MARQUETTE - Marquette area natives David Gies, 20, and Lance Larson, 23, love to clean, so they decided to start a business to support their obsession. But their Clean Freaks Cleaning and Consultation Services has a unique take on the custodial business. The two Northern Michigan University students exclusively clean with environmentally friendly and non-toxic cleaning products, vegetable-based soap, washable rags and - whenever possible - energy efficient appliances. "It's a lifestyle," Gies said. "And we want to help other people in general to live healthier and be healthier with their cleaning." Gies, who studies business administration at NMU, said besides cleaning homes and businesses with environmentally friendly products, he and his partner also offer consultation on how to run a "greener" household by creating an action plan. "You're not giving up anything by going green," he said. "It's actually improving the quality of life of our customers." Gies said biodegradable cleaning products do not emit toxic fumes like chemically-based products, which can create problems for people who suffer from respiratory ailments. Larson, who studies photography at NMU, said there are no other cleaning businesses in the Marquette area focusing exclusively on environmentally friendly products. "Marquette definitely needs a company like ours to cut down on the toxic pollution which other chemicals leave behind," he said. Consultation on how to reduce waste and energy consumption is also part of the Clean Freaks individualized "green" action plan. "There are a lot of things that can be done," Gies said. "What we want to provide is helping businesses to come up with a comprehensive plan to improve their operations." Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is a must for the two entrepreneurs. When they hike, they take a bag with them to collect garbage. They believe in fair trade products, they walk whenever possible and Gies just traded in his car for a smaller and more energy efficient one. Recycling, reusing containers and other items as well as eating organic foods are also part of the team's lifestyle. "Our philosophy goes beyond just our cleaning products," Gies said, adding that their business fliers are printed on 100 percent recycled paper. Clean Freaks has been in business since March and currently has three customers. One of their customers is Patty Gies, David's mother. After absorbing her son's green lessons, she now uses eco-friendly cleaning products in addition to those she already has in her closet. He's also helped her choose the right products to, for instance, clean her tub better. "That's been very helpful," she said. For more information on Clean Freaks, go to www.cleanfreaksmqt.com.
David Gies of Clean Freaks Cleaning and Consultation Services cleans up at a local business. (Journal photo by Miriam Moeller)