INDIANAPOLIS, March 30, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Many homeowners and professional housecleaners are trading their bleach, pine-scented and other potentially toxic cleaning chemicals in for more environmentally friendly and all-natural cleaners. Angie's List, which provides consumer reviews on services from contractors to dentists to housecleaners has seen an increase in both consumers seeking out eco-friendly cleaning companies and in professional cleaning companies that offer 'green' options. “Spraying potentially toxic chemical-based cleaners into the air, pouring them down the sink or dumping them in landfills has a negative effect on both our health and our environment,” said Angie's List founder Angie Hicks. “Your home no longer needs to smell like bleach or other chemicals to be considered clean. There are plenty of all-natural cleaning products that do an equally effective job, are easy on your pocketbook and are better for you and your family's health and for Mother Earth.” Many professional housecleaners are relying on biodegradable, non-toxic cleaners like baking soda, white distilled vinegar and some essential oils with disinfectant qualities (lemon, tea tree oil and eucalyptus, for example) to clean and disinfect. Distilled vinegar, for example, will kill nearly all bacteria with which it comes into contact, while baking soda is great for scrubbing out stains and even freshening up carpets and sink drains. Some cleaning companies make a concerted effort to find other ways to further reduce their environmental impact, like cleaning and reusing towels and rags instead of using and throwing away power towels or sponges. “As awareness for eco-friendly cleaning increases, many cleaning companies are turning exclusively to non-toxic products or are willing to supply them at a customer's request,” Hicks said. “Homeowners interested in hiring an eco-friendly housecleaner should still do their research before they hire and ask what products the housecleaner plans to use. Also check that the housecleaner is licensed, insured and bonded. That protects the company and the homeowner in the event an employee is injured on the job or damages property. Consumers interested in purchasing eco-friendly cleaning products should always read the ingredient list to determine what the product is really made from. Many over-the-counter cleaning products are touted by the manufacturer as being green but still contain chemicals. “It's never too late to go green when you clean,” Hicks said. “Box up all those chemicals you no longer want and take them to a local hazardous waste center. Replace them with all-natural cleaning products or by using an eco-friendly cleaning service. Your home will still smell and look great.” Professional housecleaners are often a great value for busy homeowners, as they are often able to do the job in a fraction of the time it would take the average homeowner. Some professionals offer one-time cleans or can set you up on a less frequent rotation. A typical cleaning includes dusting, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning of bathrooms and wiping down of all hard surfaces. There are projects many cleaners won't take on or will charge extra for, like doing dishes, laundry, washing windows; or deeper cleans, like refrigerators, cabinets and stoves. Always spell out your expectations before you hire and make sure you are clear on how the company bills its customers. To keep your home cleaner longer, professional housecleaners recommend minimizing clutter and sweeping and vacuuming between cleanings. Angie's List offers some tips for hiring a housecleaning service: Meet the housecleaner in person. Before you hire a housecleaner, make sure you feel comfortable having that person in your home. Check references on past work. Ask about prices, fees, cancellations. Find out in advance how much a full service will cost, not just the hourly rate. Some companies charge per hour, others per visit or based on square footage. Ask, if you have to cancel, is there a fee? Can you hire for a one-time service, or is a contract required? Service guarantee. What if you're not happy with the service? Is there a guarantee? Find out how far in advance to make your appointment. Some cleaning services operate anywhere from as little as a day to as long as several weeks in advance. Decide how you want the service to enter your home. Establish beforehand if the service will use a key, garage code or if a family member or neighbor will let them in. Ask about insurance. Does the company maintain proper liability insurance? Is it bonded? Does the company do background checks on employees? Consider cleaning agents. Will the company bring its own supplies? Talk about what cleaning agents they use and eco-friendly options available. What's important to you? Talk to the company about what you expect; what you like/dislike. Make any concerns or expectations you have clear upfront. Angie's List collects consumer reviews on local contractors and doctors in more than 550 service categories. Currently, more than 1 million subscribers across the U.S. rely on Angie's List to help them make the best hiring decisions. Members get unlimited access to local ratings via Internet or phone, exclusive discounts, the Angie's List magazine, helpful online articles about home improvement projects, and help from the Angie's List complaint resolution service. Take a quick tour of Angie's List and view the latest Angie's List news. Media Contact:Cheryl

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