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The Space Needle Gets a Shower - 2008 to see slide show scroll down
Authored by Karcher news room

The Space Needle gets a shower


Seattle’s best-known landmark and most popular tourist attraction is due for a bath. Kärcher is pleased to announce that the Space Needle is expected to be squeaky clean by July, assuming Seattle’s weather cooperates.

Following up on our successful cleaning of Mount Rushmore in 2005, we are now donating our services in the “green cleaning” of the Space Needle, which was built in 1962 and receives 1.5 million visitors per year. Kärcher's first high-profile cleaning project was the Statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro in 1980. In 1985, Kärcher made its initial foray into the U.S., working with the restoration team at the Statue of Liberty to clean the granite base of the statue with high-pressure washers.

The ecologically friendly cleaning method Kärcher developed for Mount Rushmore will also be used at the Space Needle. The process is one-hundred percent green and is accomplished with very hot water and high-pressure washers, replacing the need for harsh chemicals and ensuring that the Space Needle will be restored to its shining glory when we’re done.

One team of three highly qualified rappelling professionals descends from the top of the Space Needle, cleaning only with very hot water shot from high-pressure washers as they go. A rope-access safety supervisor mans the ropes and rappelling equipment from above. Kärcher contracted the rappelling team from Skala, Inc, based in Reno, Nevada.

Cleaning via the rope-access technique was refined when Kärcher cleaned Mount Rushmore and avoids having to erect costly scaffolding around the Space Needle, as was done when the landmark was painted. The cleaning is to take place at night, from eleven p.m. to six a.m. daily, so that the Space Needle can remain open to the public for the duration of the cleaning.

Supervising the entire cleaning project is Kärcher’s Thorsten Möwes, an expert who knows a lot about dirt! Möwes rappels down behind the team and inspects the cleaned surfaces, thus guaranteeing consistent results for the 605-foot structure. Assisting Möwes in the care of the machines during the cleaning are two Kärcher USA colleagues based in Camas, Washington, near the Oregon border.