Every Chicagoan experiences some type of spring cleaning ritual. Whether you empty your closet or hire a professional to clean your hardwood floors, the city as a whole greatly benefits from ritualized spring cleaning. However, this universally-experienced process can go above and beyond ridding a home of dirt and grime. Some professional cleaners prioritize environmentally-friendly products, which can do wonders for your home, health, and wallet. We spoke with Adrian Ruddock of Mother B Green Cleaning and Home Services about green spring cleaning in our Chicago storage area.
What’s the Deal with Spring Cleaning?
Ruddock explained how spring cleaning has changed through the centuries: “Although spring cleaning was once physically necessary in the 1800’s to deal with the buildup of soot and pollution, these days, it’s more about clearing one’s space physically to make one feel more at ease.” This is true of most cities but Chicago especially—the long, harsh winters create a need to refresh and rejuvenate the home.
Like many cities, the Chicagoland professional cleaning schedule adheres to spring cleaning calendars, but also takes other factors into consideration: “Although there is an uptick in the spring for cleanings, we tend to get more requests for move-in/move-out cleanings because folks want a fresh start in a space that’s new to them.” However, before scheduling your cleaning, be sure to understand the individual characteristics and subsequent needs of your home: “Historical homes always take a little more care. Woodwork, moldings, ceiling coffers, and details can take extra time to dust, but overall, because our products are very simple and our practices are solid, there’s not much else to it.”
When asked why Chicagoans prefer to hire professional cleaners, Ruddock’s response was simple: “Most folks don’t have time.” She went on to explain, “Life is so incredibly fast-paced, and for most people, the last thing anyone wants to or has the energy to do in their down-time is clean, much less deep clean—they’re just trying to recuperate to get through the next week. Who wants to work a 60-hour work week and then go at the bathroom tile with a toothbrush? No one.”
How to Get the Most Bang for your Buck
“Most folks have enough common sense to know that they need to straighten up if they want us to truly clean,” Ruddock explained. “There are some who don’t get it, but that’s pretty rare. All I can say is the clearer surfaces and areas are, the better your cleaning will be because we can focus more on the details.” The less time your professional cleaners spend tidying your living space, the more time they’ll have to clean.
Preparation often goes beyond standard decluttering. To help people prepare for a cleaning appointment, Ruddock articulated what exactly you can do to help your cleaner:
- “Having a working toilet brush (no broken handles) in each bathroom is best practice. Nothing is more awkward (or gross) than having to travel from bathroom to bathroom with one brush. It’s a biohazard waiting to happen.”
- “Step stools. Have one. Have, especially, a safe one with rubber bottoms to grip so it doesn’t slip out from underneath the person as they lean forward to clean (lesson learned). Please don’t hand over a rickety chair or scary little wooden ladder. It’s not helpful.”
- “A working, clean vacuum. It really cuts down on time to have a client’s vacuum in addition to our own, provided it is clean and in working order. However, there is nothing more frustrating than turning on a client’s vacuum tricked out by Dyson or Miele and smelling dog or cat. Not a good look—or smell.”
- “If you want linen changed, provide said linen and place it by the bed to be changed. Please make sure the pillow cases are the proper ones. Throwing a wad of clean linens on the bed without having them sorted is a total time-suck.”
Want to Feel Good About Your Cleaner? Go Green!
Mother B boasts an impressive, green-friendly resume. “We are the only green cleaning business in Chicagoland that uses science to properly vet our products,” Ruddock explained. “Any individual or company can claim to be green, and they often do, but they often still use products that are quite toxic with carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, asthma triggers, and more. Overall, people are becoming more aware of their need to research, not only the food they eat, but the products they use on their bodies and homes.” If you want to check products yourself, Ruddock recommends The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, science-based organization utilized by Mother B.
In addition to keeping their practice green, Mother B also values the importance and ethics of human labor: “We pay our employees a living wage. There are many cleaning companies who take advantage of immigrant labor who pay either a small percentage of the cleaning, an average wage of $9 per hour, and/or short hours because an immigrant is less-likely to contact a formal agency with a labor complaint.” Ruddock explained that this is very important to having an environmentally-friendly company: “The label ‘green’ and exploitation should not exist in the same company.”
In addition to keeping their practices green and ethical, Mother B donates a portion of their proceeds to local and national organizations, such as Westside Bee Boyz and the ACLU. They also do free cleanings for folks healing from cancer once every quarter. If you want a socially-conscious, environmentally-friendly spring cleaning experience, Mother B is the company for you.