Essential Chemicals for Window Cleaners

Amy LavinIndustry, Window Cleaning

The use of chemicals in the window cleaning industry continues to expand and refine itself, even with the invention and expansion of WaterFed® cleaning, a cleaning system that uses no chemicals. Chemicals have advanced with the industry and have expanded since the days of just soap and water, offering a number of professional cleaning solutions beyond soap.  With so many on the market, it can be challenging to recognize which window cleaning solutions to have on hand for every day cleaning. In this blog, we’ll discuss the four most common types of chemicals and their uses. 


Every window cleaner has soap in their tool kit. It is far and by large the best selling chemical in the industry. While some people wash windows with Dawn soap (abc surveyed windows cleaners, and three used Dawn, stating its convenience, while another had a crew that specifically requested it), other professionals use soaps like Glisten and Glass Gleam 4. These soaps are manufactured explicitly for window cleaning and have advantages such as a lack of bubbles and anti-static properties. Whichever you choose, a window cleaner’s soap attracts the dirt from windows and helps you clean faster.

Stain Remover

Another professional window cleaning solution to make sure to have on hand is a stain remover. You’ll find it especially helpful in situations that need something a little more aggressive to clean that extra stubborn spot. We recommend a mild stain remover, like abc Stain Remover. These chemicals are used for hard water stains, calcium deposits, and anything that takes some “elbow grease” and doesn’t come off with just soap and water.


Solvents, another common window cleaning chemical, help get rid of the residue that sticky things leave behind. Oil Flo, one example of a solvent, makes cleaning post-construction windows easier and timely because of its ability to breakdown adhesive without harming the window. When working with solvents, make sure to ventilate your workspace and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, as these chemicals can have pungent fumes.

Soap Additives

When working in locations where there is a lot of direct exposure from the sun and soaring temperatures, window cleaners will mix additives with their regular soap. Slick, an example of a soap additive, slows down the evaporation process to help keep water on the window longer, allowing more time to squeegee. Many window cleaners find soap additives helpful in the summer, and some use it year-round. 

SDS/ MSDS Sheets

It’s important to always have the SDS or MSDS sheets on hand when working with chemicals. To help you keep these organized and always on hand, we suggest printing out the SDS/MSDS sheet for each chemical you and your crew use and to store them in a transparent page protector in a binder. If you set yourself up like this, you will not only comply with OSHA but, having the manufacturer’s safety instructions, you’ll also be prepared if an accident were to happen. 

Other Chemicals

While soaps, stain removers, solvents, and additives are the most commonly used chemicals by professional window cleaners, there are many other types. Some of these include strong acids for extremely stubborn stains, and glass protectants, which act as a sort of dirt “shield” that can be used during the window’s cleaning. If you have a cleaning situation and need help finding the right glass cleaning chemical, try using social media to reach out to both window cleaning businesses and individual window cleaners for advice. If you find yourself using an unfamiliar chemical, make sure to print off the SDS/MSDS sheet right away and read the safety precautions. 

What The Industry Said:

What The Industry Says: We asked our Instagram audience what four chemicals were their must-haves. GG3/GG4, Moerman Soap, Glisten, and dawn soap were the most popular answers. We also asked who used soap additives and 58% said they did not use them. We’d like to discuss more about soap additives. What do you want to know? Please comment below.

Let’s Talk More About Chemicals…

What are your go-to chemicals? Are you a professional-soap person or a dawn-soap person? What’s your reasoning behind that decision? How does WaterFed® fit into your use of soap and chemicals? Leave a comment below with your thoughts, and let’s start a conversation.