How are Windows Cleaned on Skyscrapers?

Skyscrapers dominate our city skylines with their impressive heights and glass facades, but have you ever wondered how they keep all those skyscraper windows clean, especially the ones so high up?

Cleaning windows on skyscrapers is more than using a ladder and soap; it involves special techniques and equipment. For instance, rope access systems, cradles, and MEWPS (Mobile Elevated Work Platforms) are commonly used, as regular window cleaning methods do not work hundreds of feet above the ground. 

In this blog, we will delve into the world of skyscraper window cleaning, exploring the methods used and the crucial safety precautions that high-rise window cleaners must take. 

Why do skyscrapers windows need to be cleaned?

Skyscraper windows require regular cleaning for both aesthetic and practical reasons. Not only do clean windows enhance the appearance of a building both internally and externally, they also provide many benefits, including these:

  • Longevity of windows: Over time, accumulated dirt and grime can corrode and damage window surfaces. Regular cleaning of skyscrapers will extend the lifespan of windows and reduce the need for costly repairs or replacements. 
  • Natural light: Clean windows allow more natural light to enter the building, reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day.
  • Maintain property value: Regular window cleaning will maintain a skyscraper’s property value by preserving its exterior condition.
  • Employee satisfaction: Clean windows improve working environments in office buildings. Natural light and clear views outside can boost employees’ morale and productivity.
three window cleaners using abseiling to clean windows of a high rise office building

How often do skyscraper windows get cleaned?

The frequency of skyscraper window cleaning varies based on weather conditions, building location, and client preferences. In urban areas like London, windows are typically washed every few months to maintain cleanliness and clarity. In contrast, less polluted or rural buildings require less frequent cleaning.

Key factors influencing cleaning frequency include:

  • Location: Urban pollution levels necessitate more frequent cleaning.
  • Climate: Rainfall and wind patterns can affect how quickly windows get dirty.
  • Building Use: Commercial buildings often require more frequent cleaning than residential ones.

How safe is skyscraper window cleaning?

Skyscraper window cleaning can be a risky job that requires careful safety measures. Window cleaners use special equipment, such as harnesses and safety ropes, to ensure their safety while working on high-rise buildings.

Window cleaners must undergo comprehensive training to learn safety protocols, understand building structures, respond to emergencies, and maintain equipment. Getting certified is important to show they know how to work safely, and they must keep training to stay current. 

UK Regulations on Cleaning Skyscraper Windows

In the UK, the government and various organisations, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local councils, set strict rules to ensure the safety of skyscraper window cleaners. These regulations cover aspects like wind speed limits for safe working conditions and equipment standards, and these rules ensure that everyone stays safe and that workers do their jobs properly.

Here are some of the critical regulations overseen by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local councils in the UK:

Work at Height regulations (2005) specifically address the risks associated with work at height, including window cleaning. This law ensures that cleaning at height is planned, supervised, and carried out safely, preventing health risks. 

Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) Employers must ensure their employees’ health, safety, and welfare. This includes anyone doing high-level window cleaning. The law aims to prevent accidents and protect workers’ well-being. 

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1988) applies to equipment used for high-level window cleaning. It mandates that equipment be suitable for the job, regularly maintained and used safely. 

Methods for Skyscraper Window Cleaning

Skyscraper window cleaning in the UK employs a variety of specialised methods to maintain the pristine appearance of tall building windows. These methods include: 

Rope Access / Abseiling Window Cleaning

Abseiling, or rope access window cleaning, involves highly trained professionals descending from the rooftop of skyscrapers using ropes and harnesses. This method is ideal for cleaning skyscraper window cleaners, providing direct access to difficult-to-reach areas. 


  • Often more cost-effective compared to other access systems
  • Minimises disruption to people and daily activities in the building
  • Allows cleaners to work precisely on all parts of the skyscraper
abseiling window cleaning 5 windows cleaning using abseils to clean high rise windows

MEWPS / Cherry Picker Window Cleaning

MEWPS, or cherry pickers, are hydraulic platforms mounted on trucks or trailers. They are an ideal method for skyscraper windows because they can be moved to different heights and angles along buildings. Cherry pickles are especially handy in cities where ground access is available, but direct roof access may be limited. 


  • Can reach windows at different heights and positions easily
  • Can accommodate multiple cleaners in the platform for faster and more efficient window cleaning
cherry picker window cleaning

Cradle Window Cleaning

Cradles are motorised platforms suspended from skyscraper rooftops that move horizontally and vertically. They are ideal for regularly cleaning skyscrapers as they provide a stable platform for cleaners to work from, reducing the physical demands compared to rope access. Cradle window cleaning allows cleaners to cover large areas efficiently and quickly while maintaining workers’ safety. 


  • Ensures safety of window cleaner with secure attachments and harnesses
  • Reaches all parts of the building, even hard-to-reach spots. 
commercial window cleaning, all clean services, professional window cleaners cleaning high rise windows using cradle

Challenges faced with Skyscraper Window Cleaning

Cleaning windows on skyscrapers involves a unique set of challenges beyond typical window cleaning. These are the most common challenges: 

  1. Weather Conditions: Unpredictable weather, like high winds and rain, can affect visibility and make surfaces slippery, requiring careful scheduling based on forecasts. 
  2. Height and Accessibility: To reach windows located a hundred feet above the ground, specialised equipment like cradles, cherry pickers, and rope access methods are necessary.
  3. Building design: Skyscrapers vary in design, and some can feature irregular shapes or recessed windows, so window cleaners must navigate these
  4. Safety risks: Working at heights poses risks like falls and equipment malfunctions. Cleaners must undergo rigorous training.

Thats a wrap on.. skyscraper window cleaning

We hope this blog has given you a clear understanding of the complexities and techniques of cleaning skyscraper windows. 

Professional window cleaners use various techniques, such as rope access, MEWPS, and cradle systems. Regular window cleaning not only makes skyscrapers look better and last longer but also offers many benefits for those working there. 

By highlighting the risks and safety measures taken by skilled window cleaners, you should now appreciate the effort and expertise needed to keep our city skylines shining. 

If you are looking for skyscraper window maintenance, contact the team at All Clean London. 

cradle window cleaning all clean services office buildings
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