"There is more to life than increasing its speed." -- Mohandas Gandhi
"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need forComplicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the Philosophy is kindness." --- Dalai Lama
"This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet." ---Rumi
"All that we are is a result of all that we have thought" ---Bhudda
"If every household in the US replaced one bottle of shower cleaner containing chlorine bleach with a hydrogen-peroxide-based shower cleaner we could prevent 1 million pounds of chlorine from entering our environment."
"If every household in the US replaced just one box of 48 oz petroleum-based powder laundry detergent with a vegetable-based product we could save 96,000 barrels of oil."
"Not by harming life does one become noble.One is termed noble for being gentle to all living things." ---Dhammapada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
"If every household in the US replaced just one box of 85-sheet virgin-fiber facial tissue with recycled ones, we could save 280,000 trees."
"He who knows that all things are his mind, That all with which he meets are friendly, Is ever joyful." ---Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa
"If every household in the US replaced just one 25 oz bottle of petroleum-based dishwashing liquid with a plant-based product, we could save 81,000 barrels of oil."
"In whom there dwells no self-deception and no pride, Who is desireless, whose wrath is put away, whose self hath cool become --He is Brahmin." ---Udana
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." ---- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of the decisions on the next seven generations." ---Great Law of the Iroquois
"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." ---- Dalai Lama
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" ---Mahatma Gandhi

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Your home for the holidays

By Julie McCoy

Greenforce uses biodegradable, non-toxic products to clean the windows of a San Francisco Victorian building.

Photograph by Lane Johnson

The holiday season is upon us, and if you are throwing a party or have invited family and friends to stay at your house, there’s no escaping it: You have to clean. If you can’t find the time or simply don’t want to clean your house yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning company that uses only eco-friendly products and processes. A number of cleaning companies in the Bay Area will make your home spotless while respecting the environment in the process.

For example, Biosteam Carpet Care of Half Moon Bay not only does carpet cleaning, but also upholstery, tile, and grout cleaning. They use only products that don’t contain any volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chlorine, ammonia, or formaldehyde. Owner Guy Mindle says the company has eco-friendly products that will even remove pet stains, utilizing natural enzymes instead of harsh chemicals. Additionally, Biosteam implements a low-moisture system that uses less water than other carpet cleaning companies, Mindle says.

Mindle was inspired to open Biosteam with longtime friend and co-worker Salvador Serrano after a bad experience with having his own carpet cleaned. The company showed up late, cost too much, and wasn’t environmentally friendly. It even dumped waste water in his garden, which ended up killing half of his plants.

Biosteam is certified by the Bay Area Green Initiative and serves cities throughout the Peninsula and South Bay.

Another eco-friendly carpet cleaning company is Bay Area Green Carpet Cleaning in Campbell, which is part of Green Restoration Inc. The company uses hypoallergenic chemicals that don’t contain any VOCs, according to chief executive officer Alfred Gelacio. “What we do is not going to harm the environment at all,” he says.

MaidPro service provider Adriana Gonzalez cleans the home of a client in Los Gatos with green-certified products

The Rug Expert, based in Mountain View, cleans “anything you walk on,” including hardwood floors and rugs, while being a good steward of the environment, according to owner Rande Machell.

The company cleans hardwood floors with an electric buffer. The buffer uses surfactant, a substance that, when dissolved in water, allows a product to remove dirt from surfaces. Surfactant is “a mild surface acting agent that is safe for the environment,’ Machell says. “It’s odorless. There are no fumes. It’s a good, safe way to maintain your wood flooring.” At the end of each workday, the Rug Expert also empties its truck in accordance with strict EPA guidelines.

MaidPro in Campbell and Redwood City provides household cleaning services such as dusting, scrubbing, and mopping. Melissa Homer, chief “cleaning officer,” says that for her company, being a good steward of the environment is “systemic. It touches everything we do.” MaidPro uses green certified products from Procter & Gamble. The company also buys concentrated chemicals for the sake of reduced packaging, then adds water to the concentrate, reducing the cost of transportation.

Additionally, MaidPro uses software called ServiceCEO that schedules employee routes efficiently in an effort to save gasoline. The software ensures employees are hitting the most customers while doing the least amount of driving. The software also enables the company to reduce its paper usage.

Marvel Maids, Inc., which is based in San Francisco but serves the Peninsula as far south as Los Gatos, uses a citrus-based cleaner rather than harsh bleaches for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms, according to president Steve Collins. Marvel Maids also uses washable, reusable rags instead of paper towels to lessen its impact on the environment.

“We use products that are not harsh on the environment, whether it’s the physical environment or the people and pets who live in the environment,” Collins says. He adds that more customers are concerned about the environmental impact of having their homes cleaned.

A San Jose homeowner has his carpets cleaned the eco-friendly way by Salvador Serrano of Biosteam Carpet Care.

“We are absolut A San Jose homeowner has his carpets cleaned the eco-friendly way by Salvador Serrano of Biosteam Carpet Care. A San Jose homeowner has his carpets cleaned the eco-friendly way by Salvador Serrano of Biosteam Carpet Care. ely seeing a shift in the customer mindset,” Collins says. “Customers [are] asking us if we use environmentally friendly products before they book a service with us. This is due to the fact that more people have become educated to the reality of using harsh chemicals around their children and pets.”

He notes that being a good steward of the environment is in line with his own values and beliefs. “I have a broader view of the environment, which also includes the people within the environment,” he says.

Redwood City-based Emma’s Eco-Clean cleans homes using only Seventh Generation products, Sal Suds liquid cleaner, Murphy’s Oil, castile soap, and baking power, all of which are environmentally friendly, according to general manager Esther Aguirre-Ribeiro. She says her customers often ask for “a specific list of the products we use.” Emma’s Eco-Clean also uses cloth as opposed to paper towels and only a small amount of water to dilute products. For vacuuming, Emma’s Eco-Clean uses Miele, a German-made vacuum with an HEPA filter that traps 99 percent of all allergens.

Greenforce Clean Team, which is based in San Francisco and serves the entire South Bay, uses biodegradable, non-toxic products for its window washing service, according to general manager Josh Kyle. Besides benefiting the customers and the environment, this also benefits the company’s staff, who aren’t exposed to toxic chemicals, Kyle says.

In addition to window washing, Greenforce Clean Team also provides carpet cleaning, air duct cleaning, and general house cleaning. “Cleaning is our universe,” Kyle says.

Any time Greenforce Clean Team travels to a customer’s home for any reason, the company tracks its mileage. At the end of each month, the company makes a donation based on how many miles were driven that month to www.carbonfund.org, a nonprofit that is working on projects to reduce global warming.

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This article appears in the November/December 2011 issue of Eucalyptus Magazine

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