The most frequent question I receive from my customers is “what’s in that bottle?” Although I infrequently employ a professional solution known as Glass Gleam (GG4) to clean really dirty windows or those with hard water spots, I am usually spraying Dawn and water onto their windows. The secret to clean windows isn’t in the cleaning solution but in the tools and technique.
I personally use the Moerman Liquidator squeegee with the FLIQ mop for scrubbing, microfiber towels to detail the windows and clean the tracks, and a simple solution of Dawn in a spray bottle to wet and lubricate the glass.
I use a simple putty knife to help remove screens, a special glass scraper designed for window cleaning to remove things that a mop just won’t get, and 0000 steel wool for those obstinate things that the scraper can’t remove.
Without the proper surface and substrate preparation, staining wood is a waste of time and money. Whether refinishing the exterior of a home or a deck, stain appearance and lifetime depend on correct wood preparation. This is one factor that separates professional wood restoration companies from handymen, painters, and “do it yourself” homeowners.
Particular treatments depend on the condition, age, and species of wood, as well as if an old stain is still on or in the wood. If no stain or old, weathered stain is present, a specialty wood cleaner is used to remove surface and substrate dirt, mold / mildew, and remaining stain. My recommendation is a solution of 1.5 – 3% Sodium Hypochlorite (pool shock is 10%) or Sodium Percarbonate (Wolman’s Deckbrite). Pump spray 8oz per gallon of water. Dwell 15 (?) minutes.
A low to high pressure wash depending on the wood is used to remove the wood cleaner and dead wood/organisms. Neutralizer / brightener is next applied to all wood to neutralize the caustic treatment and insure the wood is at a proper pH prior to staining. Citric acid is the most highly recommended neutralizer, although oxalic acid is also popular.
No matter how powerful the pressure washer, water alone will not remove rust or battery stains from concrete. There are a number of products on the market that are intended to chemically remove or bleach out the stains. I’m told that Bar Keepers Friend will work, but that it takes a while. I don’t know. Here are my favorite cleaning solutions:
Oxalic acid– Diluted one cup per gallon, oxalic acid will usually remove 70 — 80% of the stain. Any more than 80% is pure magic. Nonetheless, magic happens, and oxalic acid should probably be the first line of defense against rust and battery acid stains.
F9 BARC — This chemical product is mineral in nature, and will remove 90 — 100% of iron and battery acid stains. F9 does not harm plants or grass like oxalic may. So why isn’t F9 the first line of defense? F9 is prohibitively expensive. I use it sparingly to top off a job using oxalic where the acid failed to completely remove the stain. Even then, and in combination with oxalic acid, some iron and battery stains just will not be vanquished.
Mr. Sparkle employs the Dragonfly to clean indoor windows without drips, spray or splatter. One of few american window cleaners to make this investment, we provide window cleaning solutions where height or messy sprays, splatters and drips are a concern. Able to reach over 30 feet without messy squeegees or dripping water on floors, the Dragonfly is undoubtedly the most advanced indoor cleaning system in the world.