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Window Washers (From CHECKBOOK, Spring/Summer 2012)
Go to Ratings of 34 Washington Area Window Washers
Window Washers

Many housecleaners don’t do windows. On our Ratings Tables, we show ratings for companies that specialize in this task. For ratings of companies that clean carpets and rugs—another specialized task—click here

Our surveys ask customers to rate window cleaning services “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 surveyed customers who rated it “superior” (as opposed to “adequate” or “inferior”) on each question. (Our customer survey and other research methods are further described here.) 

On average, customers rate window washing services higher than housecleaning companies, but this probably has less to do with the quality of the companies than with the relative difficulty of the jobs: Doing a great job washing windows is easier than cleaning an entire home. 

For firms that were evaluated in our last full, published article, our Ratings Tables also show tallies of complaints we gathered from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for a recent three-year period. We checked for complaints on file against the companies listed on our Ratings Tables with local government consumer protection offices, but no complaints were filed against the companies during the two-year period we searched. 

Where we were able to, we have also reported on our Ratings Tables complaint rates, calculated by dividing the number of complaints by our measure of the number of full-time-equivalent window washers working for the companies. The complaint rates take into account volume of work and the fact that companies that do more work are exposed to a greater risk of incurring complaints. 

You can check current BBB complaint information on any company by visiting or calling 202-393-8000. You can check current customer survey ratings by clicking on the company’s name on our Ratings Tables and, in the details under our listing for the company, click a link to go directly to the BBB’s most up-to-date report on the company. 

The price index scores shown on our Ratings Tables are based on price quotes our shoppers obtained for three jobs. As with housecleaning companies, prices vary substantially so we recommend you use these scores only as starting points for your own shopping. 

It’s usually easier to get price quotes for window cleaning work 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, you’ll need to provide a list of 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. If you want storm windows cleaned, list them also. 

Break down the list of windows by first and second floor (or 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, companies may need to inspect the work in person to quote prices. 

As with housecleaning services, make sure the company you hire for window cleaning carries general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Be around when the work is done, inspect the work, and voice any complaints before the workers leave. 

Go to Ratings of 34 Washington Area Window Washers Back to top