Andrea Crossman is the founder of Holistic Doula NYC, is a holistic RN, doula, and a childbirth educator. She hosts Holistic Mamas NYC and writes the HDNYC blog and where she shares holistic pregnancy and birth tips for glorious Mommazons-to-be everywhere. Here she spills on her quest for a clean, green New Year.
Creating a clean zen home is the first thing I decided to tackle in the new year as part of what I’m calling my own personal Project Glow 2010, wherein I endeavor to get to create the healthiest, happiest, most balanced life in preparation to get pregnant early in this decade and to become a holistic mama myself. I moved into a great apartment a little over a year ago, but have yet to realize its full potential as I have a hefty amount of decluttering and organizing to do. On move-in day the apartment was not as clean as I expected, so my landlords gave me the go-ahead to hire someone for a serious deep cleaning. I took this opportunity to try out a green cleaning service, and on someone else’s dime no less (score!). After looking into all of my local green cleaning options, I decided to go with one called Ms. Green-Clean. Ms. Green-Clean is owned by Cori Morenberg, who is described on her website as, “a high energy, compulsive-obsessive, with a degree in Botany, a passion for nature and art, and a penchant for cleaning. She truly enjoys cleaning and transforming homes using pure essential oils and non-toxic, environmentally-safe cleaning agents not tested on animals.” Ms. Green-Clean had me at compulsive-obsessive.
Yes, I was committed to the green approach and products used by all of the green cleaners I researched, but what truly excited me about Cori’s business was the fact that I believed they would get everything really really really clean. When I read that floors are actually washed by hand, because they believe that’s the only way they can really get them clean, I knew this was the green cleaner for me. On the day of my appointment with Ms. Green-Clean, my personal green cleaning savior Sarah was here for about 8 hours, until every corner of my house had been cleaned and my whole home smelled amazing from the rosemary essential oil I personally chose for the day.
Fast forward to 2010 and my home is once again in need of some love. When I began strategizing my way to feng shui, I decided that I would commit to decluttering and picking up on my own, and then to invite a green cleaner back to make my apartment shine. Last week I contacted Cori, Ms. Green-Clean herself, to set my plan in motion. In that conversation it dawned on me that her services are actually perfect for my holistic mamas as they prepare for their new arrivals.
I am passionate about sharing information with holistic mamas and creating a truly useful resource list of healthy green products and services, so I asked Cori if she would be willing to answer a few questions and she graciously agreed. Not only did Cori tell me more about how she got into the green cleaning biz, but she also offered some great green cleaning tips so that DIYers and people on a budget can benefit from her wisdom. I hope you enjoy the interview and that this information adds to your glowey new year!
How did you get into the green cleaning business?
Strangely, I was on an assignment as a freelance writer for a weekly paper when the seed of the idea was planted. I interviewed a person who had just started a green cleaning business and I thought to myself what a great idea it was. I’m a person who likes a lot of independence and to be my own boss, and also I have a background in science and environmental-related work, so it melded a few parts of me. It wasn’t until a year or more later, though, that I pursued the idea and conceived of Ms. Green-Clean.
What makes your cleaning green?
Cleaning green is pretty easy days with all the information and commercial products out there, anyone can do it. We fill our cleaning bags with some or all of these essentials depending on job details: baking soda and/or Bon Ami non-abrasive cleanser, Citra-Solv, a milder all purpose like Ecover’s or Mrs. Meyers, a basic, very mild wood soap, a selection of essential oils, and lots of reusable microfiber and cotton cloths. All of the products are derived from natural, plant, or mineral ingredients, are earth-friendly and non-polluting, and are cruelty free and not tested on animals.
I love all of the greenness, but tell me more about the cleanness.
We specialize in deep-cleaning, really kind of old fashioned, European-mama cleaning. It’s very athletic work. We don’t visit on a weekly or bi-weekly visit. I feel most people don’t need our services that often. We’re not there to fluff towels and swish feather dusters. We’re often red faced, sweating and a bit out of breath. We get down on our hands and knees to clean floors. We crawl under furniture to get at corners and hidden spaces, move pieces that we’re able to safely, pick up cushions to clean underneath. We make sure your refrigerator and oven are wiped out, and we do the insides of windows. The list goes on and on and is really particular to the clients’ home when it comes down to it. You really have to experience it to completely get it. Many of our clients do have someone else clean their home more regularly and then they have us in twice per year or quarterly. They’re always surprised and we are always very pleased to find lots of dirt and grime on these visits!
It seems to me that your service would be perfect for someone preparing for baby. Do you do much of that?
Yes! Ms. Green-Clean has many expectant parents as clients, and more specifically expectant parents who are moving into new homes that have had construction work done that creates a lot of fine dust throughout, and that they are very concerned about getting rid of before they bring the new baby home.
Not everyone can afford to have someone else provide the gift of clean. Would you be willing to share a few green cleaning tips for the DIYers out there?
Sure. My favorite way to clean the older enameled sinks in many older apartments and homes is to first rinse it out, then sprinkle baking soda, and to the baking soda add a capful of Citra-Solv orange oil all purpose cleaner. With your sponge, scrub away for a few minutes to get rid of all the stains in the abraded surface. It’s like going for a teeth-whitening! Very satisfying. Another easy one is to add one or two drops of peppermint essential oil to a microfiber cloth for dusting. Not only do you get your dusting done, but you give your home a little aromatherapy treatment at the same time and it creates a spa-like feel. Peppermint has antiseptic properties that make it a great oil to keep in your cleaning arsenal. It’s also said to combat fatigue and depression, as well as aid concentration. Not too many cleaners from the grocery store can claim that!
You are based in New York City, and travel with castile soap and a bucket in hand, how does that work exactly?
It’s pretty easy to carry the products and tools we use in one bag, and we travel by subway, bike, or foot-one more way we’re green!
Have some green cleaning tips of your own? Please share them in the comments section. And if you are in need of a good cleaning too and are in the market for some great green products check out the HDNYC Store section “products: green cleaning,” or your local health food stores and Whole Foods. For the New Yorkers who want to know more about Cori and Ms. Green-Clean, please visit her online www.msgreenclean.com. Want recipes to DIY your own vegan, green, eco-friendly cleaning products for half the price of the store bought ones? Check out this fantastic article full of fabu recipes.
Andrea provides holistic health and doula services for mamas-to-be and also teaches the Truly Holistic Pregnancy and Childbirth Series at the New York Open Center. The class covers all of the typical childbirth education content, and is also chock full of holistic tips for pregnancy and birth. She is also the co-founder of Lovemore, a Brooklyn-based love-infused green fashion line she started with her sister.
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