Window washing isn’t one of those jobs which strikes you as fun, has a ton of benefits, or one in which you can “climb the social ladder.” In fact, you would think that it was either boring or extremely risky. While there is no way to downplay the danger involved, these window washers have seen their fair share of drama, and their stories prove it to be true. From small buildings and homes to highrises, these men and women get a special glimpse into others lives, and here is what they’ve reported back.
40. The Janitor Who Washed Windows
“I’m not a skyscraper window washer but a janitor who had to wash the windows in a 6-story building as part of my job. I used a mix of ladders and rappelling down from the roof with a harness to clean the outside windows. One day, I was washing the outside windows on the executive floor where all the bosses and higher up employees had their offices. I was done with one window, so I moved to the next window.
I looked in and saw the CEO of the company snorting something in his office with the door locked and the lights off. He looked up and saw me in the window, and we made uncomfortable eye contact for about 15 seconds, then I just pretended I saw nothing and kept washing the windows. Neither of us expected to find ourselves in that situation, and we were both caught off guard so we just kinda stared for lack of anything better to do at that moment. He later tipped me $200. It was the easiest money that I’ve made.”
39. Contemplating My Life Choices
“I’m not the window washer, but I had an unusual interaction with one. I used to live in a high-rise condo. Sometimes the window cleaners go up the side of the building where my small bathroom window is. One Saturday morning, after a crazy night out, I ended up needing to take a really serious dump. So, I opened up the window and sat down on my toilet, hungover, with my eyes closed thinking about where I went wrong in the life choices that lead me to this moment where death seemed like a reasonable alternative.
Then I hear my window close. The window cleaner needed to close it to go up higher. Cue the slow ascent of their window elevator thing; they saw me destroying my toilet. We made eye contact, and I gave him the universal ‘nod’ of understanding. He gave me one back and continued his slow ascent upwards at like an inch a second.”
38. Missing Out On It
“My roommate had just started working for a chain window washing company and was just learning to rappel down the side of the building. While going down side by side with another person who is teaching him the ropes, he says you’re in for a treat there is a bunch of ladies on the next floor down that have a habit of flashing the window washers. When they get to the next floor, surely enough, they get a bit of a show as they do their work. They smile, wave, and move on.
Around that same time, I get a call from my mom and talk to her about plans we have to meet up on the weekend when I hear a commotion in the background. I ask her what’s up and she says the younger staff have a tradition that is happening, and she says she ‘missed out on it this time.’ We make plans, and she says to invite my roommate over for dinner as well. Dinner comes around, and even though my roommate and mom have met each other before, he gets the sense he has seen her recently, but can’t place her. As you have probably guessed, she was on the phone in the background of the flashing. I later found out my mom regularly flashes the window washers at work.”
37. The Animal Costume Party
“A few years back, at the age of seventeen, I took a full 3-day safety training course on window washing and worked part-time at a Holiday Inn in Chicago to get quick cash. Me and my partner at the time were almost done with our shift as it becomes close to dark. As we get to this one room, it was oddly brighter than the others.
We see a group of people in animal costumes rubbing and smacking each other. We were like what the heck? The room was full of glitter on the floors and had a bunch of rainbow-colored something sprayed on the walls. We wanted to finish quick. As we started descending, they caught us and gave us what looked like sharp looks, but we weren’t sure because of the animal heads and bodies they had on. We booked it and told the front desk what was up. After they checked it out, they got back to us and told us they kicked them out for damages the room.”
36. The Visiting College Professor
“I was working and living in a 10-story luxury condo building in a large city overlooking a world-class park. I’m the onsite maintenance guy. For about 10 hours a week of work, I got a ground floor apartment, and all utilities paid. The outside management company I work for casually mentions that painters will be there on Monday morning and to make sure that they are given access. Two men show up with full rigging to hang off the roof and start painting the exterior of windows. I take them to the roof and go about my day. Not 15 minutes later they come tearing out of the freight elevator all freaked out. Said they needed to wait at least half an hour before going back.
When we sat down to drink some coffee, they just started busting up laughing, and I had to know what happened. What happened was this: They had rigged the walk board and lowered it to the first set of windows at the penthouse and arrived to find this woman (a visiting professor) writhing around on the bed, enjoying some “alone time.” After 30 long seconds, she sees them and jumps up to pull the drapes closed. We later learned that she was in town to teach a class at a prestigious university for the next three months and had a contract so she couldn’t just leave. Cue 3 months of said professor leaving at dawn and coming back really late at night to avoid any staff.”
35. My Annual Visit
“I was at the gynecologist for my annual visit waiting for the doctor to come in. I’m sitting in the chair, half-naked with my feet in the stirrups, facing the window when I start to see the ropes and men coming up to the next floor.
I have never been frozen in fear like that in my life. Luckily the receptionist ran in at the last second and closed the blinds before they came up.”
34. The Door to The Basement
“When I was in college, I worked at a window washing company that also did cleaning door and window frames. We were at a large mansion, and one of my colleagues needed to go inside. He came back out and asked me to come in and help him. There was a reason he didn’t want to go alone.
He opened the wrong door (to the basement), and there was this altar with some weird stuff and a small skull on it (thought it was from a monkey or something). My boss later told me the house belonged to masons and that they would gather and have meetings there, although I don’t know if masons have altars and the likes. Washing the mansion got a bit weird after our find.”
33. The Dance from Fortnite
“When I worked on the framework at an apartment complex, and I also got to work on the window. One day, I was working on the window of a child’s room when suddenly a kid (must’ve been around eight years old) appeared.
The boy was only wearing underwear, and when he saw me, he came up to the window and did the backpack dance from Fortnite. All I wanted was to change the window, but this he followed and continued until I got to the next apartment. It was a very uncomfortable situation.”
32. The Moving Blinds
“My friend was a window washer at a high-rise building, and he noticed a note on a window one day that said, “meet at 6 pm for BJ.” He and his buddy just laughed it off and kept cleaning, but it happened four more times that week. So, one day they’re just cleaning away at the exact spot, and they notice the blinds in a window moving a little bit. Whatever no big deal.
Next someone starts peeking out the blinds. So, they’re like what the heck is this person doing? The blinds suddenly open, and a middle-aged man completely naked is standing in front of them aggressively playing with his nether region.”
31. Stories from My Uncle
“My uncle was telling us all his wild window washing stories the other day. He was saying how he caught this one executive suit-type squatting over his trash bin to take a dump. And it wasn’t a one-time thing.
He said he caught the same guy several times pooping in his trash. Designer suit pants draped on the back of his chair. Almost as if he goes through some ritual preparation to be able to ‘relieve himself’ in his trash.”
30. The Priest Upstairs
“I only did the job for about 8 or 9 months but saw some surprising things. I got to the top of the ladder and saw a guy I know to be a priest, enjoying some porn. I scurried back down the ladder, hoping he would hear me and then slowly went back up.
He had heard me because when I got back to the window, he was standing up reading a bible.
29. The University President’s House
“It wasn’t a high-rise, but used to be a residential window washer, and sometimes clients would want the inside cleaned in addition to the outside. It was the home of the city’s university president, and it was absolutely disgusting.
We would find dog feces lying around, dirty dishes all over the kitchen. We also found photos soaking in some kind of oil or grease.”
28. A Well-Known Actor In West Hollywood
“When I used to work as a window cleaner for a building in West Hollywood. I would often see many famous people in the building; not mega-famous people, but well-known actors and actresses.
One day I was just cleaning the window as normal. This particular window had the blinds down while I was cleaning. One side of the blinds broke down, and I saw a celebrity licking his dog’s junk. I cannot erase the image from my mind.”
27. The Pee in the Potted Plant
“My boyfriend has done a lot of high-rise window washing. As he was doing his thing, a man walked into an office, unzipped his pants, proceeded to pee into a potted plant, and walked back out as soon as he was done doing his business.
The man was never aware that he had an audience.”
26. The Hospital Operating Room
“I was a window washer for a hospital, where some operating rooms have windows. During my shifts, I would see all sorts of things.
The doctors just waved at me as I could see peoples’ midsection cut open on a table. I almost threw up down the side of the building. It never got old.”
25. The Red-Head with the Shotgun
“I was a window cleaner in New York, and I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff, but I guess if I had to narrow it down to the single craziest one, it’d have to be this. There I was cleaning the windows as I normally do, and I roll down to this one office that is set up in such a way that I’m pretty unnoticeable. It’s a fairly large office, and half of the windows are covered by shelves. Additionally, the desk is kind of cater-cornered so even if you’re facing the desk toward me, you’re still not likely to see me.
So, there I am cleaning the window and in runs this beautiful red-headed woman holding a shotgun. The man at the desk immediately freaks out and stands up with his hands in the air. I can’t hear anything through the window, but I can see that they’re shouting at each other. After a few minutes, he ends up taking off his clothes, and they’re completely naked. I guess she told him to do this. She then follows suit and also gets completely naked. And then she gets on top of him, and they start going at it while she holds the shotgun to his head the entire time. After a few minutes, they spot me at the window. I freeze. I have no idea what to do. There’s this crazy woman with a shotgun staring at me. So I do what anyone else in my position would do: I finish the job.”
24. Squeegee Sell-Out
“I worked for a window cleaning company that had us work the ground contracts when we weren’t hanging from the ropes. That is when I get to wash the windows at a local bank. Usually, I would hit a window, and the person on the other side would turn from their work and wave or leave their office. I hit this banker’s window from the outside, and it instantly struck me as weird cause he hasn’t turned or acknowledged me at all. I start squeegeeing his window, and I realize why. He is intently watching a very niche erotic film in his office, with the door closed. I was stuck there for a minute taken aback by his brazenness in the middle of the workday on a work computer. I snap to and remember he could still turn around, and I don’t want to make this situation any more awkward than it was. I tried to finish quickly and quietly, and no one has to know what I’ve just seen.
That’s when my squeegee betrays me and LOUDLY hops across the glass. This man shot up so fast, and he didn’t know what to open on his computer. A blank Excel workbook. Yahoo news. Outlook. Another Excel sheet. Never turning to acknowledge the window cleaner who caught him. The absolute worst part is that I had to go in and clean the inside windows too, including his office.”
23. Coming Across A Cam Girl
“I had descended to about the 20th floor of a 35-story building. I was doing post-construction cleaning; scraping glue, calking, cement and other unpleasantness from the windows and frames, so I spent quite a bit more time on each window than when purely washing. I get to the bottom section of one of the larger windows to find this small opening in the blinds. Behind them is a rather shapely woman, naked, with her back turned to me.
I pull out my scraper to take some more stubborn bits off the window and end up making some noise, which startled her. When she turns, I can see her laptop facing us with her webcam on. There is a steady stream of chat flowing on the right-hand side. It was then I knew I’d come across a cam girl.”
22. An Extra $5 and a Wink
“As a kid, my next-door neighbor paid me to mow her lawn, wash her car and her windows, and just take care of her house in general. She was an older woman and couldn’t do it herself. One afternoon, I head over to her house to give the weekly mow. Once I finish, I go over to the windows and spray them with Windex like I usually do, only this time, something caught my eye on the inside of the house.
My neighbor was naked, and my 12-year-old eyes could not look away. She must have felt my gaze because she turned around and locked eyes with me. She immediately hobbled away as fast as a senior her age could move. After a while, I went to her front door to collect my weekly pay, and she came out in her bathrobe. She handed me my weekly allowance and told me to never speak of this moment, then pulled out another $5 and winked at me.”
21. Watching Netflix While Cleaning Sear Tower
“As a skyscraper window washer at the Sears Tower, I saw some next-level stuff. I’ll tell you the things I witnessed while being up there was amazing. We had to wear pilot oxygen masks, safety parachutes, and magnetized shoes. Every time I passed the 32nd floor, they would all stop working and take a picture and cheer me on.
I was cleaning a window and saw a man watching Netflix on his phone, he looked up at me and turned the phone, and that’s the day I watched “The Ranch.” I blue-toothed my headphones to his phone, and we watched two episodes together.”
20. Does That Mean We’ll Get A Discount?
“Not so much a window washer but window replacer. I was contracted to work at this house in a fairly nice neighborhood and not too long after starting; I saw something that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
A woman in her mid-twenties, the daughter of the homeowner, walked into the room like she had thousands of times before, took her clothes off faster than I could say ‘excuse me, ma’am, allow me to avert my gaze.’ When I did get words out, she screamed and ran out of the room. A little while later, her mother came out and asked if that meant they’d get a discount.”
19. The Man in the Shrubs
“A buddy of mine washes windows. One day he’s finished up a high-rise apartment and is coiling up his ropes when a cigarette butt hits the brim of his baseball cap, and it lands in front of him. He picks it up and looks at it; it is freshly lit. He thinks it must have fallen from someone smoking on their balcony, so he starts smoking the mysterious sky smoke and finishes packing up his rope.
He walks around the side of the building and see’s this guy lying in the hedges. He walks up to the dude, thinking he’s wasted or passed out, or maybe he just fell in the shrubs. He says hello to the guy, and the man looks at him, his eyes focus for a second and then glaze over. He sees blood coming from the guy’s ears and realizes the guy has jumped or fallen from the apartment building. He called the police and later learned that the guy did jump from the building.”
18. The Irish Man Stuck on the Roof
“So I’m cleaning this building’s windows when I hear shouting from the roof from what sounds like an Irish man. He’d got stuck up there.
I went out of my way to go up and bring him down, and then he begins to shout at some guy on the street, babbling nonsense. We finally get down, and I still didn’t know what he was on about. What an absolute nutter.”
17. Giving Him A Show
“I washed windows once, still not sure if it was on purpose, but while I was washing the skylights on the house, the daughter walks into the bathroom naked and starts checking herself out. She was the same age as me, around twenty at the time. I didn’t know what to do, so I apologized.
Her parents heard and made fun of her the rest of the day, I’ve never seen someone turn so red as when her dad said, ‘so you were giving the cleaning boy a show?’ They were getting ready to sell the house, and I was there for another 8 hours cleaning.”
16. The House That Turned Out to be a Brothel
“I used to wash the windows of a house that turned out to be a brothel. I should’ve known really; the signs were all there.
Different men going in an out at all hours of the day, all beds were king size with silky sheets, showers in every room, etc.”
15. Changing Professions
“This one time, when I was washing windows, as I got to the top of the ladder, I saw a woman in her eighties sitting on her bed completely naked.
I was sure she saw me, so I gave her a few minutes before going back to the window. When I get there, she’s sitting in the same place, still naked, this time smiling at me. I got a job in an office soon after.”
14. Blood Red Walls and Satanic Statues
“The one incident that I can remember was this gay couple’s house. They were super friendly and perfectly normal, for the most part. When I got to the inside of their house, however, it was a bit unsettling, to say the least.
All of the walls were painted either blood red or black. There were also Pagan and Satanic looking statues, paintings, and decorations everywhere. I tried my best to hurry so I could get out of there.
13. Seeing My Ex-Girlfriend
“On my first job as a window washer, I went to the house, in a fairly nice neighborhood. When I got there, I saw my ex-girlfriend having sex with her new boyfriend. A short while later, she came outside and started yelling at me that ‘this is insane’ and ‘window washers don’t come to people’s houses at 3 am’ and ‘I’m pretty sure they carry more than just Great Value Window Cleaner and a roll of paper towels.’
She thought that I’d been stalking her. I just hate when people can’t be professional and mature when it comes to certain jobs.”
12. The Crazy Cat Lady
“I did window cleaning for a summer with my cousin who does the full job time. One of our first customers was an older crazy cat lady, and unfortunately, it was an inside and out job. Inside her flat, she had cat piss stains all over the carpets with soggy newspaper thrown on the ground in the very wet areas.
When I pulled a curtain away from the window to get it, there was literal cat puke in the corner. I lost count of how many times I gagged from being assaulted by a new wave of putrid smells. Thankfully I had a strong enough stomach to keep my lunch down.”
11. Have A Peek
“While cleaning the windows of an apartment building, there was an elderly lady (between 50 and 60 years old) in a dressing gown sat on her chair while on the phone looking directly at me. Nothing new there, we get watched a lot, but this lady opened up her dressing gown to let me have a peek of what was underneath.
While still chatting away on the phone too with a huge smile on her face. I thought maybe she was on a sex line or something and me being there was just a little extra thrill.”
10. Checking Her Dilation
“I’m not the window cleaner, but one of the people on the other side. My wife was in labor for approximately 24 hours when a very young doctor is checking her dilation.
He is elbow-deep in my wife when we hear a slap on the window that startles us all. He gave everyone in the room a much-needed laugh. Not sure what the cleaner could or could not see, but he didn’t flinch.”
9. Leaving His Number
“My grandfather told me this story, so I thought that I’d share it. He met my grandmother while working as a window washer. While washing the windows in her building, he left his phone number right up against the glass of her office and hoped she wrote it down.
She did and called, and they’ve been married for 60 years.”
8. Minding My Own Business
“I’m not a window washer but, I was working construction on a new tower. The guys were meeting up on the 11th floor to start the day, and as I’m walking up, I can see they are all staring out the window at the tower across the street.
There was this guy holding up a pair of legs going to town. After they finish up, another dude stands up, and all the guys began to freak out that they were just watching and enjoying two guys getting down. I guess they now know to mind their own business.”
7. Errors at Air Traffic Control
“I worked as a commercial cleaner for two years during the ’90s, and one of many window cleans involved cleaning the glass of Air Traffic Control. After one of my not-so-great window washing sessions, the controller wrongfully identified an aircraft through his window and refused the passenger plane access to the runway.
This cost many thousands in extra fuel and delayed several flights for the day. I lost my job that day, and my employer lost the contract. All because of that damn middle bit of the window.”
6. My Best Friend’s Revelation
“I met my best friend in high school, and ten years later, we are still inseparable. He thought I didn’t know that he was gay, and I think he was embarrassed to tell me, but if he did, I wouldn’t make a big deal at all; he would still be my best friend. However, he hadn’t told me yet even though I already knew for a fact he was. The reason I know is because I’m a high-rise window cleaner and the most memorable thing I’ve seen in one of those windows is my best friend in a hotel room with one of our old friends from high school. They were just in there making out, and I thought it was the funniest thing ever.
So naturally, I knocked on the window. They were both startled to the point where they banged heads which made me laugh even harder. He opened the window and was like, ‘So, hey uh, did you see anything?’ I replied, ‘No, not really, just you two making out.’ He looked shocked like he thought I would be homophobic or something. Eventually, he just came out to me and said, ‘Look IM GAY.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I know. We’ve been best friends since high school; you think I don’t know. I’m glad you came out to me. I got to clean the rest of these windows though.’ He didn’t look shocked this time; he looked like a weight he had been carrying for years had just been lifted.”
5. Call 911
“In Tulsa, there was a lady who pushed her husband out of the window of their high-rise apartment. My friend heard a scream and ran inside from an open window to her freaking out saying, ‘I pushed him, oh my God I pushed him!’
I guess he didn’t see the guy get pushed, but he heard it. He says the scream still haunts his dreams. He had to be calm and not freak out and call 911 on a pregnant woman who had just pushed her husband out of an open window.”
4. Falling Asleep After Work
“Not a window cleaner but someone who had their windows cleaned on the eleventh floor. My roommates failed to tell me about the cleaning, and I fell asleep in very scant lingerie from work (stripper) with one of my work friends asleep in the same next to me. I woke up to two guys flat out, staring at us.
They didn’t even avert eye contact while I rushed around trying to close the blinds. A few days later, two of the girls from work stayed over again, and we all fell asleep just in our thongs, very drunk and tired with the blinds closed, because lesson learned, right? Nope, one of them woke me up because the cleaners were staring at us through a tiny gap in the blinds.”
3. Sticking Your Tongue Out
“Not a window cleaner but a scaffolder. I was working on putting toe boards on a platform with another apprentice who used to stick his tongue out when he was concentrating. We were working on a very cold day in northern Alberta, and it was about -25C, so we were balancing on the balls of our feet, squatted down.
My partner apprentice lost his balance and tipped forward and got his tongue stuck to the mid-rail. Our journeyman turned around just in time to hear me yell ‘I’m gonna pee my pants’ and watch my partner rip his tongue off the metal rail. Funniest thing I’ve ever witnessed in my life.”
2.”I Washed My Hands”
“I once was cleaning windows and came up to the second-floor window, and a man was seated on the toilet. I quickly got away from the window and wasn’t sure if he had seen me or not; was hoping he didn’t.
I finished the job, and he starts counting cash for payment, and says, ‘Don’t worry, I washed my hands.’”
1. How Grandma and Grandpa Met
“There is nothing more embarrassing than being on a lift and cleaning windows at a retirement center and accidentally seeing Grandma or Grandpa in their birthday suits sleeping because they didn’t close the shade.
You’re simply praying they don’t wake up naked and afraid…”