Last updated June 2021
It takes a tall ladder—and superhero-like nerves—to scrub up the windows of multistory houses. It’s no wonder that most of us—and housecleaning services—don’t “do windows.” You’ll need to hire a specialist to squeegee away the dirt, grime, and whatever weird smears your panes collect. In addition to improving your outlook, clean windows will also make everything inside look brighter and tidier, too.
We surveyed area consumers and asked them to rate window washing services they had used “inferior,” “adequate,” or “superior” on several questions: “doing work properly,” “promptness,” “letting you know cost early,” “neatness,” and “overall quality.” 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.
We primarily surveyed Checkbook and Consumer Reports subscribers, but also other randomly selected consumers we invited to participate. 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 shining job washing windows than to clean an entire home.
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 the Consumer Protection Division of the Illinois Office of the Attorney General 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, our undercover shoppers called the companies listed on our Ratings Tables and obtained prices for cleaning the windows on three hypothetical homes. The price comparison scores shown on our Ratings Tables 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 double those of the lowest-priced company.
Our researchers found it was simple to get price quotes for window cleaning. You can create a list of your windows, with estimates of their sizes, and email it to companies to request prices. Many companies will now do drive-bys, or use Google Maps and real estate websites to check what you have and calculate price estimates. Either way, make sure companies know the number of individual panes you have in each window. The more panes, the longer it takes to do the work, which increases costs.
In general, companies clean both the inside and outside of your windows, vacuuming the sills to remove dust and dirt. It is possible to hire washers to just do exteriors, but it’s not a great idea—you’d probably still have visible streaks and dirt inside. This whole process is simpler for those with tiltable sashes or newer windows that pop out.
As with housecleaning services, make sure the company you hire to wash windows carries general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Stick around while the work is done, inspect it, and voice any complaints before workers depart.