The Mr Sparkle Chronicles considerable considerations

Archive for the ‘Industry’ Category

The Windex Conspiracy or Vinegar and Water?

The Windex conspiracy. Every time we use windex we close our eyes to the reality that it doesn’t work that well. And on the rare occasions that it does, a day later  the tell tale streaks of our towel appear. That is the conspiracy. We are asked to believe Windex works even in the face of the evidence that it doesn’t. Then we grab the bottle of Windex to clean up the streaks..? Would you clean a wine glass with windex?  Probably not.  The good news is you can easily clean a window the way you would wash a wine glass. Water, a soft scrubber or towel, and a very little soap. No suds (so add the soap to the water after you fill a bucket). Towel dry it. It will look great. Save your money on the Windex. Enough said.

My mom used vinegar…What do you use to clean windows?”  Elbow grease; that’s my cheeky answer. The real answer is  we use a product called Dawn…dishsoap…and just a wee drab. That, and the proper technique and tools produce the professional result. A professional cleaner uses a strip washer to apply water, a 5″ razor, brushes, sea sponges and a squeegee in their craft. I can’t prove it, but I believe that vinegar and newspaper (or ammonia or TSP) hold their sacred place in window cleaning mythology because at one time they were the tools of choice. Everyone had vinegar on hand, and newspaper was plentiful and essentially free. Equally, there was once a time when the Sears catalog was the tool of choice in the bathroom. Yet today, most everyone would agree there are far superior products for the purpose.

Vinegar really is a good and versatile cleanser, which can be used  in pickeling and other cooking. And, until the recent digital age of printing, newspapers were printed on a more absorbant, less slick paper and covered news. Nowadays, a wide range of detergents out-clean vinegar and are  more common than vinegar  in our homes. Plus, towels are inexpensive and easily available. 

Given the times and circumstances, vinegar and newspaper once made sense. Today, a homeowner can use soap in moderation with a terry cloth towel and feel just as good about the job. Or even a little better.

Next week I’ll publish complete cleaning instructions right out of our beginning cleaner’s manual!











Normally it is the parent proud of the child. In this case Mr Sparkle is proud of a parent. My dad Richard rode over 500 miles over 7 days from San Francisco to LA. A real accomplishment and adventure in the name of something good. We were truly excited for Mr Sparkle to sponsor Richard and contribute to his raising over $3000.00 for Aids/Lifecycle. Supporting Aids/Lifecycle was a great fit for us and an opportunity we were excited to take. Like many business people when Mr Sparkle started we just want to make enough to put food on our tables. Thanks to hard work and some good fortune our community responded positively to our model and service. Now, the sweetest treat is we in turn are enabled to support our community and their causes.

Congratulations Richard! Well done.

Local brand– Local business

Everybody loves a Mr Sparkle T-Shirt. Over the last 8 years we have sold and given away thousands of them. It is always great getting back pictures from folk who wear them in interesting places. Our “contact us” page features a dynamite picture of a friend in Time Square sporting one of our shirts. Once, a staff member at Arizmendi Bakery was featured on The News Hours, full frontal shot in one of our shirts.

Lucky Mule T shirts in Oakland prints our shirts. A great local screen print shop owned by Courtney Callahan. Courtney does all size jobs, working with smaller businesses like us, to events such as the Blue Grass Festival. For us, working with local vendors is an important part of our mission. It means the money we spend stays in our community. Plus, Courtney is a treat. Once the drummer for the Demonics, he now plays with a band called Los Shimmy Shakers. A group of veteran musicians who are accompanied by Burlesque. I’ve had a chance to see them a few times and have always had a blast.

Being an Oakland native, it feels good to support Oakland based business and to be creating a strong recognizable brand in my home town. T Shirts have been a huge part of the way we have gone about doing that.

Thanks Lucky Mule!

Criticism is a Courtesy


As with all businesses customer feedback is the primary and most significant  source of information as to how we are performing. Whether window cleaning, gutter cleaning or scratch removal  we have high standards for all of our services, and are always training to provide the best service and highest quality product possible.

No one can be one hundred percent all the time. And we are always grateful when our clients value their relationship with us enough to help us improve by letting us know when we fall short of their expectations. Negative feedback can be frustrating, but is of course normal. I once had a mentor tell me, “if you hear the same thing more than once, you need to address it in training immediately.” I try to follow that advice, and always view criticism as a courtesy.

On the other end one of the greatest feelings for us as service providers is to receive a compliment from a client. They take the form of verbal or written compliments, tips, referrals and on some occasions gifts. Yesterday we received two such gifts from separate clients. A couple jars of home made jam from one, and two bottles of Di’Aire wine from the makers themselves!

We are so grateful for our customers’ support and feedback. Good or bad it helps us to keep on track. 


Glass Scratch Removal

Mr Sparkle now offers glass scratch removal and acid etch damage removal of any size and depth from all types of glass. Glass scratch graffiti has become popular and results in expensive replacement of glass panels to return the window to clarity. Now, we are able to repair the glass panels you previously had to replace – in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost. Read more »

Mr Sparkle goes to New Orleans

Sparkle in Orleans

It has been a great start to the new year. I have spent the last two weeks traveling and attending training by myself and with staff. Last week Wednesday thru Saturday, Fou and I attended the IWCA window cleaner’s convention in New Orleans; attending seminars, networking, checking out new industry product, and eating. Read more »