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Ugh! Freezing Cold, Freezing Soap

Discussion in 'Window Cleaning News' started by Newsbot, Jan 7, 2021.

  1. Newsbot

    Newsbot Administrator Administrator

    Aug 4, 2013
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    Soap, it’s one of the most important tools of the window cleaner. Professional window cleaning soap is specially designed for window cleaning, where other soaps may be less than ideal for the needs of cleaning a transparent surface like a window.

    What features do you want in a good window cleaning soap?

    1. Ammonia free — safe for tints and films
    2. Good glide/slip — keeps the window wet until you squeegee it off and keeps the squeegee from chattering
    3. Low suds/bubbles — these can cause streaks
    4. No residue — dish soaps and other soaps not specifically for windows may leave residues that build up and cause the windows to get dirty faster

    A good professional window cleaning soap will accomplish all of these. Some soaps may have better glide, higher concentration, different scents, more stability (for hard tap water), or more grease-cutting ability. This is where testing different brands can help you find the soap that’s the best fit for you personally, depending on your preferences or needs.

    Our Dazzle-100 has a good mix of all of these, including being the most highly concentrated, which is why it’s our best-selling soap.

    However, even a good professional window cleaning soap won’t keep your water from freezing in the winter. For this, you need a little something extra.

    Alcohols and Their Benefits

    For mildly cold temperatures, warm water may solve the problem with freezing, but the colder the weather gets, the more powerful of a solution you’ll need.

    Alcohols are the best answer to keeping your solution from freezing on the window. They have lower freezing temperatures than water.

    The safest option is plain automobile washer fluid. The blue stuff. It is premixed and runs about 30-50% methanol alcohol. Use the smallest amount that will keep your soap from freezing on the window. This might be up to about 50/50 with water for temperatures down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit or 100% in temperatures lower than that.

    Pure methanol alcohol is also available to make your own mixture and has a freezing temperature of -143 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, is another option and has a freezing temperature of -128 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Another premixed option is RV antifreeze, usually pink or red. RV antifreeze consists of propylene glycol alcohol and has a freezing temperature of about -50 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Create your water/alcohol mixture, then add your soap. Swish it around lightly with your washer sleeve to mix, and you’re good to go.

    PRO TIP: You may want to go lighter than usual on your soap in the winter, as the soap will still cause your solution to freeze.

    Cautions When Using Alcohol

    Always use alcohol solutions with caution. They will both change the way your soap solution acts on the windows and make the solution more dangerous.

    Remember that chemical alcohols are:

    • Flammable
    • Poisonous
    • Caustic

    This means: Be careful near open flames. Do not ingest it. Do not breathe it. Do not get it on your hands. Do not get it in your eyes.

    It’s always best to read all of the SDS information for any chemicals you use and to keep the SDS information on hand on the job in case you’re asked for it by the customer or OSHA or in case of an incident.

    Window cleaning soap’s main purpose is to wash the dirt from the window’s surface and suspend it until you squeegee it off. By adding alcohol to your solution, you’ll be changing the chemical composition, which will cause the soap to evaporate off the window faster and remove some of its glide properties. This may cause more squeegee chatter and means you must work faster and in smaller areas.

    What About My Pure Water System?

    We do not suggest using Pure Water systems in the winter. Ground water becomes more sluggish the colder the weather is, making pressure at the brush a problem, and freezing temperatures can damage the filters. However, you should also not add chemicals, such as alcohol, to them, as they will damage the filters.

    For tips on storing and maintaining your Pure Water system during the winter, check out our article on Winter Pure Water Maintenance. (Coming soon!)

    Do you still have questions about window cleaning soap and how to keep it from freezing? Call us at 800-535-6394. We’d be happy to discuss the options with you. We want you to have the best tools for the most success, always.

    Be sure to check out our YouTube for videos like this one with Mike talking about winter window soap: https://youtu.be/mBoQf1V7snA

    You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Check out our website for great prices on great tools and our current promotions.

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