The different methods used to clean windows, and why they matter

Toronto Window Cleaners utilizes a wide variety of equipment and techniques to deliver platinum-level service to our commercial and residential clients, and they all serve a purpose, depending on the property in question. Naturally, we possess the training, experience and credentials to implement these different pieces of equipment on a job site in a safe and secure manner, which is important when choosing a great window cleaning company to work with.

Many people have probably seen those brave fellows dangling from the side of a building as they work their magic, but how many know exactly what goes into the procedure? It’s fun to learn how professional window cleaners manage to tackle all those windows, and make them shine. That’s why we composed this article, to fill you in on the different pieces of equipment we use to tackle everything from your neighborhood home, to the towering skyscrapers of downtown Toronto!


Chances are, if you’ve ever seen a window cleaner doing his or her work against the outside of a building, they were utilizing the Bosun Chair method. It is by far the most common piece of equipment in the trade, and for good reason. It’s straightforward and easy to set up, and it offers all the flexibility a window cleaner needs to get to task, without any problems. Bosun Chair equipment is characterized by a quintessential climbing harness with a seat that gives the operator an immense amount of comfort, so they can focus on the task at hand. 

Heavy, reinforced strap mechanisms are designed to keep the operator in place, and safe, and some setups include extra strapping as an added safety precaution. The harness is suspended by a rope which allows the operator to ascend and descend the vertical height of a given property, allowing them to access every window on a particular face, before moving onto the next area. Toronto Window Cleaners utilizes this method in plenty of our day-to-day operations for our valued clients.


Most of us recognize the Swing State equipment setup, even if we didn’t know what it was called. This is one of the most recognizable window cleaning setups around, specifically when it comes to high-rise buildings like skyscrapers and larger condominiums. You’ve seen the setup – a mobile scaffolding system that allows more than one operator to clean multiple windows at any given time, for a speedy and brisk clean. The Swing Stage employs a “bucket” mechanism that allows operators to move freely from left to right, and it changes location via a large motor mechanism attached to a rail system that can raise and lower workers accordingly. 

Safety is a key component of the Swing Stage setup, and that means having at least two operators on board at any given time. Toronto Window Cleaners has utilized this method extensively for clients all across the GTA, and we are fully certified and professionally trained when it comes to handling the complexities of this most efficient setup.


BMU stands for “Building Maintenance Unit,” and it can take on several different forms which are all designed to maximize efficiency when it comes to window cleaning jobs. Though they may seem similar to Swing Stage setups, BMUs are different in some respects. Typically, you will see BMU systems implemented on high-rise buildings where ground space limitations are a factor. Not all buildings are constructed alike, which is where BMUs come into play. Many buildings have their own BMU systems in place, and that means third party personnel arriving on site to do a job require the technical expertise and training to jump right in and get the job done.

In many ways, pre-installed BMUs are highly advantageous, since they eliminate the need for a third party setup, while decreasing setup and teardown time. Toronto Window Cleaners has extensive knowledge and experience with multiple BMU types, and we constantly maintain our staff with regular training and certifications.


At first glance, most people would never be able to tell the difference between the aforementioned Bosun Chair method, and another window cleaning alternative known as Rope Access. If you fall into this category, don’t feel bad. It can indeed be hard to tell them apart, but there are key differences. First and foremost, Rope Access methods allow operators a greater degree of flexibility and movement compared to Bosun Chair. This is especially handy for properties with hard to reach spots that require a bit more flexibility to get to. Rope Access gives greater freedom of movement, particularly on the horizontal axis, which can be preferable for particular properties. 

Second, Rope Access operators are IRATA/SPRAT-certified, which is a thorough training program that incorporates rescue techniques and trauma-related education, which directly aids in reducing the risk of operator injury. Finally, the need for less on-site manpower means quicker setup, work and teardown times, which can be great when it comes to lowering costs. For specific jobs, Rope Access is definitely the go-to standard.


Similar in appearance to a Swing Stage setup, Aerial Work Platforms are technical pieces of equipment designed for a multitude of exterior maintenance jobs including painting, decorating, refurbishing, and of course, window cleaning. The setup is trademarked by its use of multiple electric LTD hoists and support wheels suspended by steel wire ropes from a suspension structure, allowing for rapid ascend and descent. They come equipped with a service brake in the hoist, plus multiple safety features including fall arrest locks, overload sensors and emergency stop, to name a few. 

High-rise buildings frequently rely on the Aerial Work Platform method to clean windows, and they’re well suited for the job. They are designed with user-friendliness and safety in mind, and their versatility allows them to be deployed on most properties without hassle. Aerial Work Platforms are defined by the sheer amount of jobs they can handle, but we at Toronto Window Cleaners utilize them for our primary purpose – to make your exterior windows sparkle!


We hope this helped you understand the many different techniques and equipment setups we use to service our clients throughout the GTA, and we look forward to working with you when it comes to keeping your property looking fantastic, from the first floor, to the top floor. Contact us today, and let’s work out a package designed specifically for your property!