About The Owner
Looking back, it probably shouldn’t be surprising that Elizabeth Buchanan started a business that cleans and organizes other people’s homes.
“When I was a little kid,” she said, “I’d go into grocery stores and organize all the shelves while my Mom was shopping” “So I always had a desire to clean and organize and make things look good.”
That desire has resulted in Buchanan starting not one, but two cleaning businesses. The second, Cleaner Living NW, is based in Redmond, OR and offers residential housecleaning, vacation rental cleaning, commercial Office cleaning as well as window and gutter cleaning. Cleaner Living NW will also remove hard water from glass shower doors and apply a sealant to prevent the recurrence of the hard-water buildup.
The company sells its 100% Non Toxic, biodegradable private-label cleaning concentrate and cleaning implements such as all-natural microfiber towels, specialty mirror & glass cloths & microfiber mops from its storefront at 655 SW 7th St Redmond, OR.
Cleaner Living NW uses what Buchanan calls an all-natural, antibacterial, cleaning solution that contains a de-greaser. The solution is Green Seal-certified, she said. Obtaining Green Seal certification for a cleaning product requires demonstrating that the product adheres to standards for aquatic biodegradability, aquatic toxicity, Volatile Organic Compound content, the presence of toxic compounds and other qualities.
“It’s the highest certification you can get when it comes to a cleaning product,” said Buchanan, 30. “There’s nothing in the grocery stores that are Green Seal-certified. Technically products in the store only need to contain 10% naturally derived ingredients to be called “100% natural”. It is very scary how many toxins people unknowingly bring into their home with the cleaning products they buy. The products we use and sell are absolutely 100% naturally derived and are safe around kids, pets and people with compromised immune systems or allergies.”
Since launching Cleaner Living NW in 2014, Buchanan said, her business has been well-received. She pays that support forward by working with Cleaning For A Reason, a nonprofit that provides free housecleaning to women undergoing cancer treatment. She said Cleaner Living NW, through Cleaning For A Reason, provides four months of free cleaning service to women undergoing cancer treatment.
“That’s our way of giving back to the community and it touches the hearts of our whole staff along with the cancer patients we are cleaning for, it is one of our favorite things we do as a company,” she said.
Even before launching her cleaning business, Buchanan had a hankering to clean. When Buchanan was a child, her mother did janitorial work for her dad’s office, and their daughter wanted in on the fun.
“I would always beg to clean with my Mom because I loved it,” Buchanan said. “Since I was little, I was pretty obsessed with cleaning, organizing and making people happy.”
She started her first cleaning business when she was 19, as a byproduct of tasks assigned to her in the real estate business she worked in.
“They started to ask me to clean the houses that were coming on the market to sell,” Buchanan said. “And I started cleaning them and absolutely fell in love with it. I knew immediately that’s what I want to do with my life.”
That’s how Maid to Shine Cleaning came about. It’s based in West Linn, OR a suburb south of Portland.
Buchanan said all her employees are thoroughly vetted and trained personally by her. She said employees typically come as referrals, not from applying blindly to a “help wanted” ad.
“They are people who love cleaning and want to make more of a career out of it and gain real connections and relationships with their clients and their families,” she said. In other words, her employees are like her.
“I’m kind of OCD and have a really good eye for detail,” she said. “So I love to be able to go into a home and make everything look and feel like a resort. I try to make my clients’ houses seem like a 5-star resort when they come home. … We organize their shoes, we fluff all the pillows on the couches, we fold the blankets. I just really enjoy the detail stuff.”
Cleaner Living NW provides services in Bend, Redmond, Powell Butte, Sisters, Terrebonne & Sun River. Buchanan has found Central Oregon flush with people who are eco-conscious — her target audience.
Samples of her cleaning solution that have been offered at local home shows have been well-received, she said: “We’ve had numerous people come into our store saying, ‘Oh wow, we tried your product and we loved it. It’s amazing. We want to buy a couple of bottles of concentrate now and give some as gifts.’ ”
A 1-quarter bottle of her concentrated cleaning solution is enough for 96 fillings of a 16oz spray bottle that comes with the product. It works out to approx 26 cents per bottle of diluted cleaning solution. The product by itself is unscented and then can be customized with pure essential oils to the scent of your liking.
“There’s nothing on the market that’s as eco-friendly and non-toxic, and that’s as affordable, as what we sell,” she said.
Buchanan began selling the solution to clients in the last year, previously using it only for her company’s cleaning work. Now, she hopes to market it more broadly, to retail outlets, hotels, schools, hospitals and restaurants with a client based aligned with her product.
“We really want to get our all natural cleaning product into places like Whole Foods,” she said, referring to the eco-friendly chain of stores that has an outlet in northeast Bend.
If she reaches that goal, she will have followed quite the arc as she has grown up — from the girl who wanted to organize and clean grocery store shelves to the woman whose cleaning product is now on those shelves.
Did You Know?
Cleaner Living uses our own line of eco-friendly, non-toxic, hypoallergenic cleaning products for the health of your visitors.