Window cleaning brushes & which water fed pole brush to use has often received lively debate on window cleaning forums the world over. Peter Fogwill of "Window Tools" & the forum of the same name published this paper a couple of year a go & is still well worth a read even in today's market. Reproduced here in it's entirety, courtesy of Peter Fogwill. If you are also interested, Peter has designed & built the first water fed pole "Hot Wash" mobile trolley system, click here to see. And also the very popular "auto-brush."
What window cleaning brush? There has been a lot of talk lately about window cleaning brushes, and what ones are best. Let me start by clarifying one thing, the most popularly used is not necessarily the best. Awhile ago there was a certain brush manufacturer that caught on to the fact that the reach and wash system and water fed poles in general were gaining popularity among window cleaners, and quite rightly got in on the act. They realised their was big business in window cleaning brushes and started promoting their car washing brushes at trade shows etc, and offering good deals to water fed pole suppliers. They even made some changes to the brush to make them more window cleaning friendly, trouble is they forgot about two main factors that overwhelmingly effected the cleaning power of the brush. Firstly the density of the bristles, their brush is far too dense and this restricts the flow of dirty water passing through the bristles, and working its way down and off the glass. Secondly the bristles were splayed at the ends to make them softer for car paintwork, as glass is a hard surface this was not necessary for a window cleaning brush, it had a negative effect and trapped dirt particles, again restricting the easy passage of dirty water through the brush and down to the bottom of the glass. These two factors although not the only disadvantages makes the most widely used window cleaning brush a nightmare to use.
How did the average window cleaner not notice this? They were supplied with the brush from their supplier, they didn't know any better, after all if you pay good money for a window cleaning system you would expect to be supplied with the best equipment to do the job it was designed to do. Trouble is most of the window cleaning suppliers have never cleaned a window in their life, they picked up on a brush that was being heavily promoted, got a good deal and the rest is history. The window cleaner got round the defects on the brush by brushing the window and then lifting the brush off the glass to give it a final rinse, which is both time consuming and a much higher water consumption over the course of the day.
There are another couple of disadvantages with the brush I am talking about. The weight of the brush, and the shape of the bristles. Again the clever window cleaner has compensated for the weight by using a much smaller brush, the size of the brush brings the weight down considerably, only problem with that is again more time wasted covering the glass with the smaller brush, and again more water wasted as you are on the glass longer. Next there is the shape of the bristles, they are straight. If they were slightly crinkled it would serve as a more aggressive cleaner, as there is a more abrasive contact on any dirt sticking to the glass. Slightly elongated bristles servers the same purpose allowing the bristles to splay more and would allow the non splayed tips of the bristles to come in contact with the dirt. This would also allow for faster cleaning, which in turn reduces water usage.
The funny thing about all this is I have had customers of mine changing from the brush I supply which has none of the disadvantages of the above brush, to one of the disadvantaged brushes. Why? Simply because they have been told by other window cleaners that the brush they use is not a window cleaning brush, and that they have to change over to the disadvantage brush that they use. Its not all bad though, these helpful chaps sometimes show them some new exciting ways to get a spot free finish on the glass, they show them how to take the brush off the glass and give it a final rinse, and how to waste time and water into the bargain.
Also as a bonus, one of the members of Peters forum also added this video on his guide to reduce spotting using various water fed pole techniques.