photo by SteveO the Window Cleaner
What are the best products for cleaning tinted windows?
For many window cleaners out there, cleaning tinted windows can be a major burden. Not only is it difficult to clean them without causing scratches or scrapes, but it can be hard to determine if a window is tinted or not, and what kind of care to take when approaching the glass.
Most frequently, if a window is tinted, it has either been by the customer previously treating it, or from it being processed in a factory. Factory production intends for the tint to be inside the window or, and when customers tint their windows themselves, usually it is in the interior of the home or business. But sometimes, during manufacturing, errors occur during, and the tint ends up on the outside of the glass. As for customers, only heaven knows who applied the tint, the quality of it, and its level of sensitivity.
Now, if this is something you end up scratching, the fixing of it falls on your shoulders! This may be frustrating, but hear us out:
There are definitive methods to approach cleaning tinted windows that can save you from the heartache that comes with scratching, the time spent fixing the error, and the money you’d otherwise be spending to retint the customer’s window.
Not to mention, you’ll be able to clean with confidence and book more tinted window cleaning jobs down the line.
In this week’s Window Cleaner University article, we’re going to talk about the best and worst products for cleaning tinted windows so you can avoid any type of mishap while on the job and clean with confidence.
Best Tools for Cleaning Tinted Windows
The best tools for cleaning tinted windows will be the softest ones you can get your hands on - that means no heavy-duty abrasives. Even the softest stripwashers with abrasive fabric on the ends of them should be avoided, as those sides can cause accidental scratches if you move the scrubber in the wrong way.
These two super-soakers from Ettore, the Ettore Dura Sleeve and the Ettore Golden Glove Sleeve, are prime choices for scrubbing tinted windows. While the Dura Sleeve holds more water, the Golden Glove is lighter weight. Both are super soft, durable, and do not feature any abrasives on the side, so you won’t have to worry about accidentally snagging a tinted window.
When using your scrubber, always ensure that you’re using a light amount of pressure, even if the sleeve is soft. Some window tints are low-grade, very delicate, and can tear easily. It is wise to perform a spot test with any tool you plan to use in the corner of the window so you know for sure if it will scratch or not.
Some other great options include the supple yet powerful Unger Original Stripwasher Sleeve or the plush and punchy Moerman Niveo Sleeve, both of which don’t feature scrub pads on the sides.
In addition to scrubbers, cellulose sponges are a fantastic alternative to cleaning tinted windows. The World Enterprises Cellulose Sponge features an antimicrobial treatment and measures at 6” x 4”. The Pulex Sponge for Clamp is also effective and soft, and can be perfectly paired with the Pulex Multi-Purpose Clamp for reaching high windows.
For detailing tinted windows, we would recommend one of the softest to the touch towels we offer, the Squeegee Life Towel. Made with microfiber, this vibrant orange, waffle-knit towel can buff out any leftover water spots or stains that may show up on tinted glass. Just ensure you’re using a light amount of pressure when buffing out the final spots.
When it comes to squeegeeing tinted windows, both hard, soft, and master rubbers are okay to use. But, again; we want to reiterate that you must use a light pressure and a soapy enough solution so you have an easy glide for your squeegee to ride out on.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the best tools for cleaning tinted glass, let’s discuss the tools you’ll want to avoid.
Tools to Avoid for Tinted Windows
Despite these being incredible, durable, and useful tools while cleaning non-tinted windows, if applied to tint, these will scratch almost immediately, and really hurt your pocket if you end up needing to replace it.
Some examples of scrubber sleeves that should be avoided for cleaning tinted windows are the Maykker Hedgehog Sleeve, the Ettore Porcupine Washer Sleeve, the Moerman FUGU Sleeve, and the Unger Pad StripWasher Sleeve.
The Maykker Hedgehog, Ettore Porcupine, and Moerman FUGU sleeves all feature tiny plastic spines that would create little scratches all over the tinted window. Although they’re fantastic at breaking down tough dirt, they will tear up tint, especially if it’s cheap or poorly applied.
The Unger Pad StripWasher Sleeve, despite it being fantastic for scrubbing out sticky messes on regular glass, this special stripwasher features a large scrubbing pad covering the majority of its base and would scrape up any area of tint it scrubbed.
Other popular cleaning tools that should be avoided while cleaning tinted windows are steel or bronze wool, blue, white, or walnut scrubber pads, scrapers, and essentially, all abrasives. Avoiding these types of tools that you may already use often will eliminate any potential for scratches occurring.
Best Soaps for Cleaning Tinted Windows
If mild yet efficient soaps are what you’re looking for when it comes to cleaning tinted windows, Titan Glass Gleam 3 or Titan Glass Gleam 4 have got you covered, as they provide a smooth amount of glide, and don’t contain any harsh additives. Titan Glass Gleam 3 & 4 are kind to hands, reduce drag, and have a consistent formula for safe use on tint.
In addition, Unger EasyGlide Cleaner is also easy on your hands, nontoxic, and biodegradable, with a smooth consistency as well. If you’re a bit of a minimalist, then a dish soap such as Joy or Dawn can be diluted down into a safe, effective solution as well. These solutions can be swiped away easily with any weight of squeegee rubber, and are highly recommended.
Chemicals to Avoid for Cleaning Tinted Windows
There are some chemicals out there that don’t cooperate with tinted glass, such as bleach, ammonia, or anything too acidic. Chemicals that rapidly break down matter should be avoided.
As well, if you’re looking to remove tint, then Titan Oil Flo Stain Remover is what you’ll need, as it melts the tint off of the glass completely. Don’t confuse this with cleaning tint, though, for it will cease to exist once applied.
How to Handle Accidents
Well window cleaners, sometimes, accidents do happen.
Although it may sting when a scratch or a scrape shows up on an otherwise pristine window, making a mistake teaches you what not to do, as well as pushes you to learn how to achieve better results, earning you loyal and happy customers in the long run.
There are two ways you can patch up an accident:
1. Have your customer sign a waiver that protects you from anything happening on the job, or,
2. Pay to have the tint on the window replaced properly.