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The World’s Most Fearless Cleaners

Enormous man-made structures won’t just clean themselves, you know. Thank goodness then for the brave few who seem more than happy to scale such beasts in an effort to de-grime them; apparently fearless as they swing next to, hang from, and climb up the world’s most impressively large landmarks with bucket and sponge in hand and sturdy stomach. To help you appreciate the job in hand, here are some stunning but often gut-wrenching photos.

EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

Empire State Building
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Above: Workers calmly clean the Empire State Building in 1932, attached to its exterior by way of a simple harness. Pedestrians on the streets below are nothing but dots in the distance.

BIG BEN

Big Ben
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Big Ben 1930
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Above: In 2007, a team of workers hang in front of Big Ben, bucket in hand, and clean the clock-face. In the next photo, a Mr. Larkin is lowered from the top of Big Ben to do the same job, but in 1930.

THE SPACE NEEDLE

The Space Needle
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The Space Needle 2
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The Space Needle 3
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The Space Needle 4
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The Space Needle 5
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Above: In 2008, three gutsy employees of Karcher GmbH & Co ascended Seattle’s 600ft-high Space Needle and blasted its exterior with pressure washers; its first clean since 1962.

THE WORLD TRADE CENTER

World Trade Center
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Above: Two brave men clean the North Tower of the World Trade Center, then the tallest building on Earth.

MOUNT RUSHMORE

Mount Rushmore
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Mount Rushmore 2
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Mount Rushmore 3
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Above: In 2005, five pressure washers filled with cold water were carefully aimed at the Mount Rushmore sculpture in a bid to clean its four enormous heads. The job took three weeks to complete.

BEIJING AQUATICS CENTER

Beijing Aquatics Center
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Beijing Aquatics Center 2
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Above: Prior to its opening as a venue for the Olympic Games in 2008, the bubbled surface of Beijing’s huge ‘Water Cube” aquatics centre was cleaned.

THE BURJ KHALIFA

The Burj Khalifa
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The Burj Khalifa 2
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Above: The world’s tallest building requires a lot of cleaning; especially its windows as it boasts a whopping 1,292,500 sq ft of glass and is whipped by sand on a daily basis. The second photo shows one of many boom units used to lower workers.

THE ROCKEFELLER CENTER

The Rockefeller Center
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Above: A fearless cleaner stands precariously on a ledge of the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, in 1961.

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