Commercial Window Cleaning Drones
Robotics Window cleaning Cleaning equipment

Are drones the future of commercial window cleaning?

Monday, 13 December 2021

Window cleaning has developed a great deal in the last decade or two, with extendable poles and ionised water making the cleaning of windows quick and fuss free. However, tools that can be used on lower-level domestic buildings cannot reach the heights or cope with the complexities of the modern high rise that are commonly cleaned by commercial cleaning companies.

Technology for improved facade cleaning and ergonomics

Technology has played a large part in the development of commercial window cleaning. It has always been a tough job to reach windows on tall buildings or large facilities. This is where clever tech has stepped in and aided or replaced the human operative in these hard-to-reach areas, enabling the windows of commercial buildings to be cleaned by drone or robot.

This has allowed for safer more targeted facade cleaning and improved ergonomics, making cleaning operatives more productive, as they use technology to get the job done more efficiently, whilst ensuring a higher level of safety at the same time. Safe cleaning is of paramount importance as commercial window cleaning challenges increase.

The rise of drones for Window Cleaning

With ever taller and more unusual-shaped buildings filling our skylines comes the challenge of cleaning these towering, often predominantly glass, frontages. Some windows could simply not be cleaned with traditional manpower and a bucket of water. They are too difficult to reach even with cleaning platforms, ropes and scaffolding that one would see being used by commercial cleaners in the past.

This is where cleaning drones are making a big difference, allowing for remote cleaning that is both efficient and unobtrusive. Cleaning drones can be programmed to fly to the required height and target specific hard to reach areas that need cleaning. This technology has turned the cleaning operative into more of a cleaning programmer, dispensing with the need to take on difficult and dangerous sky-high cleaning jobs.

Are Window Cleaning robots replacing staff?

Robotic cleaning has also allowed commercial cleaning companies to reduce their staff numbers, as manual labour is often immediately reduced when technology becomes involved. This use of modern tech has been of particular help to companies during the pandemic, when perhaps human operatives could not work or there was a lack of staff able to fulfil commercial cleaning duties.

Going forward, technology will increasingly become part of our everyday lives in the 21st century. This will inevitably enable increased efficiencies and reduce the staff numbers needed in a myriad of manual working sectors such as the commercial window cleaning industry.

Employing technology, like cleaning drones, allows for enhanced levels of safety and service whilst reducing staff numbers. This reduced reliance on human operatives can be seen by some as a negative side of technology however, often prompting people to complain that robots are taking their jobs away.

But with a hard to carry out job like commercial cleaning, technology can only help to improve efficiency and offer an enhanced service. Robots can simply reach the parts that humans can’t! We have to balance these benefits with the inevitable reduction in human labour and find ways for people to work with robots in harmony.

The advantages of Window Cleaning technology

The increasing technological capabilities of drones has encouraged the cleaning and hygiene world to sit up and take notice of this clever tool. As well as cleaning, drones can also make inspections of buildings, finding and filming places that need to be cleaned or have deteriorated due to layers of dirt.

Unlike the traditional method of cleaning tall buildings via scaffolding, using window cleaning drones dispenses with the expensive set up and dismantling of equipment. This makes using drones for commercial cleaning far quicker and more cost effective. Cleaning drones are often quite large compared to regular drones and they can carry heavier loads, such as cleaning fluids and equipment.

The advantages of window cleaning drones:

  • Drones can reach parts humans can't
  • Drones can make inspections of buildings and find places that need cleaned
  • They are far quicker
  • It's more cost effective
  • They can carry heavy loads 

Two types of Window Cleaning drones

There are two kinds of window cleaning drones that have emerged on the market in recent years. One type is an automated cleaner in itself. It has a cleaning solution and a squeegee on the drone. A pilot flies it up to each window, applies the cleaner and then cleans it off. These can reach great heights but can’t quite match the level of cleaning perfection a human can achieve!

The other type of drone is one that assists a human window cleaner. They are especially useful for window cleaners who are on scaffolding platforms or abseiling down tall buildings to clean windows. When on a ladder, scaffold, or abseiling, a window cleaner is often very limited in what equipment they can carry.

That’s when a drone that can assist a window cleaner with the job they are doing becomes extremely useful. An operative on the ground can fly equipment on a drone quickly up to the cleaner to enable them to carry seamlessly on with the job, without having to get up and down a building to replenish equipment.

Window Cleaning technology at Interclean

Cleaning drones are becoming more targeted and efficient year by year. A great place to see a range of cleaning drones and robots is the Interclean Show in Amsterdam. The number one destination for the cleaning and hygiene industry, Interclean brings together the world’s best cleaning technology under one roof.

To find out more about Interclean 2022 visit

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