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

8 San Diego Brands Explain How They Made It to the Top

Entrepreneurs and company rock stars divulge their secrets for success

Video: A Peek At Our Insiders Club

For members only…New perks, insider info and access to the editors

70 & Sunny: Two San Diegans, Decades Apart, Talk Bucket Lists and Spelling Tests

Dina is a retiree in Santee, and Kai is a second grader in Pacific Beach
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. The Best Chicken Wings In San Diego
    The results of food critic Troy Johnson’s epic quest for the city’s best tiny chicken
  2. San Diego's Best New Restaurants of 2019
    From a 200 million-dollar renovation project to a dirty little burger, these made a dent
  3. The Must-Try Dishes of 2019
    SD Mag food critic and Food Network judge Troy Johnson names his top dishes of the year
  4. Video: A Peek At Our Insiders Club
    For members only…New perks, insider info and access to the editors
  5. The SoCal (Social Calendar!)
    From black-tie galas to costumed 5Ks, these events will keep your social calendar full—and you feeling good
  6. Where to Celebrate New Year's Eve in San Diego 2020
    Whether you’re celebrating the end of a decade or the beginning of a new one, these are fine choices of venue.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

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

October is Rideshare Month

Join the Rideshare 2015 Challenge and get there together
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Come See What’s New in Palm Springs

This SoCal city is constantly reinventing the landscape with new places to stay and play

Win Tickets to the 42nd Annual SDCCU Holiday Bowl

This year’s USC vs. Iowa match-up marks the Holiday Bowl’s third straight paring of teams that are ranked nationally in the top 25
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags