The Amazing History Of Window Cleaning

It’s strange to think about a world where local window cleaners didn’t even exist. They’ve become a mainstay for the majority of streets across the UK and it got me thinking about the dawn of the industry’s existence. The emergence of the squeegee and the revolution of pure water cleaning.

The Dawn Of Glass

Before we talk about the creation of window cleaning we need to talk about how glass even came to be. A naturally occurring material for billions of years, was first man-made in 650 BCE and for many years after it was mostly used for decorative and artistic uses and was considered a precious material, suitable only for the very wealthy or powerful. It wasn’t until the 1800s that glass started to become a mainstay of housing construction and today, we take for granted that our houses will have nice double-glazed windows.

The Creation Of The Window Cleaning Industry

As more and more windows started to appear in modern homes the need to keep them clean became a great opportunity for local tradesmen and women to take advantage of. In those times the job was considered a poor mans occupation and those involved found themselves living on the breadline.

During the first and second world Wars, the demand for a local window cleaner dropped significantly, there were simply more important things to consider than having a nice clean window. However, post WW2 the industry saw a huge boom in demand as older houses destroyed in the war were replaced with larger, more modern housing.

Local Window Cleaners in the 1900s

The Invention Of The Squeegee

Invented in the 1930s by an Italian immigrant living in the USA named Mr Ettore Steccone the humble squeegee revolutionised the window cleaning industry. It allowed local window cleaners to finish their rounds significantly faster than the old method of scrubbing windows with a cloth and produced better results. The Squeegee is recognised as the beginning of a truly modernised industry of its time. Incredibly they are still used regularly to this day, utilising the same design that Mr Steccone invented, although with slightly better materials used for the rubber.

Modern Day Techniques

Today’s window cleaning techniques have taken a more technological approach, as most things have. First used commercially in the 1990s pure water cleaning has become the mainstay for the vast majority of exterior window cleaning businesses across the country and the world.

Using a series of filters and reverse osmosis, water is purified to remove all minerals. Allowing the water to dry on the glass completely spot free. Without this process, for example, if you used water straight out of your hosepipe your windows would be covered in mineral deposits as soon as the water dried.

It allows for a better overall clean as no soap residue is left on the glass or frames, which becomes tacky and attracts dust. It also significantly improves the safety of the worker, rarely needing to use ladders. Some poles go all the way up to 70ft!

While that was just a small history of the window cleaning industry, hopefully, you learnt something new. Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help keep your windows clean.