Atlanta house cleaners: Green a safer way to clean

Atlanta house cleaners: Green a safer way to clean

Best friends for more than 20 years, Jackie Allen and co-owner Pat Smith started EcoMaids of North Atlanta in June 2010. Prior to that, Allen worked for a hospice, while Smith worked with seniors in assisted living. “We want to follow the green cleaning best practices, be fair and give back to the community,” Allen says.

What does a "green" housecleaning company offer and how is it different?

Allen: Green companies offer products that are plant-based, 100 percent organic, nontoxic and Green Seal certified. It kills a lot of things but won't harm you, your pets or your kids. Green Seal is a nonprofit that was established over 20 years ago and has very stringent criteria in order for products to meet its certification. It's like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, only more difficult to acquire.

We're not the cheapest game in town, but we are competitive with any professional cleaning company. We don't go to your house to do an estimate. We don't want to pollute by driving around and wasting gas. Instead, we ask you questions and use a very sophisticated computer system.

There's still a stigma out there about green cleaning products. When natural cleaner products came out years ago, unfortunately they didn't work as well as standard cleaners that people were accustomed to. That's not true anymore. People say, "Well, green cleaners don't work as well as bleach.' In fact, green products can work as well if not better.

If you have to clean something yourself, rather than go out and buy some of the stuff purported to be green, I tell people to mix up solutions of peroxide, baking soda and light vinegar. There are lots of ways to clean with inexpensive products. There is a good green product called Bon Ami; it's been around for 100 years, it's nonabrasive and you can use it on any surface. It's wonderful. It's like Comet without the bleach.

A positive benefit from green house cleaning is that people don't come to a house that smells like toxic chemicals. It's great for kids, for pets, and especially those who have allergies, asthma or otherwise have weakened immune systems.

If a company is truly green, they won't bring in a mop and bucket. They will use Green Seal-certified products consistently and religiously. They shouldn't just say, "Oh, we offer one of those." Are they a little bit green, or a whole lot green? Go to the company's website and make sure the products have some kind of green certification. Ask yourself, how much of what they are using ends up in a landfill?

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