Agnes Magyari is a font of wisdom about keeping clients happy and making people feel good. She’s the voice of Cleaned By Angels, a Toronto-based cleaning company started by Tamás Győrfi after he migrated to Canada from his native city of Budapest. Tamás is still working on language skills for his adopted country, so he lets Agnes do the talking.
“I’m the mouthpiece,” says Agnes. The pair met when Tamás entered the country needing a translator, and Agnes is fluent in Hungarian, among other languages– including Serbian and Croatian from her native Yugoslavia. She also knows German, making me feel even more terrible about being somewhat mono-lingual. Our conversation detours slightly as she tells me about a woman from Tijuana that she helped with her English skills, and Agnes admonishes me as a Californian to hurry up and learn Spanish already.
Cleaned By Angels is founded on the 20+ years of experience Tamás had in the cleaning industry in Budapest, where he was so highly valued that he was a professional trainer for other cleaners after graduating from vocational school. He developed a system on how to properly clean, utilizing different products for the various locations around the house. The Cleaned By Angels team is currently developing some top secret products they’ll be launching later this year, including an ancient Chinese formula that will leave your funky microwave smelling better than ever. Their plan is to create these products and leave them as calling cards in all the houses and offices they clean.
With Tamás’s extensive background and stellar reputation in the cleaning business and Agnes’s passion for helping customers, the dynamic duo are doing a great job cleaning up Toronto homes and offices. Agnes has been a hairdresser for most of her life, boasting of 50 years experience in that industry. She plans to start a wig company for chemotherapy patients in her spare time, and tells me about the women whose wigs she has made and how thankful they were that she helped them look good during a difficult time. Turning the conversation back to cleaning, Agnes says, “Tamás has the same passion for cleaning that I have for hair! If you do your passion, then it’s not work. And he does his passion.”
On the job
While helping Tamás run the business, Agnes has run into a few interesting situations. She described one client who left two pages of instructions on what NOT to clean, so Agnes ran around the house putting post-it notes on doors to remind everyone of what to clean and what to leave alone in each room. The bathroom on the top floor of the house was not to be touched because the plumbing didn’t work, for example. “I should have taken a picture of that list of what not to do,” says Agnes.
Another client with a huge house shut the doors to all the rooms that she didn’t want cleaned but was later upset when one of the rooms didn’t get cleaned because she’d accidentally left the door closed. Agnes notes that they’ve done other, more frightening jobs, “We’ve even cleaned a hoarder’s home, which luckily was only a one bedroom apartment. It was sad. And we’ve been to places where cockroaches fall on you.”
Three staff members handle most of the jobs, but occasionally there’s a job that requires a fourth person, like the 100 hours spent cleaning a restaurant from top to bottom. “We even did the ceilings. We did the walls, floors, ovens, scrubbed everything inside and out, washed the stairs, did the bathrooms. Customers thought that it had been re-painted, but it was just clean,” says Agnes.
Despite having clients with very large houses, Agnes says that they treat everyone the same, even tiny bachelor pads. “A 150 square foot house is just as important as 7,500 square foot house.”
Agnes credits her grandmother for being a positive influence on her. “She was the wisest person I ever met. I don’t know how she did it with six kids, a huge home, and no running water in her house, but everything was spick-and-span. When you walk in, you think you’re in a church. Everything was done by hand.” Agnes contrasts this with today’s world of modern conveniences that we take for granted, and wonders how her grandmother would have fared. She also admires her father who instilled the motto in her: “Do what you like and like what you do, then it’s not work.”
Not so secret cleaning tip
While the Cleaned By Angels team is busy working on their new product line, I was able to get one solid tip out of Agnes about how to get rid of strong smells in the microwave:
Grate some lemon zest on a damp cloth and microwave it for two minutes so the steam gets lemon-smelling.