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What is a Squeegee?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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A squeegee (also squilgee) is a stiff rubber blade mounted on a wooden or plastic handle used to pull water across a flat surface, typically to clean or dry the surface. The squeegee was first used on boats to direct water off the deck and clean away blood and scales left from fishing. Today most people associate the squeegee with cleaning windows, windshields, and acrylic or glass surfaces like shower or tub enclosures. The squeegee is also used to spread paint across silk screens and to smooth photographic paper in the development process.

There are many different types and sizes of squeegees for every job, ranging from the basic, personal squeegee to professional models. One place many people keep a basic squeegee is in the bathroom.

Dried mineral and salt deposits contained in hard water found in most large cities will quickly make a glass enclosure look untidy. A quick pull of a shower squeegee across wet tile, glass and acrylic doors and walls will leave the surface clean and dry. Using a squeegee after every shower eliminates tackling a harder job later. A microfiber cloth can be used to dry chrome fixtures and you can virtually eliminate cleaning except for the occasional disinfectant and mold retardant.

Automotive squeegees are a handy accessory to keep in the car, truck or sports utility vehicle (SUV). Some models incorporate a built-in sprayer in the handle that can be filled with windshield washing fluid or a favorite substitute cleaner such as a solution of distilled water and vinegar. The backside of the rubber squeegee blade might feature a scrubbing pad for getting off tough bug or bird debris. This all in one tool will keep windows clean and visibility unobstructed between vehicle washings.

The windows in recreational vehicles and campers are a little tougher to get to. If you don’t have room to store a long-handled squeegee, telescopic models are available. Using a squeegee to dry the windows after washing the vehicle will prevent water droplet deposits from forming, leaving windows mirror-clean. The difference is especially noticeable on darkly tinted windows.

Even in single story homes, cleaning windows normally requires a ladder. Telescopic squeegees come in handy here too. Clean off dirt and debris first by hosing down the windows, or opt for a squeegee with a backside sponge pad and use a bucket with cleaning solution to remove dirt before wiping clean.

Using a squeegee can save paper products or avoid the hassle of creating wet and dirty rags that must be washed or discarded. Squeegees are available at department stores, home improvement centers and automotive shops. Get the right squeegee for the right job and enjoy getting hard jobs done easier.

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