Apple Window Cleaning: Breaking free of grime so you can enjoy the view

By Leah Hochbaum Rosner  | March 6, 2013 - 12:55PM

New York City apartments can have some amazing views, but if you can’t see them, are they really there? Apple Window Cleaning—the focus of this week’s Real. Est. List Spotlight Series—knows they are.

In business for more than 20 years, the company and its army of cleaners aim to fix up even the grimiest of windows, leaving them crisp, clear and streak-free.

“Surprisingly, the insides of the windows are actually dirtier than the outsides a lot of the time,” says Apple's manager, Tom Bulawa, whose father, former window cleaner Mitch Bulawa, started the firm in the early ‘90s. Smoke—from cigars, cigarettes or everyday cooking—can leave interior windows with a gritty film that residents don’t always realize they can probably deal with on their own with a little bit of Windex.

Still, it’s the exterior windows that present the biggest challenges to residents. And Apple, named for the city it calls home, knows what to do to get the job done.

Apple isn't all about windows, though. The company, which has eight employees and services the entire Tri-State area, also cleans carpets and upholstery, floors and Venetian blinds.

They also do after-renovation clean-up for folks in the aftermath of repairs or upgrades large or small.

The firm services a wide variety of residential and commercial buildings, private houses and businesses, and does a fair amount of work cleaning store windows. “We do those about once a week,” says Bulawa, who notes that windows at ground-level tend to attract more dirt due to their close proximity to traffic.

How it works

Building management or individual apartment dwellers call Apple's Midtown office to set up a free estimate or just get a price quote over the phone.

“We know a lot of the buildings in the city and usually know what kinds of windows they have and how long it should take,” says Bulawa, who, like his father before him, also cleaned windows in his younger days. Pricing varies according to the size and type of the window, but average windows are $14 each.

Cleaners—armed with squeegees, window cleaning wands and buckets filled with a mix of ammonia and commercial soap specially formulated to clean windows—will show up at the appointed time and get to the business at hand.

They’ll typically do the interior windows first. Many open inward so they can get the outsides squeaky clean without any problems. But for those that don’t, Apple’s cleaners will simply sit on the windowsill, lean out and use long wands in order to get the outsides clean.

“We don’t recommend that to non-professionals,” says Bulawa. 

Window cleaning tips for amateurs

  • Clean windows regularly: No, you don’t have to do it every day, or even every week, says Bulawa. Every 3-4 months with Windex should suffice.
  • For a streak-free shine: Place a dry rubber blade at the top of the window and pull down in one smooth stroke. Dry the blade with a rag between strokes. If you don't keep a blade handy, try a wadded-up newspaper. It leaves less lint behind than a paper towel.
  • Be wary of cleaning products that claim to work miracles: Some store-bought glass cleaners can do more harm than good, according to Bulawa, since they contain chemicals that actually weaken glass. Make sure you’re using a brand you trust—Bulawa recommends Windex—on your windows to the world.
  • Leave exteriors to the professionals: Leaning precariously out of anything higher than a ground-level window could obviously have tragic consequences. Experienced window cleaners can get the job done safely and reliably.

Check out The Real.Est. List, the ultimate real estate guide and resource directory for all those who buy, rent, sell or dwell in NYC. Want to get listed and put your business in the Spotlight Gallery? Click here to get started or email us.        

More from The Spotlight Gallery:

Get Maid: Finding, booking and paying for a qualified cleaner via Smartphone

The Appliance Doctor: Quick fixes for impatient New Yorkers in a high-end appliance world

All Week Walls: Never take bedroom number at face value again Alerting EVERYONE who needs to know about your new address (plus, help setting up the cable)



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