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  • Writer's pictureGeoffrey M Green

Benefits of Drones vs. Traditional Building Window Cleaning Methods

Updated: Apr 22

Drone window cleaning services for commercial buildings are not only up to 5 times faster than traditional methods, but they also improve efficiency and tackle issues related to safety, high costs, and the difficulties of reaching inaccessible areas that conventional approaches often encounter. Welcome to the world where window whisperers are ditching the squeegee and taking flight. Let's delve into a detailed analysis of window cleaning services cost comparisons, eco-friendly cleaning agents, safety considerations, and how drones excel in reaching the most challenging windows.

drone window cleaning service of commercial building

Traditional Window Cleaning Costs:

Traditional window cleaning methods are inherently labor-intensive, relying on a significant workforce to perform manual tasks associated with accessing, cleaning, and maintaining building exteriors. This section delves into the financial implications of this labor-intensive approach, examining factors such as training, wages, and the extended time required for project completion.

Wage Expenses

The employment of a sizable labor force for manual window cleaning contributes to higher wage expenses. Wages are not only determined by the number of personnel but also by the skill level and experience of the cleaners. Based on research gathered from Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Window Cleaner Jobs in 2024, each traditional window cleaning team member is earning an average of $3,717 a month. A crew of traditional window cleaners, on average, consists of 2 laborers for residential and up to 6 when cleaning commercial buildings.

Extended Project Timelines

Workers engaged in manual window cleaning need to follow strict safety protocols when ascending and descending buildings. This includes using equipment like ladders, lifts, or scaffolding, which requires careful setup and adherence to OSHA safety guidelines.

Setting up the necessary equipment for workers to access different heights on a building can be time-consuming. Ensuring the safety of workers during ascent and descent is paramount, leading to meticulous planning and execution. Erecting scaffolding requires time and effort to ensure stability and safety, especially for tall or intricate building structures. After the window cleaning project is complete, the dismantling of scaffolding is another process that can take a considerable amount of time. This involves careful disassembly to prevent damage to the building and surrounding areas.

Safety Measures and Insurance

Working at heights requires stringent safety measures and insurance coverage for traditional window cleaning personnel. Workers need to use appropriate fall personal protection equipment (PPE), including harnesses, lanyards, and anchor points, to prevent falls from heights. Window cleaning personnel should undergo specialized training on working at heights, emphasizing safe practices, equipment usage, and emergency procedures. They also need to ensure that all equipment, such as suspension systems, ladders, and safety harnesses, undergoes regular inspection to identify and address any potential issues.

drone window cleaning benefits infographic VSI Aerial

Drone Window Cleaning Costs:

The efficiency of drone window cleaning services becomes particularly evident in the reduced reliance on personnel compared to traditional methods. Unlike manual approaches that often involve an expensive team of window cleaners equipped with ladders, scaffolding, and cleaning tools, drone window cleaning leverages cutting-edge technology to cut operation costs.

With fewer personnel involved, building owners and managers benefit from decreased expenses related to wages, training, and other associated labor costs.

The largest cost saving benefit to using drone window cleaning services is the personnel. Both residential and commercial building windows can be cleaned by a 2 person team when hiring a drone window cleaning service. This 2 person crew can clean your windows 5 times faster than traditional window cleaners and maintain the highest quality of work.

drone window cleaning soft washing trailer

Drone Window Cleaning Water & Cleaning Agents:

Water purification and eco-friendly cleaning agents mixtures are integral to achieving impeccable results on building window surfaces. Unlike traditional methods, where manual application is the norm, drone window cleaning introduces a unique approach to the deployment and distribution of water and cleaning solutions.

Spot-Free Water Purification Process

Spot-free water undergoes a purification process to remove contaminants from tap water that can cause streaks and spots on windows. This process is called reverse osmosis with deionization. Reverse Osmosis effectively removes dissolved minerals, salts, and impurities from water. RO water, being nearly mineral-free, helps prevent these unsightly residues. Deionization effectively removes both positively and negatively charged ions from water. This includes minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and other impurities. These minerals, if present in untreated water, can leave spots on windows as the water evaporates.

Customized Cleaning Formulations

The cleaning solutions utilized in drone window cleaning are carefully formulated to meet the specific challenges faced in outdoor, high-rise environments. These formulations includes cleaning agents that effectively break down dirt, grime, and pollutants adhering to building exteriors. The emphasis is not only on cleaning efficacy but also on environmental considerations, with eco-friendly formulations being preferred to minimize ecological impact that conventional cleaning agents ignore.

Soft Washing Windows

Soft washing is a specialized cleaning technique used in window cleaning, particularly for structures like buildings, roofs, and surfaces with delicate materials. Unlike pressure washing, which uses high-pressure water jets to forcefully remove dirt and grime, soft washing employs a gentler approach, combining low-pressure purified water delivery with specially formulated cleaning solutions that also keeps dirt and grime from adhering to windows for an extended period off time.

traditional window cleaners

Safety Considerations in Conventional Window Cleaning:

Conventional window cleaning, typically involving manual methods and traditional tools, requires a comprehensive focus on safety measures to ensure the well-being of the cleaning personnel and bystanders.

By utilizing drones, window cleaning companies are prioritizing safety. With reduced reliance on human workers to navigate heights, the risk of accidents is minimized. Drones are equipped with advanced obstacle avoidance technology, adding an extra layer of safety to the window cleaning process.

Cleaning Challenging Windows With Drones:

The ability of drones to access difficult-to-reach or inaccessible areas is a significant advantage. Whether it's windows on upper floors, confined spaces, or areas surrounded by obstacles, drones can reach these locations without the need for scaffolding, ladders, or other traditional equipment.

Vertical Mobility

Drones are designed for vertical mobility, enabling them to ascend and descend with ease. This capability is particularly advantageous when dealing with high-rise buildings or structures where traditional methods might be cumbersome or impractical.


Drones boast exceptional maneuverability, allowing them to navigate around architectural intricacies, such as protrusions, curves, and unique building designs. This flexibility ensures that they can reach windows located in challenging or tight spaces without the limitations of traditional access methods.

Precision Control

Drones offer precise control over their movements. This precision is crucial when approaching and cleaning specific windows, especially those requiring careful attention or located in areas with restricted access. Operators can navigate drones with accuracy, ensuring thorough cleaning without compromising safety.

Versatility in Altitude

Drones can operate at various altitudes, providing the flexibility to address windows at different heights within a building. This versatility is particularly beneficial for multi-story structures where each level may present unique challenges.

How Often Should Commercial Building Windows Be Professionally Cleaned?

Commercial Buildings

Commercial properties may require more frequent cleaning due to factors such as increased foot traffic, pollution, and exposure to the elements. Monthly or bi-monthly cleanings are common for businesses, but high-traffic areas might benefit from even more frequent cleaning.

High-Rise Buildings

High-rise buildings often have more stringent cleaning schedules. Depending on the location and environmental conditions, these buildings may require monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly professional window cleaning to maintain visibility and aesthetics.

Industrial Facilities

Industrial facilities may need specialized cleaning due to the presence of contaminants. The frequency of cleaning in industrial settings depends on the type of pollutants and the impact on window surfaces. Some facilities may require more frequent cleaning to comply with safety and regulatory standards.

Overcoming Airspace Challenges

aeronautical sectional of Washington DC airspace
Washington DC Airspace

Regulatory Compliance:

As with any emerging technology, the use of drones for window washing must comply with aviation regulations. Every drone window cleaning company who is operating in controlled airspace should be actively working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure safe and legal implementation.

Weather Considerations:

Adverse weather conditions can pose challenges for drone-assisted window washing. However, ongoing advancements in drone technology are addressing these concerns, making the process feasible in a variety of weather conditions.


Drones are not just airborne gadgets; they're transforming industries and redefining what's possible. The application of drones for window cleaning on commercial buildings is a testament to the power of technology in enhancing efficiency, safety, and sustainability in our modern world. As we look to the skies, we see not only a cleaner facade but a future where innovation takes flight.

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