While many housecleaners dont do windows, our Ratings Tables show
ratings for companies that specialize in this task. For ratings of companies
that clean carpets and rugsanother specialized taskclick here.
Our surveys asked customers of area window washing services (who are primarily
CHECKBOOK and Consumer Reports subscribers) to rate companies inferior,
adequate, or superior on several questions: doing work properly,
starting and completing work promptly, letting you know cost early,
neatness of work, and overall performance. For each company that received
at least 10 ratings, our Ratings Tables report the percent of customers
who rated it superior (as opposed to adequate or inferior) on each
question. (Our customer survey and other research methods are further described
While customers rate window washing services, on average, higher than housecleaning
companies, this probably has less to do with the quality of the companies
than with the relative difficulty of the jobs: Its easier to do a great
job washing windows than to clean an entire home.
We also checked the files of the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington
Office of the Attorney General for complaints filed against the businesses
that were evaluated in our last full, published article, but did not find
any complaints lodged against any of them during the recent two-year period
To compare prices, for firms that were evaluated in our last full, published
article, our mystery shoppers called the companies and obtained prices
for cleaning the windows on three hypothetical homes. The price comparison
scores shown on our Ratings Tables, which are based on these price
quotes, show how each companys prices compared to the average prices at
all surveyed companies for the same mix of jobs. The price comparison scores
are calculated so that a score of $100 is about average, a score of $110
means prices were about 10 percent above average, and a score of $90 about
10 percent below average.
The price comparison scores reported on our Ratings Tables indicate
that it pays to shop around: The highest priced company charged prices
that were, on average, more than two times higher than the lowest priced
As with housecleaning companies, because prices vary substantially, we
recommend you use the price comparison scores only as starting points for
your own shopping. Its usually easier to get price quotes for window cleaning
than for housecleaning jobs. If you provide detailed specifications, most
companies will quote fixed prices over the phone.
To obtain accurate price quotes by phone, youll need to provide the number,
types, and sizes of windows to be washed. Determine the dimensions of each
window by measuring the length and width of the frame, and then counting
the number of individual panes, or divisions. The more panes, the longer
it takes to do the work, which increases costs.
Decide whether you want them to clean the inside, outside, or both surfaces
of the windows. An important factor is whether outside surfaces can be
cleaned from inside the house by tilting in window sashes.
Break down the list of windows by first and second floor (and any additional
floors), and note if any windows have to be cleaned from a ladder.
Oxidation, which can occur where water lands on glass after passing through
metal screens, can also affect costs. It causes pits and rough spots that
must be removed by carefully scraping or washing the glass with a mild
acid solution. A window with oxidation usually costs $1 to $5 extra to
clean, but, depending on the amount of oxidation, may cost up to $10 extra.
If your windows have an oxidation problem, window washers may need to inspect
the work in person before offering accurate price quotes.
As with housecleaning services, make sure the company you hire to wash
windows carries general liability and workers compensation insurance.
Be at home while the work is done, inspect the work, and voice any complaints
before the workers depart.