“ Extending mop and squeegee for upper windows. „
Where have all the window cleaners gone? They used to be seen in every street carrying a pail and a funny little ladder with a narrow top covered in protective padding. They bought their round from the man who had "owned" an area for years and were as familiar as the milkman and the postman. Nowdays in my area the occasional request to wash my windows is followed by a couple of visits before they decamp to the more lucrative local shops or come off the dole to fit double glazing. Then I am left once again to risk life and limb leaning out of an upper casement to reach the centre panes with a cloth on a pole, because double glazing has made obselete the little magnetic gadget which I used in the distant past. Worse are my bathroom and landing windows. The first has only a narrow light to be opened and the latter swings away from me to leave a yawning drop to the ground below. So it is that, apart from the occasional use of a garden hose from below, they just stay reliant on a good thunderstorm to wash away those bird droppings. I had seen extended window cleaners in the gadgety catalogues which drop through my letterbox, but have learned from experience that these cheap and cheerful and apparently innovative items cannot always be trusted. I still have the wonder jet hose attachment which has considerably less strength of flow than my good old hoselock and was only used twice before being relegated to the back of my garden shed. However Argos offers the Rydengrove Window Cleaning Kit for £14.99 (£20 elsewhere) and I decided to go for it. Before I parted with my credit card details to argos.co.uk I checked that the promised 3.6 metres (12`) would be long enough. This was very rough estimate taking the height of my ceilings and adding the length of my arm. Since I am 6` and have long arms I reckoned that I would just make it without having to stand on tiptoe. It transpired that I was correct as a few days later I prepared to enjoy my new toy. The Rydengrove Window Cleaning Kit comes in a neat narrow box and weighs very little. This is not lack of quality, just that it consists of 4 light interlocking steel tubes, each an easy to handle 3' in length. One of these is topped by a blue plastic cover with a threaded end which screws into the blue plastic business end. The cleaning head, also plastic, consists of an angled bar with a square of velcro attached and a rubber squeegee. These are separated by a 2" bar and the whole thing is surprisingly sturdy. I was very pleased with the white sheepskin-looking polyester pad which is attached by its own velcro and a couple of elastic slots to the head. This proved in use to be soft, holds soapy water well and glides over the window before being easily washed by hand or machine. It fits well to the head and didn't move at all when in use. Before use I slotted the handles in to each other easily and they held well. Having dipped the cleaning head into my bucket, the test began with my very big bedroom windows. I found immediately that the handle at full extension feels the weight of the head and seems to bend slightly. In fact this was good as a little flexibility is needed when at the top of one's reach and then pulling the cloth down to the bottom of the window or across the pane. Despite the fact that the outside of my upper windows had been rarely washed, the cleaning kit did the job with no more effort than had I been sponging the lower frequently cleaned glass. I took the opportunity to wipe over the smooth frames and window sills while I was about it and the pad worked beautifully without damage. I then turned the attachment over and used the squeegee which really did work in one go. I have several squeegees (isn't that a nice word?) and despite the simplicity of design, they work with differences of ease and results. The Rydengrove squeegee is the most effective I have. Although it is only a standard 10" long, the large panes of glass above my head were not left with the lines I dreaded. The rubber is safely smooth to the touch, yet firmly and evenly removes the soapy water without smears. Within a few minutes I was standing beneath that neglected bathroom window in anticipation. The bird dropping which had annoyed me for so long disappeared immediately and I was away to the rest of the house. At long last I could reach the top of my porch windows which had previously evaded my reach, even precariously balanced on a step ladder wobbling on the front step. It was at this stage that I gleefully realised that my shining glass had been completed for little more than the cost of one visit from a window cleaner, even if I could find one. I have to warn that the length was just possible for me in comfort. If you are only 5' tall I would suggest a bungalow. The pad washed out in a little warm water and rinsed immediately to once again look like new - before drying quickly - and the whole kit dropped back into its box to disappear under the stairs until next time. I rate this as one of my most useful buys for quite a while. I will lay odds of 7-2 on that tomorrow a window cleaner will call for the first time in a couple of years to ask if he may be of service?