What you need to know about cleaning windows in high-rise buildings

Abseiling window cleaning

Keeping the windows clean in your high rise building is the perfect example of this balancing act. The pressure is to deliver quality results, achieved by a reputable, insured and properly trained company, while making sure that cost accountability is as transparent as your glass!

It helps if you have insights into the different methods and equipment used in commercial window cleaning. That way, you can be sure that you get the service that’s most appropriate, without paying more than you actually need to.

Let’s look in more detail at the different methods of cleaning the windows in high rise buildings, and the relative merits of each, particularly if you have a challenging building in terms of structure, height or usage.

Water fed pole system

This is the most straightforward, and therefore a low-cost way to get a perfect finish on windows in many commercial buildings.

Using the latest technology, 100% pure water is applied to the surface using a force designed to be strong enough to lift dirt without damaging the infrastructure. It makes it possible to use this to thoroughly rinse off glass roofs, atriums, skylights, buildings with cladding, signage and canopies, for example.

Not only does the water fed pole system reduce costs, but it’s also considered to be an eco-friendly cleaning option, as it doesn’t rely on detergents.

Safety is assured as the high rise window cleaning crew work from ground level. They can be scheduled to arrive, complete their task and leave with minimum disruption to the day to day functioning of the building. Using the latest fed pole equipment is an option for structures up to five storeys. Beyond that, one of the following would be more appropriate.


Suspending a cradle over a building façade will be the only way to reach windows in some high rise buildings. However, it is clearly a highly specialised cleaning method that is only possible under certain circumstances. A professional window cleaning team which specialises in high rise structures would take into account not just height, but also the integrity of the building and the scale of the set up.

Some contemporary buildings are constructed with integrated cradle systems, to facilitate efficient maintenance, cleaning and repairs. Even in this scenario, it is crucial to use window cleaning professionals who are experienced and properly insured in operating cradles.

Mounted platforms

When a cradle system is not present or advisable, some building facades can be accessed from a mounted platform. This could be a platform operated as a compact piece of machinery or one mounted on a specialist vehicle.


Either way, this tends to be a versatile and responsive option for cleaning high rise windows. Crews using a mounted platform which is appropriate to the building’s scale and layout can quickly set up and complete the task.

If it’s a structure that is challenging in its dimension, using a mounted platform provides the added advantage of being adjustable, enabling crews to manoeuvre in to place effectively. Truck mounted platforms, in particular, have excellent height reach potential too.

Abseiling/rope access window cleaning

Another option if a cradle is not present – and not necessary – is to use the abseiling method for high rise window cleaning.

As this carries a higher risk factor, and considerable compliance burdens, using specialists is crucial. You also need to be sure this method can be executed in a way that won’t damage your building’s outer surface in any way.

However, the right abseiling window cleaning team could use rope access to get across the facade of your building effectively. With no heavy or specialist equipment involved, it is not only responsive but also manageable in terms of costs.

The rope access/abseiling method of window cleaning really comes into its own with complex structures. Once the equipment is set up, the team can manoeuvre around quickly, reaching places that would be more challenging using the other methods outlined.

As the specialist window cleaning operatives can gain direct access using the abseiling method, they can also get much closer to windows for thorough and flawless finishes. Keep in mind, this also means they will be right outside your windows, so check privacy arrangements with your building occupants.

Choosing the right option for your building

Clearly, much depends on both the height and relative complexity of the structure involved. It is also important to gauge building usage. The decision may come down to needing quicker delivery for spontaneous and urgent window cleaning. Or, you may need to take into account the potential interruption to the everyday functioning of the site.

Contact The Glazing Face to discuss the best ways to clean windows in the high structures you manage. It’s the surefire way to find the method that delivers superb results without excess costs.