It’s fair to say that Midge Lyon has been cleaning all her life. While she officially launched Green Clean north of Boston in 2006, as a kid she was cleaning her neighbor’s home many years before that. “I was 11-years-old and cleaned for this older man across the street every Friday for $10, if you can imagine!” Midge laughed. She’s always had the entrepreneurial spirit and says her uncle reminds her that she was always the first person to raise money for her school trips. She would also buy a big jar of lollipops and sell them off to her classmates for a quarter each. “I made a chunk of change on lollipops!”
Growing up, she tagged along with her mother who was cleaning houses and who would give Midge small tasks to handle. After reaching teenage years, she worked as a chamber maid in Cape Ann, and credits those days as when she started to really care about cleaning. “I’d put on headphones to dust and vacuum and enter fantasyland. I’d think ‘I’m going to clean this room as if the next person who stays here is allergic to dust,’ and realized that every room should be cleaned with that much care.” After that, she set the quality bar high for herself and made sure she went the extra mile on every cleaning.
A few years later, she had a few clients that she did cleaning and organizing for and started hanging flyers up around town promoting her green cleaning methods. Midge had begun researching a vegan/vegetarian diet which led her to learn about what goes into cleaning products and body care products. After discovering the dangers of conventional cleaning products, she switched to non-toxic cleaners and took her clients along for the green cleaning ride.
Early on she biked to her clients with vacuum in tow, further promoting her eco-friendly company. The name for her company grew out of the flyers for her service and everyone started calling her the Green Clean girl. “People were so excited. Nobody was doing green cleaning around here in 2006, so there was a huge response.”
Green Clean won 6 “Best of North Shore” awards and her clients are thrilled with the high quality of the cleaning her company provides. Midge is enthusiastic about her day-to-day life, and when I asked her what she likes most about her job, she said, “So much! I like the actual work—I still like cleaning, which is amazing after all these years. I have a lot of pride in my work. I take it seriously. I love the actual cleaning, and I love the people that I meet, both clients and employees.”
Midge credits her branding as an all-natural, woman-owned, eco-friendly cleaning business as the way she has attracted great clients. “They are all very compassionate, cool people. I know I would have a different experience if I were running a secular franchise service.”
While she’s been an eco-warrior for many years, she faced a serious test a few years ago when she found a maggot infestation in her kitchen trash. “I came close to using bleach, but I prevailed and didn’t use it. I dumped everything out in the trash and kept washing it one wash after another. I haven’t used bleach in 12 years!”
She is passionate about animal rights, the ACLU, organic food, vegan diets, and positive social change. “I’m very big into supporting the local economy,” she said, voting with her wallet to help these businesses.
One thing Midge takes very seriously is the quality of her work. “My work is very much from my heart. I’m very present and careful. I do an awesome job and I know it! Every job matters a lot to me. And you should care—you’re in someone’s home, their sacred space. That’s an honor. You need to feel that trust.”
For fun, Midge spends a lot of time in the woods near where she lives, hiking. “I’m an introvert and I really value my alone time. That’s my happy time. There’s so much interfacing that goes on with the business that I need to recharge.” As a fellow introvert, I was excited to hear Midge articulate this strategy of how to gain energy back—sometimes it seems like I interview a parade of non-stop extroverts! Or maybe everyone puts a bit of extraversion out during our conversations. Either way, very refreshing!
Midge has a 9-year-old daughter, but you won’t find her out hustling for her own cleaning gigs yet—laws are now more stringent about age requirements for working.
To book an amazing eco-friendly cleaning service in Salem or Cape Ann, Massachusetts, check out Green Clean.
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