Green cleaning business booming

FRESNO, Calif.

If the cabinet under your sink is filled with cleaning chemicals, Rebecca Stafford says you might want to clean house: "All of the chemicals that we use add up. And a lot of families are looking for ways to decrease those chemicals." The Fresno mom started her cleaning business "Barefoot Housekeeping" to work her way through college, but then she started feeling the effects, "With migraines, vertigo, and nausea and all these strange symptoms. Turns out those traditional chemicals soak in through your skin, and stored in your fat cells."

So she made the switch to non-toxic cleaning solutions including pastes made simply from vinegar and baking soda. Stafford explained, "This will help stains in grout, help clean your sink, it will do all sorts of things with just two things everybody has in their pantry." She also uses a mixture of hot water, olive oil and lemon juice on wood floors. But cleaning with natural ingredients alone -- while effective -- takes a lot of elbow grease. Her secret weapon: Norwex microfiber cloths-- that she swears pick up everything, even bacteria from raw chicken. She even challenged me to smear butter on my mirrors to simulate greasy fingerprints. On her side, she used a Norwex cloth just wet with water. On my side, I struggled with traditional glass cleaner and a paper towel. Her side got squeaky clean.

The green cleaning industry is booming thanks to growing customer demand. In fact product sales went from $300 million in 2007 to over $640 million in 2011. Barefoot Housekeeping has seen their business grow as well, with Stafford hiring three crews in the last couple years, and considering adding a fourth. Stafford says her clients are happier and healthier with a greener, cleaner house.

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