I spoke with Tashan Barclay on the Fourth of July, and she laughed at how appropriate it was that she was sending in her application for U.S. citizenship on America’s birthday. Originally from Jamaica, Tashan followed her mother and grandmother to New York City over twenty years ago. She’s bursting with creativity, blowing off steam by drawing, deejaying, and practicing her guitar. That creativity comes through in her business as well—she makes her own cleaning products to delight the clients of Perfect Lady Cleaning, a business she started in 2014 that offers aromatherapy and steam cleaning as well as more traditional cleaning services. Like other NYC-based cleaning companies, she used the subway to get to jobs when she first got started but she now has a vehicle that she frequently uses to pick up and drop off her helpers.
Tashan was drawn to cleaning after she noticed that the cleaning services she hired to clean her apartment weren’t doing a good job. “My apartment would basically be about the same state of clean as before the cleaners arrived,” she said. The idea for starting her own business percolated slowly. First she tried to convince her mother, who cleans hotels, to start her own cleaning company, but her mother wasn’t interested. When Tashan started working in real estate, she found that she had some extra time to start working on her own business, so she launched Perfect Lady Cleaning.
After a few sessions with traditional cleaning products, Tashan realized that she needed to go green. “I didn’t like how I felt after using those products. My eyes and nose would be watery, like something wasn’t right with what I was using,” she said. Turning to some of the green cleaning products on the market, she quickly decided to tap her creative streak and make her own eco-friendly products. “The green cleaning products on the market just weren’t up to par—they would build up in the bathroom and make it messier, faster.” After doing some research, Tashan began making her own cleaning products and experimenting with various essential oils like rose, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, grapefruit, and citronella. How do her clients react? “They always say, ‘It smells so good!’”
Right now it’s mostly Tashan working alongside one other person to handle the cleanings, but she knows she needs to train others to use her cleaning products so that she can send more employees out on their own. “When I give people the products to use, they don’t understand how it works, so I need to explain how to use these.”
Besides handling all of her clients’ cleaning needs, Tashan gets excited about tweaking her cleaning products to make them great for every surface. “I’ve been trying to figure out why some floors got really slippery and other floors did not when I was using essential oils in the floor cleaner. Then I realized, ‘Duh! Oils are not going to be absorbed by wax floors so they’ll be slippery.’”
Tashan is a big believer in steam cleaning as a powerful eco-friendly cleaner. “With steam cleaning, you’re going to get a deeper clean than just cleaning with chemicals. I cleaned my mom’s kitchen and she’s a professional cleaner who cleans hotels. When I cleaned her kitchen, I realized she doesn’t really clean, she just wipes it clean. I think that’s part of the training for people who clean hotels—they just clean surfaces because they have a time constraint, like 20 minutes per room. So when I started steam cleaning her oven, there was a lot of junk coming off the walls.” She also stresses that the steam cleaning will keep dirt and grime away for about a month.
She admits that in a very few cases, some people don’t need help cleaning. “I went to one person’s apartment and told her, ‘You don’t really need a cleaning service.’ Her hand was broken so she wanted someone to come in and clean, but when I was finished, the bathroom was just as clean as it was when I started.“ Tashan prefers to clean rooms that really need her attention. “I love it when the bathroom or kitchen is dirty because when I’m done cleaning it people say ‘Yeah, that’s so great!’”
Tips on cleaning
Tashan recommends cleaning clockwise, doing one thing at a time and focusing. “And also move things. Most people don’t. They spend the same amount of time going around the thing they’re avoiding than it would take to pick it up and clean under it.” She also suggests having a daily routine, cleaning up after you cook, and putting things back into place once you’re done with them. Her favorite tip is to use a Swiffer mop with a microfiber cloth to clean things that you wouldn’t want to touch with your hands, or to clean high up on walls.
To experience the benefits of an aromatherapy clean, book an appointment with Perfect Lady Cleaning today!