When people think of window cleaners, they usually imagine someone hanging off the side of a high-rise building on a window washing carriage or swing. They see all the ropes, the buckets, the water, and the squeegees and sponges. They see people with extreme attention to detail and the patience to clean an entire building. Now, not everyone that cleans windows for a living does it on a sky scraper, but the essential tools of the trade are generally the same. There is usually safety equipment, a water source, chemicals, and tools. But one of the most overlooked and essential pieces of equipment is a good pair of waterproof gloves.
It doesn’t matter if you clean windows for single family homes or sky scrapers, a quality waterproof glove can make a huge difference in productivity, safety, and comfort. A good pair of gloves should be extremely durable, but also provide enough grip to manipulate tools and equipment controls. One of the best features to have is waterproofing. When working in cold or wet conditions, keeping the hands warm and dry prevents accidents and injuries. Gloves are mainly important for cleaning exterior surfaces, but waterproof gloves will keep cleaning water and chemicals off your hands when cleaning interior windows and other surfaces as well.
Gloves are just part of the equipment requirements for the job, but they make the foundation of a successful set of equipment. You might be using sponges, squeegees, brushes, chemicals, scaffolding, ladders, safety harnesses, and lifts. All these things need to be manipulated and utilized in all conditions, from a nice warm and dry interior to a wet and cold exterior job high in the air. You need a pair of waterproof gloves that can keep up with this wide variety of demanding conditions. They also need to provide a good enough grip to move heavy equipment around the job site, but tactile enough to manipulate tape or other things requiring fine motor skills.
The perfect glove is highly dependent on what you need. If you are going to be working in hot and swampy conditions on single story houses, there are certain requirements for that. If you are cleaning sky scraper windows in Chicago during the spring or fall, you will need a different type of glove. Your gloves must work with all your equipment. From making it easy to manipulate safety equipment like ropes and harnesses, to controlling the spray on an aerosol can of a cleaning product, a good pair of gloves must feel as if they aren’t even there. There is nothing worse than being half way through a job and having a glove rip or tear. Regardless of the job, that just slows down productivity and can affect your grip on tools or equipment, making it a safety hazard. Selecting the right pair of gloves might just save your life!
Top 6 Waterproof Gloves for Window Cleaning
These gloves are offered in multiple sizes, are coated in nitrile waterproofing, and have a latex foam grip in the palm. This instantly makes them better than a one size fits all rubber kitchen glove! They are also oil resistant and insulated for use in cold environments. However, they are not winter mittens, so they are more than capable of operating in warmer conditions, and are not bulky, which would limit the tactile ability of the wearer. They were designed for use in the cold, and people report being able to perform any task they need with them in all sorts of cold weather conditions. These are also a bright color combination of blue, orange, and black, so they will be hard to lose. Unlike other gloves, the waterproofing extends around the entire hand, not just the palm. This makes them much more capable of keeping your hands dry during prolong cleaning jobs. The latex foam grip allows the user to hold onto ropes, ladders, and handles of various tools, which makes everything easier throughout the day. No need to take the gloves off just to adjust the extension ladder or anything like that. This product comes as a two pack, so even if you lose a glove you have back up!
- Double layered waterproof protection
- Highly visible for use on the jobsite
- Comes as a two pack
- Extremely grippy palm
- Not lined for heat retention
- Not rated for cut or abrasion resistance
- Double dipped and tough palm limits flexibility
- Not form fitting
These gloves are even harder to lose than the ATM water proof gloves. They are bright orange and black and are so bright they almost glow in the dark. They’re made of polyester weave and insulation with a heavy-duty nitrile foam palm. This nitrile foam allows the worker able to manipulate tools, and even touch screen phones! The polyester material and nitrile foam keep the hands dry and warm for work in all conditions. There is an acrylic liner as well that helps retain heat and wick moisture away from the skin. In fact, this liner has two layers of acrylic material to retain maximum heat retention. They have an abrasion rating of 4, blade cut resistance of 1, tear resistance of 3, and puncture resistance of 2. They are tight enough to make delicate manipulations easy, but do not restrict blood flow.
- Highly visible
- Comes as a two pack
- The base glove provides flexibility, while the palm retains it grippy texture
- Great for cold or frozen conditions
- Long term durability is limited for some buyers
- Nitrile coating is only on the palms and front of the fingers
- Manufacturer claim of touch screen capability may be overstated
- Liner may make these unsuitable for work in hot climates
These gloves have a double dipped nitrile grip to provide waterproof protection to the entire hand, as well as providing an excellent gripping surface. The non-latex wrist material allows for flexibility, while protecting the wrist from debris and abrasions. It comes in multiples sizes for a variety of wearers. The material around the fingers and hand are made of an HDPE cut resistant material, making these gloves an excellent multi-purpose use glove. These also come as a two pack, with a money back guarantee. These gloves aren’t just waterproof, they are also oil and chemical proof. The chemical proof nature is probably limited by the strength and acidity or base of the chemical, but it’s a nice feature to have in a glove. It will at least give you time to pull them off and save the skin on your hands if you touch something nasty. And since it comes as a two pack, you can just put on your extra pair and keep working!
- Comes as a two pack
- Extremely cut and abrasion resistant
- Chemical and oil resistant
- Latex free for those with allergies
- The double dipped nitrile coating on the fingers makes them a bit stiff
- Cold weather use reduces life of the glove
- Some users report that once the grip starts to come off, the rest is degraded quickly
- Limited lifespan in construction work
These gloves are constructed out of a light weight nylon, with a reinforced polyurethane palm. This allows for flexibility, while keeping the hands dry. They come in several different sizes, and snugly fit the hand to allow for maximum tactile control. They also have an elastic wrist to keep them from slipping off during work. This wrist also prevents debris from falling into the glove while cleaning. These seem to be marketed towards those in manufacturing and automotive jobs but seem to be a good choice for those in window washing. The gloves have an ANSI cut rating of 1, and ANSI abrasion resistance level of 3 from durability testing. They offer as much tightness and almost as much flexibility as standard medical nitrile gloves but are much tougher and can handle much more abuse. They are the most expensive gloves on the list, and it is only one pair, but they do have a lot of good reviews.
- Cut and abrasion resistance rated
- Form fitting
- Plenty of size options
- Elastic wrist retains the glove during work
- Most expensive on the list
- Some buyers report the fingers being too short
- Limited durability and lifespan
- Variance in quality of production
- Much less grippy palm and fingers than some of the other gloves on this list
These gloves are highly visible and reflective, making them perfect for outdoor, round the clock work. They are double layered, latex dipped, acrylic lined gloves that keep the palms dry and the hands warm. The grip is similar to sandpaper (not as rough, obviously), which helps maintain a good grip on wet or slick tools. They are also breathable, making them good for warm weather. The wrist is elastic knit, to hold the gloves on, as well as the retain heat in the hands. They are form fitting, helping the wearer to manipulate small tools and nozzles. The form fit is also seamless, which prevents water from getting in through the sewn seam of other gloves. The latex coating retains flexibility and grip in cold and wet conditions, making them perfect for outdoors sports like fishing, not just washing windows. With how reflective they are, they would also be a good choice for people working near busy roads.
- Durable and flexible
- Latex dipped for protection in all conditions
- Reflective coating makes these an excellent choice for road construction
- Extremely grippy for maximum tool retention
- Not suitable for sustained use in freezing conditions
- Limited sizes
- Runs large for some buyers
- Not suitable for those with latex allergies
No list of waterproof gloves would be complete without some leather gloves. While these are synthetic leather, so not quite as durable as the real McCoy, they do offer the same tactile control and feel of leather gloves. They also don’t lose their waterproofing over time, as leather gloves tend to do. The back of this glove is highly visible, making it a good choice for low light or other dangerous conditions. Unlike some other gloves on this list, it has an adjustable Velcro wrist, which makes the glove a bit more customizable to the individual buyer. These gloves are also a good choice for cold conditions, as they have 3M Thinsulate insulation to help retain heat in the hands. It also has a breathable waterproof membrane, so it protects the hands from exterior water while allowing sweat to evaporate.
- 3M Thinsulate insulation
- Breathable waterproof membrane
- Reflective and brightly colored
- Adjustable wrist strap for comfort
- Synthetic leather is not as durable as the real thing
- Not as waterproof as latex or nitrile gloves
- Come apart as the seams after hard wear
- Some user report needing to break them in to get desired flexibility, but the break in process may reduce water proofing
There are so many options available to someone looking for gloves for use in window washing. It’s a difficult decision, especially with so many options and features to choose from. Some are reflective, some are cut and abrasion resistant, and other are lined for warmth. Some even come as two packs! They range in cost from $8 to $28, but all would make an excellent choice for cleaning windows. The gloves presented here will keep your hands safe and dry across a variety of conditions. They can be used for all sorts of jobs, from standing on the ground wiping windows with a squeegee, to hanging off the side of a building in a safety harness using chemicals to remove bird poop in such a way that it leaves a streak free shine. Whether you are looking for something for cold weather, or something form fitting, or even something that will let you use your smart phone, there is a glove for you.