Extension poles are safer than ladders when it comes to cleaning windows up high. An extension pole allows you to reach the difficult areas quick and easy. Remember, all the same techniques and principles apply when you wash and squeegee windows at a height - base distance, cutting the edge, less pressure on the squeegee.
Choosing the extension pole
You may need to buy a selection of extension poles depending on the work you do. While you will need some big poles, bigger is not always better. The small and lightweight 2 x 60cm pole will suffice for most cleaning requirements. This size is highly recommended and very handy for those windows that are just out of reach.
One thing that you need to keep in mind is the size of your car boot or van. Instead of buying a 2 x 1.8Mt extension pole, you might be better off buying a 3 x 1.2Mt extension pole. Both poles extend to 3.6Mt, but the 3 section, when collapsed, fits into the vehicles more easily.
Extension poles that extend beyond 3.6Mt can be difficult to use especially for first time users. With patience and practice, however, your results will improve.
How will your squeegees and tools attach to the extension pole?
Most tools will attach with a small push and twist. Some brands offer window washer and window squeegee handles that will lock on to the pole. This feature increases safety, but it’s not a requirement.
Five common mistakes when washing windows with an extension pole
1. Not wetting the window enough.
This is a problem on warm glass. By the time you start to squeegee, the glass may have started to dry in places. If you don’t wet the entire window, especially the top frame, you may end up dragging dirt down the window causing streaks and smears when you squeegee.
2. Wetting the window too much.
Excess moisture will make cutting the edge more difficult, and cleaning the surface more of a challenge.
3. Trying to wash a too bigger area in one go.
The glass will begin to dry before you get a chance to finish squeegeeing.
4. Too slow to squeegee after washing.
It is best to squeegee the window immediately after washing the glass.
5. Trying to clean glass that is in direct sunlight.
It’s not impossible, but very difficult.
Six ways to use an extension pole like an expert
1. Use a window washer with a swivel handle. This allows for easier positioning of the washer at the end of the extension pole.
2. Use more water when washing dirty exterior glass.
3. Don’t wash windows that are hot or in direct sunlight.
4. Don’t wash windows on windy days with an extension pole; the pole can become difficult to control and become a safety hazard.
5. Extend the bottom sections of the pole first.
6. Never fully extend each section. This allows you to work with a firmer, more solid pole that is easier to control.
Washing the window with an extension pole
When washing a window with an extension pole, start at the top of the window. Move the washer back and forth across the surface. Instead of using a circular motion, you might find it easier to move the washer up and down as you move from left to right across the window. Ensure that all the energy is directed from your arms and shoulders, while keeping your knees slightly bent and your back straight.
In the case of a high, continuous sheet of glass that runs all the way to the ground, only wash down to approximately chest height. Then squeegee the area you have washed. After that, finish the glass below chest height without the extension pole.
Squeegeeing windows with an extension pole
You will need to follow the same window squeegeeing techniques you use when you squeegee without a pole - squeegeeing across, or squeegeeing from top to bottom. Keep your base distance the same, cut the edge, and use less pressure on the squeegee. When working from left to right, draw your window squeegee across or down, and ensure the right hand side of the channel is higher on the glass than the left side of the channel. This allows the moisture to drip down and across the glass in the direction you are working.
Sometimes, wiping the replaceable squeegee rubber after each pass is not practical when using an extension pole. If you don’t want to wipe, just tap the squeegee lightly on the wet side of the window.
After squeegeeing down to chest height, take the squeegee off the pole and finish the window with the tools in your hand, or on a short pole.
If you need to wipe any dribbles, edges, or water marks just wrap your lint free cloth over the end of your extension pole, and wipe the problem areas. As you practice and improve, the less number of touch-ups you will need.
Extension pole safety tips
1. Always have both hands on your extension pole when working.
2. Never leave your extension pole on the ground when not in use. An unattended pole is a trip hazard.
3. Check and replace your locking cones and end adaptors regularly. Don’t wait for them to break on a job.
What makes using an extension pole for window cleaning easier for you? Let us know what you think. If you have any tips or tricks we can add to this page get in touch.
Remember, practice makes perfect! If you need to talk to someone about window cleaning extension poles and equipment our customer care team is ready to assist you. The number to call is 1300 123 499, or visit XO2's extension poles online.