning, and asked him what the pros know about window cleaning that most people don't:
Bruno: Why is it important to have clean windows? What are the benefits?
Nathan: Clean windows make an entire house look sparkling clean. Clean windows offer great views out of bay windows, can help prevent screen burn and hard water stain build up. Clean windows are a very important part of selling a home and the staging process. We recommend everyone have their windows professionally cleaned before listing their home; curb appeal matters.
Bruno: How often should your windows be cleaned? What factors influence that?
Nathan: Most homeowners have their windows cleaned once or twice a year. Certain areas of the country have harsher winters, dust build up, or pollen for example; home owners want those things off their glass.
Bruno: What's the craziest/most-difficult window cleaning job you've ever tackled?
Nathan: FISH has and is currently cleaning some very unique jobs across the US including universities, military bases, sports complexes, even the homes of celebrities and sports figures. A recent job I'm most proud of is, at no charge, FISH cleaned the 300 Ronald McDonald House in St. Louis.
Bruno: For people who want to try a cleaning service, what should they expect in terms of cost?
Nathan: The national average for and inside and out window cleaning job is $225. FISH offers free on-site estimates so all customers know what to expect up front.
Bruno: For people who want to clean their own windows, what's your biggest piece of advice?
Nathan: For homeowners, two things: Safety first. Be careful when using ladders and any equipment you may be unfamiliar with (some jobs are just better left to the pros). Second: FISH has just made our proprietary window cleaner Fish Foam available to the public; it's a great glass cleaner for DIY'ers.
For businesses, our advice is to leave it to the pros. It takes people, time, and resources away from your business to clean your windows. Often the employee chosen for the job isn't all that happy and the windows don't turn out very well. Leave the windows to us, so you can concentrate on your business.
So what are your tips for keeping windows gleaming? Do you use a service, or do it yourself? How often do you clean your windows? Get yourself heard in the comments section!