You mean we have to clean the screens too? Why clean the screens, it's not glass? Well cleaning the screens are a very important part of window cleaning and should always be done. It makes no sense to have the windows cleaned and put dirty screens back on in front of the window pane. If it rains you can bet those windows are going to be dirty again right away.
When it comes to screen cleaning, not every customer wants to have them done, thinking it will save some money. It may save the customer some money but as soon as the wind kicks up or it rains, all the money they just spent to get their windows cleaned, just cost them even more. So be sure to mention that to the customers if they tell you they don't want to have them done. It's more money for you and better service for them. If you offer a rain guarantee on your work, be sure that guarantee is void if they don't have their screens cleaned.
There are two ways to offer screen cleaning. One way is to have screens as an additional add-on. Some window cleaners charge for the window to be cleaned and then charge additional if the customer wants their screens cleaned, sills wiped, tracks cleaned and so on. The other method is to offer an all inclusive, so that the screens are already apart of the price you quote them. I personally recommend the all inclusive. This way you know they are going to have great looking windows and you don't have to sell them on the other features.
So let's talk about the basics of cleaning screens. There are a few ways to clean screens and I will teach you how to do three of them that I think are the most effective. First there is the dry brush method. Second is a wet cloth knock out method. Last is the wet cloth and hose method.
The dry cloth method should only be used on screens that are pretty clean to begin with, especially screens that fit into the window inside the house as opposed to outside. If the screens are outside then they better look like new already or you risk having dirt on the window when it rains next, which could result in a very unhappy customer. The dry method is simple and fast. I like to use a dry washcloth, I then wipe the cloth from top to bottom back and forth across the screen. Once you finish one side be sure to flip the screen and do the other side. To finish be sure to wipe down the entire metal frame holding the screen.
Next is the wet method, which is very effective for cleaning and will result in great looking screens. To start you use your washing wand and scrub the screen like you would a window, be sure to clean both sides of the screen. It helps to scrub in circle motions. Next you raise the screen a little higher then waist level and then tap the end furthest from you on the ground to knock out most of the soapy water. Flip the screen around and tap out the other side. Then you grab a wet washcloth that has been rung out and flick it against the screen almost parallel to the screen to get out the rest. Swat at the screen like you were throwing darts at the ground, except with the rag in your hand. Be sure to wipe down the metal frame at the end.
The last method is pretty much like the second method except in the interest of saving your arms from a lot of hard work, you use a hose with a spray nozzle attached to wash out the soapy water instead of so much swatting at the screen with the wet washcloth. It's important to get all the soap out of the screen or it will dry white. This is the best method to clean out all the soap and save your arm. However this method could potentially take more time as you will need to gather up all the screens to one washing location, as where the other methods you could clean on the spot where the screen go or gather to locations for each side of the house.
When cleaning the screens you want to develop a method to know where the screens go. You don't need to know each window, just which side of the house the screens belong to. If you keep screens on each side of the house already, then you might make piles of first and second floor for each side of the house. Good organization will help you put the screens back faster, also some screens might look the same size but might be off a little, making for a tight fit if put in the screen in the wrong window. This can come back to haunt you when you go to take it out again, assuming you will be cleaning that house again in the future.
Some window cleaners will actually mark the frame of the screen indicating where it goes, however I don't think it's necessary, and more importantly it's not very considerate of your customers property, so be sure to get permission if you decide to mark them. Another thing some window cleaners do is to scrub the screens with a brush as opposed to a washing wand. Both work, however I find the washing wand to be faster. You can also play around with other cleaning chemicals to get the screens cleaned, I however try and avoid any chemical and stick with Dawn Ultra for all my cleaning. If you decide to try some chemicals be sure to wear protective gloves and goggles.