In the early 1980s, cleaning lady Carrie Smith opened a boutique in an office building on the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis.
When Smith opened her shop, her business, she said, had “the most diverse customer base in the city of Minneapolis.”
By the time she opened her second shop, two years later, she had transformed her boutique into a “carpeting cleaner,” a name for a woman who cleans carpets.
But she’s also become a symbol for the changing face of carpets cleaning.
In recent years, Smith, who died in 2010, was a key figure in the movement to get carpet cleaning back in the mainstream.
After a wave of public health campaigns in the 1990s, she helped create a “safe, clean” carpet cleaning product called “Carpet Clean.”
The company is now part of a $2 billion marketing push.
“We have seen a lot of people start to feel safer about carpets in the house,” says Susan Brown, co-founder of the nonprofit organization Carpet Cleaning and House Cleaning.
“People are more accepting of the fact that carpets aren’t the cleanest.”
And while many carpet cleaning products today are not marketed to young families, they’re available for those over 40.
Brown says the “cleaner boom” has led to the creation of “crowd-sourced” cleaners.
These companies, often run by parents, use online forums and social media to connect with customers and offer a wide variety of cleaning services.
Many of these cleaners are run by women, some with children, who also are part of the millennial generation.
For example, a Facebook page for a company called C-Rise Cleaners in Denver lists the cleaning of the living room and living room furniture as its primary mission.
The company’s website features pictures of a young woman wearing an apron and carrying a broom.
“It’s the best part of my job,” the website reads.
“When you have a great time, it’s just so much fun.”
The owner of C-Rolling Cleaners, which was founded in 2016, has a young customer base of mothers and young women, and its product is sold as a “clean and healthy” carpet cleaner.
C-rolling cleaner website CarpetCleaner.com