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Window Washers (From CHECKBOOK, Fall 2014/Winter 2015)
Go to Ratings of 33 Washington Area Window Washers

Window Washers

While many housecleaners don’t do windows, our Ratings Tables 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 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 here.) 

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: It’s easier to do a great job washing windows than to clean an entire home. 

For firms that were evaluated in our last full, published article, our Ratings Tables also show counts of complaints we gathered from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for a recent three-year period, the number of complaints on file with local government consumer protection offices for a recent two-year period, and complaint rates relative to the volume of work companies do. For more information on reported complaint counts and rates, click here

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 company’s 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 company. 

As with housecleaning companies, because prices vary substantially, we recommend you use the price comparison scores only as starting points for your own shopping. It’s 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, you’ll 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. 



Go to Ratings of 33 Washington Area Window Washers Back to top