In 1996, I worked for a now defunct cleaning company. I hated the way the chemicals smelled and the way I’d feel after a couple of hours. My breath was short and my hands chapped. One day I looked at the ingredient list and saw the word "formaldehyde.” I remember thinking, “isn't that what they embalm bodies with?” When I brought this to the attention of my boss he joked, “You should probably hold your breath until you get home.” I didn't think that was too funny, but I needed a job and so I dropped the subject.
A couple of years later, my Dad quit his refinishing business. Extended exposure to chemicals had adversely effected his health to such a degree that he had to walk away from his livelihood of ten years. This got me thinking again about chemical exposure. So I did a little research and found that there were numerous known carcinogens in “standard” carpet cleaning solution. Additionally, some of the solvents were known to leach through the skin and affect the nervous system. This had me very concerned, but what was I to do?
After years of personal exposure, I decided that I was either going find a better way or get out of the industry all together. Again I researched the issue, and I was told there were no effective natural products on the market. Oddly, in some cases the resistance I met for asking questions was shocking. I wondered if I the only one who was concerned?
Gary passed away in 2013. He was my good friend and mentor. He was generous, kind and caring. He is deeply missed by many.
The Internet changed everything for me. I found a post on a carpet cleaning bulletin board about a well respected man, named Gary Heacock, who was cleaning with safe and natural products. I immediately contacted him and found that he lived fairly close to me. He owned one of the most respected companies in the area and had been cleaning carpet for over forty years! Additionally, he was an instructor for the CCINW (a non profit that provides extensive education to the cleaning industry). He had a similar story to mine, but years before. He was either going to find an alternative or get out of the industry. So, he worked with Bio-Kleen to come up with a solution. For the last 20 years, he has shared those solutions with me and others. Gary retired several years ago and has graciously referred his previous clients to us. We are very grateful for what he has done for us and the industry as a whole.
As it turns out, there was no real mystery, natural cleaners have been available for years and have even been used in industrial applications. The resistance was more from the “accepted” way of doing things than any performance issues. What we needed was knowledge, and the belief in ourselves to that there is a better way!
In 2004, to reflect our commitment to safe cleaning and the environment, my wife and I started Eco Clean Carpet Cleaning. Our goal has been to remain a small company that serves our community and provides a simple life for us. We have no plans of growing beyond our current size. We are grateful for all those who use us and hope we can continue to be of service in the future.