Water Fed Pole CleaningWater Fed Pole Cleaning – Good or Bad?

I have been asked this, or a similar question quite often. And usually because the person has had a bad experience of a window cleaner using a water fed pole cleaning system [1].

First of all, let me answer the question – Is the water fed pole cleaning system any good? Yes, when in the right hands it does an excellent job of cleaning windows. It has now become the standard method of cleaning windows commercially on low-rise buildings.

So, how come some people have had bad experiences with window cleaners using one? Well, there are two answers to this…


Answer One – A Natural Occasional Problem

The first answer is that occasionally, on the first or second window clean with purified water, you can get a run down the window (dirty brown or white). This happens after the window cleaner has cleaned the windows and has now gone. The purified water used to clean the windows has probably gotten under a top window seal. Purified water is like a magnet to dirt and has come in contact with old dirt or old soap under the seal, attracted it, then run down the glass after the window cleaner has gone. Then the water dries and leaves only the impurities it picked up, thus you get a dirty stain or white soap stain on the glass.

I tell my new residential customers that this can ‘occasionally’ happen, and to simply call me if it does and I will come round and re-clean the window ASAP – for free of course. After one or two cleans with a water fed pole cleaning method, this can’t happen (if the job has been done right) as all the old ingrained dirt and soap is cleaned away. It also generally doesn’t happen on commercial buildings, as pure water cleaning is the normal method, and dirt or soap doesn’t get to build up in the seals. Though, it only happens to the occasional house anyway, it is not the normal result of water fed pole cleaning.


Answer Two – ‘Cowboy’ Window Cleaners

The other problem is sadly more likely to be the reason for the poor quality clean. And that is people starting up as window cleaners with no experience or understanding of what they are doing. They look at the pure water cleaning system, think that this is great because no skill is needed, and you just brush over the glass a bit and the windows are clean – Wrong! The equipment needed to clean windows with pure water is easy to buy, and it “looks” like pure water cleaning is simply a matter of giving a window a quick brush to get it clean. This is so wrong, it does takes skill, experience and an understanding of what the process is actually doing, to get it right.

Like every tool, it has it’s place and it cannot replace every other piece of window cleaning equipment. Though a lot of new window cleaners think that it will replace all the other tools and even replace experience. This is the biggest reason these days why some customers have had bad experiences.

There are just too many amateurs that have bought water fed cleaning kit off eBay or Gumtree, and set themselves up as professional window cleaners.


Common Mistakes Made By Non-Professional Window Cleaners


Spotting On The Windows

Due to a couple of reasons – the water has not been purifed properly and some impurities – usually a mineral has been left in the water. Though the water can be pure and still have spotting if the cleaning process isn’t done right.

The Wrong Brush

There are different types of brushes for water fed pole cleaning, and they are not all equal. First of all, a suitable WFP brush should be used that will not damage the glass, I have seen people using a cheap brush they bought in a supermarket and converting it for window cleaning use. This can lead to glass damage if the bristle material or tip finish is not suitable – some of these brushes are suitable – many are not. Even within the specialist brushes, there are differnt types of bristle material, bristle weights, brush sizes and configurations. These are made for different jobs, and an understanding of what you are using for which job is needed to give the best clean.

Beliving That WFP Is All That Is Needed

A water fed pole is an excellent cleaning too in the right hands, but it is not the answer to every window cleaning problem. Though I use water fed poles myself for the majority of my cleaning, I also carry a large supply of hand tools and other cleaning products. There will often be marks on windows that will not easily be removed with a water fed pole. Having the right tool for the job, and knowing how to use it is imperitive.

Soap & Dirt From Window Seals

I mentioned a natural occasional problem above that can sometimes happen to anyone. Though, a non-professional will have this problem much more often as they do not have the understaning of what is happening, or how to try to prevent it.

A Poor Clean

A poor clean in general can happen for a number of reasons. Though the most common being that they simply don’t know what technique gives a good clean, or they are trying to get the job done too quickly. The wrong brush, dirty equipment, poorly maintained equipment, being tight with resin or RO membranes are all other problems that can give a poor clean generally.


So, yes you can get an excellent result with a water fed pole / pure water cleaning system, if it is done by a skilled window cleaner. In my opinion, a water fed pole window cleaning system, used properly is the best way of cleaning ‘most’ windows on low-rise buildings. It gives you a better and more thorough clean that traditional window cleaning. It is also a much safer way of cleaning rather than traditional clean up ladders.

If you are still doubtful about one being used, but want to ask me to clean your windows, then remember this. I offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If the windows are cleaned right, I will come round and re-clean the for free ASAP and with no quibbles. I have a number of regular customers who had previous bad experiences with another window cleaner doing a poor job with a water fed pole. I convinced them it works well, maybe I can convince you also. By the way, when I started cleaning windows – I used a shammy (chamois leather) and newspaper. I learned how to clean windows a long time ago!


Paul Signature




[1] Water Pole Cleaning System. This is also known as a “Pole Cleaning”, “Pure Water Cleaning”, “Reach and Wash” and some other names. The cleaning method is described here: Pure Water Window Cleaning




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