Pure Water Window Cleaning- Hype or Reality?

Pure Water Window Cleaning- Hype or Reality?

How ‘clean’ does water need to be to clean windows?

Few people would disagree that water quality should be a serious consideration in most anything that affects them. Beermakers, bottled water brands and others often highlight the pureness of their water, perhaps because it comes from a high mountain, a glacier, or an extremely clean spring.
When it comes to window cleaning, who of us would intentionally start a project with obviously dirty water? If you’ve had the privilege of being in stopped city traffic and had someone voluntarily clean your windshield, you may get really mad or be okay with it. Regardless, if you see the water is filthy and probably contains some of the junk from previous recipients’ windshields, that may be the dealbreaker! Yes, we like clean water.
Does it matter when it comes to residential or commercial window cleaning? It certainly does, to an extent. The application and the method have a bearing on how ‘clean’ or pure your water should be.
The words clean and pure must be taken in context when it comes to water. No water existing in nature is by strict definition ‘pure’. Rain droplets pick up solid matter as they fall. Water flowing over and through exceptionally clean areas of the earth pick up minerals. Thus, there is always some foreign matter in water that has not been processed for a special purpose. That isn’t always a bad thing. Our bodies need certain minerals, of course, and water can provide some of that.
For cleaning glass, water that is not filthy and is being properly removed in a short amount of time with proper tools, is sufficient. Many realize that just spraying water on glass, even with some force, is not going to yield great results on its own. That is one reason why my window cleaning company gets some requests to clean an owner’s windows professionally. Those spots on your high windows or the white haze on low-lying glass that is getting hit by automatic sprinklers is probably from pretty decent quality water that, after draining or evaporating, leaves a residue of calcium, magnesium, or something else that is in the local water. Removing mineral deposits can be quite difficult.

Do the terms ‘pure’, ‘ultrapure’ and ‘distilled’ mean anything in window cleaning?

As in any industry or service field, terms can be used soundly or casually. They may be relevant or simply be buzzwords or catchphrases. For a more technical explanation, here’s a helpful article.
In the arena of professional window cleaning, you will likely never see someone advertise that they use distilled water. However many, including Dan Wagner Window Cleaning, will happily announce that they use pure or ultrapure water, especially for outdoor applications. What is their relevance and how much does it matter? In a nutshell, distilled and pure water have been by different processes, had practically all impurities removed. Distilled is associated with boiling and condensation while pure is associated with filtration. Ultrapure water, by description, has had as much impurity removed from it  as humanly possible. So a layman might say ‘ultrapure’ is actually purer than ‘pure’. When it comes to window cleaning, this distinction is not as vital as in high-end industrial or medical applications.
So how and when is pure water a benefit for window cleaning? The benefit is by and large seen when using a water fed pole whereby the technician is first scrubbing off the dirt and grime and then rinsing said dirt and grime off the glass. With this method there is no need to follow up the wash with a squeegee or detailing rags. The pure or ultrapure water that is still on the glass after thorough rinsing will dry spot-free. Although there are many window cleaners that will maintain ’till their dying breath that hands-on or ‘nose to glass’ window cleaning is always superior and the truly professional way, probably just as many, hopefully more, realize that this is simply not true under all but the most difficult circumstances. A window cleaner who knows how to properly use pure water technology and the tools that go with it and understands there is equipment maintenance involved, and also that there are certain limitations that at times will dictate he opt for ‘older school’ methods’ when necessary, will be in very good shape for successful execution. For companies like mine that also clean interior windows, we still need to do an amazing job in the inside with common methods, such as what cleaning solution we use and the tools and level of thoroughness and detail. You simply can’t hide mistakes whether inside or out when the right light hits it!  That is one reason we often get called to provide service in the morning, when the sun is just coming up and homeowners look out their east-facing windows with sunken hearts.
So in summation, pure, ultrapure, or distilled water has many benefits, especially for outside cleaning.

Is it really a good idea to drink distilled water?

This question continues to be debated and also used by opposing camps to argue their cause one way or the other. If this is a very important matter to you, there is an abundance of articles that present compelling arguments to support or oppose the use of distilled water for human consumption. And many articles explain that either choice is not life-altering. In a nutshell, our bodies need certain minerals and distilled water does not contain any. But many or most don’t feel it is too difficult to compensate for what that type of water lacks. It is best to do your research, and that will be very easy if you have an internet browser!

If you have any questions or want to discuss this subject you can email me at dan@danwagnerwindowcleaning.com
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