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How Do You Clean Windows with a Telescopic Pole?
Cleaning windows with a telescopic pole can make all the difference, whether the window is high up, you’d rather leave the ladder on the truck, or you want to conserve energy and save your shoulders from the burnout that comes from constantly reaching overhead.
What Is a Telescopic Pole?
If you’re just getting into window cleaning, a telescopic pole is a pole with sections that slide within one another in order to be extended or retracted. They either have levered, screwed-on clamps (that release or lock the pole to your desired height), or collars (that can be twisted to loosen or tighten them). Telescopic poles are used mainly for traditional window cleaning methods, which is comprised of washing with soapy water, scrubber sleeves, and squeegees. Certain kinds of telescopic poles can be converted for water fed window cleaning, which uses purified water, hose, and brushes to clean windows.
Now that we’ve defined what a telescopic pole is, Window Cleaner University will get into how to clean windows with one and what you’ll need to be ready to work.
How to Clean Windows with a Telescopic Pole
Learning how to clean with a telescopic pole takes time and patience. The more practice you get, the more skilled you’ll be. One of the best ways to master window cleaning with a telescopic pole is to watch the techniques employed by experienced professionals. YouTube is an excellent resource for this. Below, watch expert window cleaner SteveO demonstrate different ways to squeegee windows with a pole.
There is no one right way to use a telescopic pole, that’s why it’s important to observe others and practice on your own to discover what methods work best for you. For more helpful videos on how to clean with a telescopic pole, subscribe to either the Window Cleaning Resource YouTube channel or SteveO’s channel, SteveO The Window Cleaner.
After you've soaped up your windows, try out these four different ways to squeegee windows with your pole.
- Straight Pull - The very simple Straight Pull technique can be done by positioning your squeegee in the top corner of your window and pulling your extension pole straight down. Once your squeegee reaches the bottom of the window, closeout and move your pole horizontally to pull down again next to the clean path you've just made. Continue this process until the whole surface of your window has been cleaned. When you’re finished, it's always a good idea to take a towel and detail the edges and top.
- Straight Pull and Hand Fan - This method is similar to the straight pull, but can be done a bit faster. To start, straight pull your squeegee as you normally would, but instead of bringing it all the way down to the bottom of the window, stop the pull right about where you can squeegee by hand. Once you've finished the width of the window, take your squeegee off your pole and then finish off the rest by hand. To do this, fan the squeegee left to right and closeout on the side of the window.
- Pole Fan and Hand Fan - If you have a squeegee with a swiveling head, try out the Pole Fan and Hand Fan method. With your squeegee attached to your pole at 40°, pull down on both ends of the window, stopping where you can finish off the rest by hand. Next, bring your squeegee back up to the top of the window and fan the middle all the way down to where you stopped the squeegee in the first step. Remove the squeegee from your pole and finish the rest by hand. To do this, lock your squeegee so that it's fixed, and fan the bottom of the window, closing out on the side.
- Pole Fan - For the Pole Fan technique, set your swiveling squeegee handle to 10°. To start, place your squeegee anywhere at the top of the window and begin to fan side to side, working your way towards the bottom, without lifting your squeegee from the glass. Once you closeout, take a towel and detail any skid marks that might've been left behind.
Cleaning Interiors with a Telescopic Pole
Telescopic poles can come in handy for indoor cleaning jobs as well. There is a wide variety of pole attachments available to assist you in cleaning high ceiling fans, dusting cobwebs, and even for replacing lightbulbs in chandeliers or hard-to-reach light fixtures. Check out some of these cool attachments below.
- Ceiling fans: Unger Pro Ceiling Fan Duster
- Cobwebs: Ettore Elite Cobweb Duster
- Changing light bulbs: Chandelier Swan
How to Choose a Telescopic Pole
With many different options to choose from, selecting a telescopic pole can be a difficult decision. The right pole for you will depend on your budget, how frequently it will be used, and how high you will need it to reach. When shopping for a pole, its a good idea to heavily consider the material it's made of and the length it can extend out to. Once you evaluate the two, making a decision becomes a breeze.
Considering the material your pole is made from is important because it can impact the price, weight, and durability.
Aluminim is going to be the most cost effective option, however, the savings you get in dollars means a sacrifice in having a lightweight pole. The Aluminum poles tend to be on the heavier side. Some window cleaners also find that the metal becomes quite cold in the winter making it uncomfortable to work with. But Aluminum will be a pretty durable option.
Hybrid style poles are a mix of materials. This is a great mid-priced and sturdy option if you dont mind them being a bit heavier than carbon fiber poles. Hybrids are perfect for the infrequent user or if you are just starting out. They are usually not recommended for use over 35 feet.
Carbon Fiber Poles are the way to go for the professional window cleaner. Unlike Aluminum, the carbon fiber doesn’t get super cold in the winter time, and it is very lightweight making it easy to work with and maneuver. If you will be using your pole often, a carbon fiber option can save your shoulders form getting overly fatigued by those afternoon gigs. Some even allow you to transition into water fed cleaning, which can eventually get you the highest paying jobs for window cleaners.
Telescopic poles are available in many different lengths. It's always a good idea to consider having two or more poles in order to tackle different jobs. Shorter poles that are 8 feet or less are great for reaching ground-level windows. Some extension poles will go all the way to 24 feet, at that length you can reach most second-story windows and maybe some third-story windows as well. Another important thing to keep in mind is the collapsed length of a pole. If you find yourself working in tight spaces, youre going to want a pole thats easy to maneuver when it is fully collapsed.
For more info and advice on how to select a pole, check out this quick Extension Pole Guide
Why do I Need a Pole Tip?
When window cleaning with a telescopic pole, utilizing a pole tip is absolutely necessary, as it is impossible to attach a squeegee or strip washer without one! Professional window cleaning tools will need specially curated pole tips made specifically for window cleaning. These most often feature a click-lock mechanism. Sometimes, you can even use different brands of handles with pole tips and apply pressure to secure their hold, or a wooden cone tip when all else fails.
The most common type of pole tip for traditional window cleaning usually involves a click-locking system and varies from brand to brand. Generally speaking, if you have a favorite brand for squeegees and strip washers, it would suit you best to buy the pole tip of the same brand. Keep in mind that not all pole tips are compatible with every pole, so it's always a good idea to do some research first.
Windows at Weird Angles? No Problem!
When cleaning windows that are built at unusual positions, getting yourself an angle adapter will let you strategically clean at all kinds of inclines. Not all angle adapters are made for traditional window cleaning, but those that feature click-locks similar to pole tips will do the trick!
Take the Moerman Dr. Angle, for instance. Although best used with Moerman tips or wood cones, this product can help you clean skylights and bay windows without the hassle that a straight pole tip may pose.
To clean with an angle adapter that is the same brand of the pole tip you are using, you would insert it as normal by click-locking it into the small hole located on its side. However, if you don’t have a compatible tip, consider getting yourself a few wooden cone tips, such as the Unger Threaded Wood Cone Adapter. Threading this onto the top of any brand tool can allow you to attach it to an angle adapter of a different brand.
Still Have Questions?
Don’t sweat it! If there is anything you’re unsure about, want to learn more about, or need advice on, do not hesitate to reach out to us. Window Cleaning Resource is here for you 24/7, with the help of our super-friendly window cleaning experts.
Having owned their own window cleaning business, too, they have tons of information on window cleaning products, business tips, and more, even if you want to talk shop.
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