Taking care of the money maker.


For some dumb, socially-conditioned reason, it took me a while to take genuine and public pride in being a cleaner.  We all go through this, I’m sure.  But for me, there was a point when I realized how much I have always enjoyed it, and from that point on, I just OWNED it.  I ROCK it. I am a cleaning GODDESS.

My partner, bless his heart, hopefully has learned by now never to argue with me about how to clean, because I will always win those arguments. And simply from the fact that the man owns a Roomba, it is crystal clear to me that he does not share my love of cleaning. Not many do. That’s why I’m always employed. And between you and I … the day may be coming where that Roomba “accidentally” finds itself on eBay, or into the bin.  Its very existence insults my cleaning prowess. Every time I see it, I want to kick it. Stupid robots.

The only thing Roombas are good for is dressing up a cat in a costume, making the cat ride the Roomba around, and posting it on YouTube for other peoples’ amusement. But I digress.

Living in the frozen Midwest, one of my favorite end-of-the-season rituals (usually in late November) is taking apart and meticulously cleaning my tools.  I recently took photos of that process.  I am not sure how old my Ettore squeegee is, I bought it used from the previous owners of my window cleaning business.  But it seems pretty vintage and it has served me well.

As we all know, soapy water and grime build up on our tools over time, and connections get loose and the metal channels can get kind of “slidey.” So I dove right in and gave my trusty ol’ squeegee a little spa-day.

I mixed up a bowl of warm water with a cup of white vinegar, and then disassembled the tool, taking care to remember which way the parts were facing so I wouldn’t reassemble it wrong.  I took note that the two connectors that hold the brass plate which holds the channel in place could have been tightened about a thread and a half lower upon reassembly, to prevent the channel from sliding so much in its grip. Next, I put all the parts in the bowl of vinegar water to soak.

The handle of my squeegee had been wrapped very attractively in paracord by a fellow window cleaner in Lake Tahoe this summer, so I tried to keep that part dry so it wouldn’t unravel or anything.  While the other end of the handle and the springs and nuts and other small parts were soaking, I scrubbed the brass channel and brass plate with very fine steel wool.  It works wonders, the brass gets nice and shiny.

You can see in the close-up photos of the brass channel how often the squeegee – between myself and the previous owners – has been dropped from a 24 foot ladder onto concrete, because the channel is really banged up and misshapen.  It still works fine, it just looks used-as-hell.  It has character.

Next, I scrubbed every little part in the bowl with a toothbrush, and rinsed them in plain water.  I let all the parts dry completely and then reassembled the squeegee, this time taking care to get just the right amount of tension in the springs under the connectors I mentioned. No more slidey-channel. Also, I like to be able to adjust the angle of my squeegee, taking it from its ‘T’ shape to tilt it when I am using an extention pole, on-the-fly, without using a screwdriver to loosen it. So I made sure it was just right; not too loose, but not stuck in straight-mode.

And that’s it.  I can now pack away my tools in good concsience, knowing they’ve had a bit of pampering and love. These metal and plastic objects earn me dollars, and enable me to live the life I’ve designed for myself. They are deserving of detailed and excellent care, and they get it every winter, before they are stored away for the following spring.

I have no such respect for that stupid Roomba.

By Carrie Guenther

WCM Journalist.