The Mr Sparkle Chronicles considerable considerations

Archive for the ‘All in a Day’s Work’ Category

Labor Day

Joel_Jimmys Pants

So it is true. We are Mr. Sparkle. The name alone brings up visions of gleaming, shiny, Sparkling windows. But the truth of it is we often have to get dirty to produce those results. A window washers hands are dry and stick like Velcro to soft fabric and baby’s skin from the work they perform. The work provides the benefit of being out and about every day, but that means hot and cold weather take their toll too. It is hard work. Not like breaking concrete, but real work. Some might say washing windows isn’t Rocket science, to them I would say it ain’t Pie either. It requires deftness of hand, an eye for detail, and a flexibility of mind. The job requires excellent customer service skills, and an ability to work in an ever changing environment. A window cleaner has to be good at problem solving as well as obstacle crushing. Excellent teamwork combined with an ability to balance competing demands against time are a must to get the job done well and have a profitable business.
I am proud to be at the front of such and incredible group and honor their labors.

Wash your own Windows

Last year I suggested why Vinegar and Windex aren’t the best options for window cleaning. I promised I’d post how to clean your own and never did. Oops. Thanks to readers this was pointed out and I’m here to make amends. This week I’d like to share a quick easy way to get darn clean windows on your own.  Professional (thorough) cleaning should still be done once a year. But below is a good general window cleaning method, modified for a home-owner cleaner (without squeegees) to do more regular clean up. The windows will look great. If you want perfect, call us.  If you want to have clean windows and still enjoy your weekend, then listen up.

Fill a tub or 5 gallon bucket 1/3 full with water and then add a very small amount of detergent.  Mix it in evenly, but avoid making bubbles, soap bubbles on your sponges make them
hard to use effectively. Less is more. The water will do the cleaning, just a couple drops in two gallons will do it. Put your scrub pad and sponge in the bucket.
Screens should all be removed.

Outside cleaning can be done quite well using a very soft bristle brush (google “truck brush”) on a pole and a hose.  You are going to wash them the way you do your car. And you are going to let them air dry (wait for a day when dust in the air is minimal). Hose the windows to get them wet and then lightly scrub them, rinse and leave them to dry. The vertical surface will shed most of the water immediately and dry back nicely.

When inside lay out tarp evenly below the whole window, and snug against the wall to catch water and dust that may fall during cleaning.
Set your bucket on the tarp to avoid soiling the floor.
Apply soapy water to the window, and let it start dissolving dirt and grime while you clean frames and tracks with your sponge.  A sea sponge is the best tool for washing frames and tracks as it is durable, form fitting and won’t scratch paint and other finishes.
Scrub the glass using a scrub pad or soft towel. The best scrub pad for the task would be something like an acrylic Scotch-brite scrub pad sponge combo. NEVER the green scouring pad, always a plastic scrub pad. Additionally, test the scrub pad in an inconspicuous area just to be sure it won’t do any damage. If you are concerned that you might damage the glass use a terry cloth towel to do the scrubbing. Use a well wrung sea sponge or towel to remove the bulk of the water and any soap bubbles from the glass and frames in preparation for towel drying. Towel dry using a dry terry cloth towel or diaper. Voila! Sparkle.

Building a winning team

One of the greatest determiners of success is preparation. That’s why we spend a considerable amount of time training our cleaners and leads on our system. When I first started Mr Sparkle I knew that documenting the process of cleaning as well as customer interaction, equipment maintenance, safety, product knowledge etc. was going to be key in replicating the quality and consistency of our offering. It has been both a great challenge and joy to do that work, and to train our staff. Read more »

Gutter Cleaning; gutter screens, a false sense of security

Even our regular clients are sometimes surprised to discover that we clean gutters as well as windows. But gutter cleaning is a natural add on. We work with the same tools,  safety considerations and client base. In the Oakland and Berkeley hills trees are abundant and steep lots with poor access make it difficult to keep roofs and gutters clear of debris. Ignoring the gutters can result in very costly damage, so, homeowners will often opt to put screens over the gutter to prevent leaves and pine needles from filling the gutter troughs and downspouts. However, gutter screens can be a false sense of security. Read more »