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Franchise Blog

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Companies Original QUEEN OF GREEN

  Alice DeMade  |    Nov 25, 2009 2:34:14 AM  |    Franchise Opportunities

ANGIE & DOGS

Meet Angie Barnes, You’ve Got MAIDS original Queen of Green. Angie founded the first green cleaning company in Charleston, SC and has a passion for the benefits of green cleaning on the health of her clients & their pets. Angie came on board at You’ve Got MAIDS as our original Franchise Partner, absorbing her green cleaning business & eco friendly practices into our brand.

Here is an article on Angie’s eco-friendly house cleaning found in The Daniel Island News Archives, from before she joined You’ve Got MAIDS.

What I do: Angie Barnes, earth-friendly entrepreneur

Angie Barnes is Daniel Island is Clark Kent. When consulting with clients for her new home-cleaning service, Naturally Maid, she’s the quintessential Southern businesswoman sporting a suit, high heels and applying 4-5 daily doses of lipstick.

But, when tackling a cleaning job, Barnes morphs into the Toxic Avenger. Donning hospital scrubs, she attacks houses using benign natural products like baking soda, lemons, and olive oil.

The 31-year-old entrepreneur is winning fans among Daniel Island homeowners who worry about the long-term effects of caustic cleaning chemicals on themselves and the environment.

"I like to think I’m making a difference one house at a time," said Barnes, who launched her business this summer.

Her journey toward using all-natural products began two years ago when she operated a hair salon.

"We were using chemicals to clean up other chemicals," Barnes recalled. "I had a stylist who, after working for many years in the profession, was now allergic to all fragrances. I thought to myself, “If I don’t do something about this, this is going to be me.” Although my first thought was how this was going to affect me, I then thought how is this going to affect others? I decided I couldn’t do it anymore and sold the business."

A lifelong animal lover, Barnes said she’s always worried about how creatures are harmed by the multitude of chemicals introduced into the environment.

"I worry about what goes down our drains and how it’s affecting wildlife," she said. "When I moved into my Daniel Island home and got quotes from cleaners, I was disappointed to learn that the only naturally based product that they offered was vinegar."

Then, she had her entrepreneurial epiphany.

"I was drying my hair and looking down at my floor and wondering how I was going to clean it," she recalled. "What would I use that doesn’t hurt the environment? That’s when I realized I’d found a niche business that I could feel good about and make a real difference."

Barnes began researching governmental websites and reading books in search of safe, effective and natural cleaning products.

"So many cleaning products are full of caustic chemicals and they don’t need to be to be effective," she said. "Before World War II, cleaning products were coconut oil-based. When coconuts became unavailable because of the war, companies switched to petroleum-based products, got into the habit, and never switched back. But, if more people would demand natural products today, the supply would be more plentiful."

Barnes said she wants people to get cleaning products from their food pantries.

"What’s underneath your sink?" she asked. "Typically, it’s five to 15 products with basically the same chemical composition. My job is to simplify and to reintroduce natural products that don’t harm the environment."

Barnes advocates old standbys such as baking soda, vinegar, salt, lemon and other household staples for housecleaning. She also uses fragrant essential oils such as eucalyptus and lavender, which reputedly have antibacterial qualities.

Barnes shared some handy all-natural cleaning tips:

For windows and mirrors: Lightly mist with water and wipe with a high quality microfiber cloth. Easy and really streak free. Poor quality cloths leave lint behind. Important: Never put cloths in the dryer.

Replace your scouring cleansers: Fill a plastic saltshaker with baking soda. Like a soft scouring mix? Mix 1 cup baking soda with 1 cup castile soap store in a squirt bottle. Recycle one from a used condiment bottle right out of your own fridge! THAT WAS EASY! And it works.

Save $ and our ground water: Use half baking or washing soda to half detergent. (Powder or liquid is ok. If measuring and storage is an issue, buy the smaller size powder; dump it into a recycled plastic box with a lid. Fill the now empty detergent box with the soda for measuring purposes and mix it in with a long-handled spoon and store.) How much did you just save?

Wood floors: 1 cup of castile soap, 1 /3 cup of salt, 40 drops of essential oil (your choice) to one gallon of water. OR good old vinegar and water can be used anywhere except on granites, marbles, and other natural stones.

Pet hair removal: Sprinkle baking soda on carpets or upholstery prior to vacuuming or sweeping. It breaks the static charge that holds it in place making removal much easier.

"One thing that happens when you start using natural products is that you have a sense of peace and calm," Barnes said. "I don’t know if it’s because you have peace of mind knowing that you can safely eat a piece of cheese you laid on your kitchen counter, or because you took a step toward bettering the environment, but you definitely feel better."

All-natural cleaning services are more prevalent in Florida and Arizona and remain a rarity in South Carolina, according to Barnes. She hopes that will change.

"The cost of my cleaning service is right in line with what other cleaners are offering," she said. "Right now, I don’t have any competition but, honestly, I wish I did. The idea is to educate people who, in turn, might educate other people. If I had some competition to help me educate people, that would be fan-freaking-tastic."

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