Edit ModuleShow Tags

Meet a San Diego Window Washer

No high-rise is too high for Ernesto Ahumada


Published:

Photo by John Dole

Ernesto Ahumada

Age: 29
Company: Green Clean
Services Job: Window Cleaner Supervisor

On any given day, National City resident Ernesto Ahumada boards a small platform called a “swing stage” and begins to climb. His company, Green Clean Services, washes the windows of some of downtown’s tallest skyscrapers, including the Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and former NBC buildings.

Their tallest client, Symphony Towers, tops out at 34 floors and a vertigo-inducing 499 feet. This job is not for the faint of heart. But Ahumada has no fear. “You get used to it,” he says. “Now it’s like nothing.” He learned the trade from his father, who worked as a window washer for 30 years.

Despite the safety harnesses and lines running from the roof to the ground, Ahumada remembers that at first, “I was grabbing my hands on the rails. I wouldn’t let go.” These days he barely holds on, unlike some of his newer coworkers, who wash with one hand while gripping the rail with the other.

A typical eight-hour day consists of two “drops,” which start by going straight to the top floor, and then slowly working down, cleaning three to four windows per floor, whatever’s within reach of the 30-foot-wide swing stage. It can take up to eight days to finish one full face of a building. It’s steady, consistent work—weather permitting, of course. Ahumada says, “Only the wind and the rain stop us!”

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Win a Trip for Two to Yellowstone Country Montana

Win a trip for two to Montana’s Paradise Valley, including roundtrip airfare on JetBlue from Long Beach to Bozeman, staying at Sage Lodge in Pray.

Celebrating Women: Kim Perell Wants You to Succeed

The CEO, author, multimillionaire, and mom gets frank about bankruptcy, traits for success, and more

Don Winslow Tells All About Tackling 'The Border'

Bestselling author and East County resident Don Winslow debuts his latest novel, The Border
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2019
    From pho to fries, you can choose San Diego's best eats and drinks in 99 categories
  2. Puesto's Next Top Taco
    Submit your best taco recipe for the chance to win a grand prize
  3. The Best Soup Dumplings in San Diego
    My hunt for the best xiao long bao in the city unearthed two surprising winners
  4. Behind the Brands 2019
  5. 21 Ultimate Road Trip Itineraries from San Diego
    These getaways will take you through California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Mexico
  6. Win a Luxury Hotel Stay in Puerto Vallarta
    Soak up the sun during a three night stay at Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Puesto's Next Top Taco

Submit your best taco recipe for the chance to win a grand prize

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Whale Watching Report from Hornblower for March 6–12

Whale watchers get their fill of gray whales, dolphins, and more

Shaping San Diego 2019

San Diego is a premier catalyst for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurialism
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags