Window cleaning

Reach & wash

The Reach & Wash system is a water-fed pole system and the concept is quite simple. Here’s how it works…

The extendable pole means that it can be extended to reach windows above ground level. The longer the pole extends, the heavier it becomes, so the maximum height the average window cleaner can clean with a pole is around 65 feet from the ground before it becomes too unwieldy and heavy. New light-weight materials are extending that height limit by a few feet, but it’s unlikely to exceed 70 feet by too much for practical reasons. Extendable poles of different lengths are available, with shorter-extending poles being lighter and more comfortable to use for most jobs. There are also different qualities of poles with the more expensive ones being quite rigid and controllable, while cheap fibreglass ones bend and twist when extended and can end up putting quite high pressures on the glass surface.

Soft filament brushes are important because it needs the soft filaments to help remove stubborn stains while ensuring that the glass and frames aren’t damaged or scratched. These brushes are so kind to the surfaces that they are ideal for use on heritage properties and sensitive glass structures such as stained glass windows. Water is pumped through the middle of the brush to help control where the water flows and to make sure the window gets thoroughly soaked.

Water is delivered through a tube running up the centre of the pole and connected to the brush head. The other end of the tube is connected to a water tank via an electric pump. Water is delivered at very high pressures to ensure good flow and the ability to reach the maximum pole heights.

So far it all seems pretty simple, maybe even a bit Heath Robinson, and certainly not that revolutionary, but here comes the science and the clever bit. The water used in the water-fed pole system is pure water. We don’t mean that it’s water with no chemicals added, we mean that it’s pure, de-ionised and de-mineralised water.

Ordinary tap water is full of dissolved chemicals and minerals, and bottled water (or “mineral” water) often has even more. Rather than being bad for us the minerals in water are essential for our health, but they’re not very good for windows because when the water dries they end up leaving streaks and white deposits behind. The water used in water-fed poles is passed through a de-ionisation process. This can involve several stages of filtration depending upon the water source, with the resulting liquid being de-ionised water. Not a particularly healthy drink because it contains no minerals but very very good for cleaning windows.

De-ionised water is brilliant at cleaning windows, but you don’t need to take our word for it. You might remember your chemistry teacher calling water the “universal solvent”. It’s called that because water can dissolve just about any substance, and pure water (i.e. de-ionised water) is a very reactive substance. That doesn’t mean it is dangerous to touch, but de-ionised water will dissolve small particles, chemicals, and minerals very quickly and easily and hold them in suspension. Since that’s what the dirt on windows is made of, de-ionised water is just about the best thing we could use, and it results in very clean windows.

The soft-filament brush helps to dislodge any stubborn particles, and the constant stream of water washes away all the suspended dirt to leave a streak-free finish. Even if the windows look wet when they’ve just been cleaned, the water left on the surface is de-ionised and it simply evaporates away to nothing to leave no residue or white deposits. Just sparkling clean windows.