Is it time to give scrims a miss?

Is it time to give scrims a miss?  by Wagga

For years, most window cleaners have used the humble scrim to detail and polish up those leaded windows. It generally works just fine, so if it ‘ain’t broke’ then why fix it?’ Because there is a ‘new kid’ on the block. This comes in the form of a much improved microfibre cloth. So what’s the difference between scrim and microfibre? Is there really any advantage to making the change?

I got sent two large microfibre cloths in the post from a friend who swore by them. On the day they arrived, I eagerly tore at the large envelope in which resided two large blue microfibre cloths. The first thing that struck me was the silky shine that the cloths possessed and also how smooth they felt, so different from the ‘towel’ feel of ordinary cloths or the course ‘sack-cloth feel’ of scrim.

The shiny look to the cloths immediately made me sceptical as to whether or not they would be absorbent enough, or even capable of polishing up glass in an effective way. They just didn’t look like they could hack it.

The size of the cloths was excellent, coming in at approximately 77cm x 62cm or 38” x 24”. The brand on the tag was ‘Ramon’. The size of a scrim, on the other hand, is about 84cm x 77cm or 38” x 24”, so the size was very similar, the scrim being a bit larger.

That afternoon my son and I decided on a trial run to put these new microfibre cloths to the test. Once we got started we were pleasantly surprised to find that they were indeed absorbent enough, but also the perfect size to handle. My scepticism was immediately dispelled.

Detailing work was accomplished with ease and without a doubt they performed as good, if not better than scrim. But it was a revelation to find out how well this new cloth performed when used to polish the dreaded leaded light window or any window that required a polish instead of WFP or the traditional soap method with a blade. Where scrim, as good as it is, will often leave lint (minute particles of fibre) on the glass after polishing the window, the new blue microfibre left nothing. Results were seriously good.

Of course, much will depend on the user, but as long as this cloth is used in the correct way, such as making sure you change it frequently, especially when it gets wet (this applies to scrim as well), then the results are without a doubt superior.

I’m going to get me a whole bunch of ‘em. Recommended by Wagga.

Should you make the change? Is scrim dead? Well if you still have a big pile of scrims and are happy with the results then keep on using them, but as soon as they need replacing, go for this new type of cloth. It’s ready to go and worth the money. Not only that, you won’t have to break in scrim ever again.

Blue is hot by Lee Burbidge

For ages my window cleaning friends had been banging on at me about this new cloth. ‘Lee, I don’t believe it, dude, you’re still on the old scrim!!’, they would say.

It was true, for the past decade or so scrim cloth had been my only choice for detailing after window cleaning traditionally. They had told me about this new cloth and how great it was for some time, but as always, we get a little stuck in our ways and it can take a while for us to change our habits or methods that we have tried and tested.

After a few times, just to shut them up and with mild interest but with slightly more curiosity, I took one off them to give it a go.

I am ashamed to say it hung around the van for a while unused. It wasn’t until I hired a young man called Sam that things changed.

After a few days, Sam would complain about the scrim I gave him to work with and the subject of these blue cloths came up again. “They are brilliant Lee. I am used to them for giving me a good finish. We used nothing else in the last company”. In the end I took Sam to a supplier and ordered a box of 10. I said I would give it a go. So we now had 11, including the one from my friend before.

The moment I started to use them, I could tell the difference straight away. They seemed to soak up water with no smudges and 1 cloth ended up doing 3 and 4 times as many houses as I could do with scrim!! Even wiping off water drops was easy with no smears.

Of course, the more dirty you get the cloths the higher the probability there is of leaving a mark on the glass (that goes without saying), but they last way longer and unlike scrim, which leaves smears as soon as it starts getting wet, this does not.

The other added benefit of this cloth is the laundry aspect of it. Years ago I found putting my scrim through the home washing machine blocked the filter with fibres and would leave fibres in the drum that would transfer to your dark clothing after doing the next clothes wash.

Because of this I used to take my scrim to an industrial launderette. This was great for the home washing machine and it meant that I would wait for a good pile of dirty scrim to get the most out of the washing machine.

Of course, I had to buy more scrim.

Am I feeling blue? by Richard Lingford

I was kindly sent these blue cloths to try. I was told to have a look at them and give my honest opinion, as several other window cleaners rate them highly.

So I used them and here are the results.

The cloths are meant to be used in the same way as scrim and microfibres for the detailing of traditionally cleaned windows. Now over many years, window cleaners have been introduced to various ‘lint free’ cloths which promise to be the next best thing; surgical towels, huck towels, beer towels, scrim, and more recently micro fibres. I believe scrim in all its multidirectional woven pure Irish lineal greatness is by far the greatest tool a window cleaner can have for detailing windows. I think you would have to go a long way to beat a well broken-in piece that is nice and soft and full of holes.

Even the mighty microfibre is quick to dampen on the job, so you can imagine my scepticism in using these new detailing cloths. But as I was asked to do so, I worked with them and to be honest I haven’t stopped since!

The best way to describe these cloths is that they are a large version of the small cloth that comes free in your glasses case, only heavier; the perfect size for window cleaning really. “Now that will get wet really quickly!” I hear you say. Well my friends, I can tell you that this is not the case. They seem to stay dryer for far longer than scrim and are effective until they are pretty soaking.

So how about the job? I was using them the same way as I would use scrim, one damp and one dry, and let me tell you they are great! They glide around the edge of the window detailing perfectly, making it easy for even the most unskilled window cleaner to leave no smears whatsoever, even in direct sunlight. I have found scrims can leave some fibres on the glass.

The cloths, I am sure, will become a must have for all window cleaners. The only downside I can see is the £5 price tag!

Lee Burbidge says, “WHY PAY £5 per blue cloth WCM?? We have got them for a much better price for WCM readers. Watch the video below”