High-Rise Window Cleaning: What You Need to Know

Everybody knows how pleasant it is to look through adequately cleaned windows. Regular window cleaning is an essential component of both home and business building maintenance. Having windows that are not clean can ruin the first impression of an entire property. Cleaning high-rise windows falls to professional window cleaners, as cleaning the windows of a high-rise building is a risky job that requires professional training and equipment.

The dry climate in Texas leaves high-rise building owners with a need to regularly clean their large windows. Most owners of modern high-rise buildings and glass-fronted offices in the Dallas, Texas area choose to go with the services of window cleaning companies since outsourcing the job saves their staff a significant amount of time and effort. Being a window washer requires a lot of responsibility and sticking to safety guidelines.

Related: Continue To Shine Together

Being A Professional Window Cleaner

While it may not appear to be an extremely high-risk job, in reality, high-rise window cleaning is a job that does pose a certain amount of hazard to the worker. After all, high-rise window cleaning involves scaling a building that sometimes reaches more than 15 meters. To perform a job like a window cleaning the right way, you need a specific set of training and skills to perform it correctly. You can think of cleaning high-rise windows as an activity akin to rock climbing.

Cleaning high-rise windows requires a high amount of mobility and following a stringent set of work safety measures. Individual buildings tower in the clouds at impressive heights, making the use of secure professional harnesses and climbing equipment vital.

Office workers in high or mid-rise buildings enjoy great views while they go about their day, and their view is the result of gleaming, clear windows. Window washers are responsible for cleaning the dirty glass windows of offices, homes, stores, and high-rise buildings.

Cleaning the windows on high-rise buildings consistently makes the list of the most dangerous jobs in the world. With this in mind, a window washer profession connotes a certain level of danger and risk. Due to the job’s perils, window cleaners need to follow the stipulated safety measures when they work strictly.

man cleaning window

Clear OSHA guidelines and appropriate training limit the risks of high-rise window cleaning. Despite the inherent dangers, there are very few fatalities in this profession. That doesn’t mean that accidents don’t happen or that these workers have inhuman abilities to rationalize their fear. City firefighters have had to rescue high-rise window washers from time to time when their equipment fails or when high winds hit without warning.

In an interview with the Washington Post, some very skilled window washers admitted that they feel the fear of being suspended several stories in the air. And they use that fear to keep them focused on safe work practices. But for those who choose to do the job, it is a fair trade off with magnificent views from their ‘office’.

Janitorial professions often get discounted as being easy, low-wage positions. However, high-rise window washing requires some skill. It is not as much about technique as it is about performing the job while suspended by ropes and cables or standing on a platform hundreds of feet in the air. And the work is steady. For example, a building like the Empire State Building in New York City takes four months to clean all of the windows. By the time the crew finishes the building, it is time to start again. Smaller high-rises take less time, between 30 and 40 days on average. But there is no shortage of window-filled office buildings in the city and therefore no shortage of window work for these skilled laborers.

This kind of job may not suit everybody, since it requires a certain amount of industry training and experience and no fear of heights. Being a high-rise window cleaner also requires courage since the job poses many challenges and calls for the worker to be physically capable and have some preparation in advance.

Professional window cleaners need to be equipped with all of the necessary cleaning tools to safely and correctly finish the cleaning task. High-rise window cleaning is a dangerous job, and it needs to be done with the correct kinds of equipment. Just like with any other job, being a professional window cleaner comes with its risks.

Related: Three Reasons to Hire a Professional Window Cleaner

Risks Of Cleaning High-Rise Windows

How dangerous the job is depends on a variety of factors, such as the level of experience the worker has, if they’re wearing appropriate protective equipment, the condition of their safety gear, and how safely the individual window cleaner works. Below we discuss the cons of being a window cleaner and why it’s always best for owners of high-rise and mid-rise buildings to hire professionals for this dangerous job.

Looking for professional high-rise window cleaners? Call Shine Window Cleaning today!

Risk Of Falling Or Other Injury

As we’ve touched on above, there are many risks associated with the job of window cleaning. Professional window cleaners handle this well, however, and know that risk inevitably comes with the job. People not in the industry may be surprised to learn that deaths are actually rare in the high-rise window cleaning business.

Professional window-cleaners can do the job without injuries because workers are extremely serious about their safety – it’s always on the top of their list of priorities. When they start any job, window cleaners first ensure that all climbing equipment is sound and check through all of their safety gear for wear, tear, and damage. Window cleaners are trained to inspect all of the cables, harnesses, and scaffolding to ensure they’re in good working condition. Adequately installed safety equipment helps guarantee successful completion of the cleaning tasks and fewer injury cases, which all leads to higher client satisfaction.

Of course, accidents are expected to happen once in a while. But accidents shouldn’t end fatally if proper safety measures are in place. Research shows that only one window cleaner of high-rise buildings was killed per year between 2010 and 2014. Compared to 1932, this statistic has made leaps and bounds and illustrates the effectiveness of safety measures implemented in the last few decades. Picture this: 90 years ago, an average of one out of every 200 window cleaners in New York was killed doing the job!


There are many pros and cons to having an outdoor job, and volatile weather can be a real challenge. Window washers are at the mercy of the weather, and the weather is something that nobody can control, but it can have a significant impact on the completion and duration of a window cleaning project. It may be a real challenge to clean the high-rise building windows when winds are blowing at high speeds. Strong winds can not only slow down a cleaning project, but it’s also bad for the stability of the suspended platforms and the scaffolding, raising the risk of incidents.

High-rise window washers enjoy working outdoors. But constant exposure to the elements can take its toll. The heat in Texas can pose some safety risks and these workers are often exposed to direct sunlight for long hours without shade. Staying hydrated and protecting themselves from the sun are as important as following safety rules for harness equipment and working on platforms.

Requires No Distractions

At first glance, window cleaning may seem like an easy job, but this kind of work calls for intense focus. Different types of distractions need to be eliminated from the job site for safety reasons. Window-cleaners are not supposed to use smartphones or listen to music while working on the scaffolding. Depending on the job’s size and degree of difficulty, rules about having distractions on the job can vary. Holding a smartphone or wearing headphones while trying to clean a window 50 feet above the ground isn’t a good idea. Of course, window cleaners who work on smaller buildings can use phones more often and listen to radio, podcasts, or music.

Related: Interior Glass: DIY or Hire an Inside Window Cleaning Service?

High rise window cleaning

Tools of the Trade

High-rise window cleaners use similar techniques to cleaning your windows at home, including buckets of soapy water, squeegees, and rags. The key difference is that they are working from greater heights. Window cleaners tend to work with a variety of different size tools. And they wear a tool belt like a handyman so they can keep things where they need them.

  • Buckets filled with dish soap and water.
  • Sponges or T-bar wands to spready soapy water on windows.
  • Glass scraper to remove stuck on dirt and debris.
  • Squeegees with replaceable rubber blades.
  • Rags or towels to clean squeegees and give windows a final polish.
  • Movable Platform or bosun chair on a pulley system.
  • Safety harness
  • Work gloves
  • Rubber boots

Why Hire a Contractor to Clean High-Rise Windows

Window cleaning is typically a low-wage labor job and tempting for building service managers to try and accomplish in-house. And that is fine if your building only has two or three stories. But the taller your building is, the more difficult the job becomes. Working with an experienced high-rise window cleaning contractor will supply you with professional, capable laborers who really know how to do the job efficiently. Plus, the burden of safety training isn’t on you. The contractor will take care to provide any OSHA mandated safety training which also limits your risk in the event of a workplace accident.

Hire Shine Window Cleaning For Your High-Rise Windows

It is crucial to hire a professional window cleaning service for your Texas high-rise building to ensure safety. Shine Window Cleaning is a top window cleaning service in the Austin areaShine Window Cleaning promises transparent communication, professional work, and helpful customer service. We work with various commercial and residential customers with a diverse range of tasks, from roofs to windows to installing holiday lighting. Work with Shine Window Cleaning to get your high-rise gleaming today!

Looking for professional high-rise window cleaners in the Dallas, Texas or Austin, Texas areas? Call Shine Window Cleaning today!



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