Window Work

A Kitchen of Distinction Office Space Closet Confidential Window Work Clean on the Inside

The Professional

There’s no point in having park views if the pigeons insist on wreaking havoc on your windows. Steven Trobish of Steven Windows Company (212-595-6620), a jovial Ukraine native and former Soviet Navy officer, has been a glass-cleaning specialist here in New York for over fifteen years, but his enthusiastic fans even fly him to Key West and Beverly Hills to maintain their other homes. His fee is generally $10 per window, which is the going rate, but he gets high marks for quality, tidiness, and thoroughness. Trobish gives free in-house estimates, and you can usually get an appointment within three days.

Photo: Jennifer Karady. Illustration by Kagan McLeod.

He recommends clearing out all the areas around the windows before the cleaners arrive: Take down curtains, move furniture and breakables into the center of the room, and pull out any screens or child guards to make the job easier. Trobish uses a combination of professional-grade cleaning solutions that are made for particular types of glass and says clients typically get their windows cleaned three times a year. The busiest months are April, July, and October. A two-bedroom apartment generally takes two to three hours to clean. Trobish’s firm will also install your air conditioners, clean your chandeliers, and take care of any post-renovation mess less-conscientious workers might have left.


For the self-motivated, forget the old saw about newspaper being the best medium for cleanser. Jim Ireland, owner of White Glove Elite cleaners, prefers two sheets of paper towel, folded into quarters. “Newspaper creates more work,” he says. “The ink gets everywhere, and it’s not really worth it.”For expert-looking panes, Stefan Bright, safety director of the International Window Cleaning Association, says one teaspoon of grease-cutting cleaning fluid (the pros use Dawn or Joy) for one gallon of water is all you need. The key, he says, is getting a professional squeegee that will shave dirty water like a razor on skin. Pick one (Ettore is a recommended brand) that’s about one-third the width of your windows—if it’s too wide, you’ll end up pulling rubber on dry glass, creating streaks.

Choose an overcast day to do the job, or the sun will dry the water too quickly. And be sure to put a towel down on the ground to avoid creating a mess on your floors. Using a spray bottle and sponge, get the windows sopping; then use a simple top-down pulling motion with the squeegee, wiping the blade with a damp cloth after each swipe.

If you’re a thrill-seeker and determined to tackle the outside (not recommended for anyone living above the first floor), loosen up any baked-on detritus first with a Dobie pad—essentially the scrubber end of a sponge, only softer, so it won’t scratch the glass—then squeegee. To finish, the pros recommend buffing with a clean blackboard eraser.

Shopping List
Joy … $1.29
at Gristedes (221-225 Eighth Ave., at 22nd St.;646-486-7310)
Ettore squeegee … $15
at Ace Hardware
Dobie pad … $1.69
at Walgreens (350 Fifth Ave., at 33rd St.;212-868-5659)
Blackboard eraser … $2.19
at Staples

Vacuum window screens and panes a few times a year to minimize dirt buildup.

Window Work