Let the sun shine in

June 29, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

Pop singer Dionne Warwick had hits with many Hal David and Burt Bacharach tunes - "Windows of the World" among them.

Some of the song's lyrics describe the dilemma of anyone who might have wanted to wash windows this spring:

"The windows of the world are covered with rain/Where is the sunshine we once knew?"

The spring window cleaning season has been hard for Roy Rowland, owner of Hagerstown-based We Do Windows, a janitorial and window-cleaning business. His clients are residential, commercial and institutional, including colleges, retirement health-care facilities.

"This has been horrible," he says of the unusually rainy season. He's had to reschedule hundreds of jobs, and figures he's lost more than $20,000 in sales.


Autumn, not spring, typically is his busiest time of year. People want their windows to sparkle before the holidays, he says.

Syndicated newspaper columnist Heloise, born Pnce Kiah Marchelle Heloise Cruse, often shares a hint for her favorite window-washing solution: She recommends using 1/4 cup nonsudsing ammonia per gallon of water. Put it in a spray bottle, label it and keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Heloise advises that window washers not wash windows when the sun is shining directly on them. The heat will cause the windows to dry too fast, resulting in streaking.

Rowland uses a gentle dish detergent in water - "It's so delicate to the hands," he laughs. He scrubs the window with a rag or absorbent lamb's wool. For tough spots, he uses razor blades especially designed for windows. "They will not scratch the glass," he says.

He uses a squeegee - a T-shaped tool with a rubber blade - to scrape the water off. The goal is to keep the rubber on the glass from edge to edge of the window, wiping only the least possible amount of the edge of the window with the rag. That prevents streaking from any rag residue, Rowland says.

He disagrees with another of Heloise's hints. He calls her suggestion that drying clean windows with newspaper an optical illusion. There seems to be something in the printer's ink that makes the windows shine, Heloise has said. Rowland says that leaves a residue that's not truly clean.

Why do people want clean windows?

They let you see the beauty of nature, Rowland says. "It brightens your spirits," he adds.

Wash your windows. Let the sun shine in.

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