Squeaky eco-clean

Professional cleaners compete for business on the basis of price, quality and service.

Luis Sanchez owner of LXZ Organic Cleaners and Chris Fletcher

Professional cleaners compete for business on the basis of price, quality and service.

When Luis and Ashley Sanchez entered the Red Deer market six years ago, they opted for colour — green.

Their L & A Organic Cleaners is an environmentally focused company that uses only biodegradable products. Yet it does everything from basic cleaning to carpets and post-renovation cleanups.

“The motivation was trying to start something unique,” said Luis Sanchez.

But, he added, he and his wife also realized that environmental issues like global warming were becoming more important, and some people had health issues related to traditional cleaning products.

When L & A Organic Cleaners started, said Sanchez, the environmental market was largely untapped.

“I consider myself 100 per cent the pioneer of eco-cleaning.

“We were the first ones to do it.”

Others have joined him, however.

Green Clean Red Deer has been operating for nearly a year. Partners Brianne Simpson and Tina Henry do mostly commercial and post-construction work, relying on special microfibre materials that kill germs and bacteria without chemicals.

“We only use a chemical when we clean the toilet, and it’s environmentally friendly,” said Simpson, adding that another exception might be a large floor area.

She and Henry had been cleaning their own homes with environmentally friendly products for a number of years, motivated by having children with asthma. They felt there was a need for an environmental cleaning service in Red Deer, and have been rewarded with a positive response from clients.

“It’s good for the environment and it’s good for people’s health,” said Simpson, suggesting that the latter benefit promotes workplace productivity.

Also offering an environmental cleaning service in Red Deer is Fruitful Earth Cleaning.

Started last October by Elizabeth Marshall and Adriana Valencia, it does residential cleaning using household products like vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. The business also uses a natural extract that is environmentally benign.

“As much as we’ve wanted to clean, we’ve had clients,” said Marshall of demand.

“Most of our client base is young families, people with kids and pets. They want to make sure they’re not putting a whole bunch of harsh chemicals that’s going to affect their family.”

Marshall said her and Valencia’s motivation to go green had a lot to do with the fact their home relied on well water and a septic system.

“We wanted to make sure we were being responsible and not poisoning the environment.”

Sanchez said it was tough to find environmentally responsible cleaning products when L & A Organic Cleaners started. He and Ashley produced much of their own supplies using ingredients like lemon juice.

“Nowadays there is a lot more diversity in products.”

He insists his cleaning results are as good as those of traditional cleaning companies.

“We find that the biodegradable or organic products do a much better job that the chemicals out there.”

Marshall agrees.

“A lot of the products we use are actually much better for the environment and also more effective at cleaning.”

Simpson added that Green Clean Red Deer’s rates are comparable with other cleaners. Her business doesn’t use solutions and materials that have to be replenished, she explained.

North American has been slow to jump aboard the environmental cleaning bandwagon, but that’s changing, she said.

“In B.C. it’s been happening for a lot longer than it has in Alberta.”

In recent years, L & A Organic Cleaners has even evolved into an environmental maintenance service.

“We’ve integrated snow-removal and lawn care with biodegradable products as well,” said Sanchez, adding that his business does things like weed control, tree-pruning and outdoor cleaning.

“We’re even thinking about integrating painting with biodegradable paint.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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