How To Clean Windows At Height

Having clean windows brings the best out of your property. But given windows are sometimes out of reach, giving them a clean isn’t always straightforward. The likes of upper floor or high rise buildings require a specialist approach that most people aren’t qualified for.

As Melbourne’s number one leading window cleaning company, we know a thing or two about cleaning windows, regardless of how high up they are! Here is our strategy on how to clean windows at height to tell you more.


The traditional view of a window cleaner is somebody up a ladder with a cloth and bucket. To this day, most window cleaners will carry a variety of ladders in their vehicle.

However, moving a ladder from one position to the next, securing it with a ladder stopper, and climbing up and down the ladder to clean each section of glass significantly adds to the time taken to complete the job.

The widespread use of extension poles and water-fed poles now means that the use of ladders isn’t as common as it once was. Though sometimes ladders may still be required for awkward spaces.

Extension Poles

Extension poles can scale up to 9.7m high, making them ideal for residential settings, plus some commercial spaces. They are used in conjunction with traditional window cleaning equipment such as a washer and squeegee for the best results on stubborn dirt.

The longer the extension pole, the heavier it is. Therefore, a greater level of skill is required to maneuver the pole and the attached squeegee to achieve a clean, streak-free outcome for the glass.

Water-fed Pole Systems (WFP)

WFP systems are used to clean the external glass on single and multi-storey buildings up to 4 floors in height. Abseil window cleaners can also use WFP systems.

The last 10 years have seen a rapid rise in the popularity of WFP, which are used to clean external glass. WFP works by running water through a deionization filter to produce ‘pure water’ that is substantially free of mineral content. The water passes up along a carbon fibre extension pole to a brush head that is used to agitate the dirt on the surface of the glass.

There is no need to remove the water from the glass with a squeegee, because the purified water will dry spot-free.

Scissor Lifts

Sometimes the glass that needs cleaning is too high up for a window cleaner to be able to safely use a ladder. Or, there may not be sufficient access at ground level to use a large telescopic extension pole. In this instance, a scissor lift may be used.

A scissor lift is a type of elevated work platform (EWP) and is a safe and reliable means of reaching areas that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Scissor lifts can access from 5.6m to 15m. Australian regulations require all scissor lift operators must hold an EWP Operator Ticket (Yellow Card). This covers the operation of platforms under 11 metres in height.

Cherry-pickers, Knuckle Booms and Straight Booms

Once you start to get into industrial heights, it’s time to use aerial work platforms that can access buildings up to 30m. Window cleaners operating aerial platforms above 11m need a WorkCover High-Risk Work Licence.

We would use such equipment for clients whose buildings as in the likes of high-rise accommodation or office blocks.

Rope Access (Abseil)

The cleaning of windows in high rise buildings is carried out by expert window cleaners who are experienced in rope access and abseiling. They hold IRATA qualifications.

IRATA is an international rope access qualification that provides a safe method of working at height. Abseil window cleaners use either the traditional washer and squeegee method or the newer WFP method to clean the windows of high-rise buildings.

To Sum Up

It’s essential that when cleaning windows at height, the proper equipment is used by a trained and insured professional.

Acorn Window Cleaning has qualified professionals who are experienced in all of the above methods of window cleaning at height.

Please give us a call on 9818 3333 to enquire about our services or schedule a window clean for your home or commercial building.