Trade Secrets: The Window Washer

By Clancey Denis February 18, 2011 Published in the March 2011 issue of Seattle Met

MARK BRUBAKER, owner of Northwest Window Maintenance, has defied gravity for 30 years. He and his team of spider men rappel down buildings—including the Space Needle—wielding squeegees and sponges, with only a set of ropes, hooks, and steel bars standing between them and a freefall splat onto the sidewalk below. But accidents can, and do, happen. Once, while descending the side of an office tower, Brubaker caught his hair in his safety rigging. He managed to reach for a knife and, in midair, cut his hair down to the scalp. Lucky for you, the squeegee master says, cleaning your home and car windows isn’t nearly as death defying—or baldness inducing.

• If you’re going to use a brush on your windows, use one with nylon bristles—it’s less likely to leave scratches.

• For a cheap cleaning solution, mix Dawn dishwashing soap with water and use a soft rag. No squeegee? Just use your hose to spray the soap off the glass and let the windows dry. If you get rid of all the soap, you shouldn’t have streaks.

• Glass is sometimes considered a (very viscous) liquid. It’s soft and scratches easily. So never use steel wool to scrub stubborn sticky substances like tree sap, and only use a razor blade if you coat the stain in a soapy solution first. Start slowly—using the blade at the wrong angle will damage the glass.

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