Makin’ it Eco for the Clean Up Woman

Working out of a corner of a sunny Manhattan apartment, 49-year-old Kristin Bergfeld runs an innovative housecleaning and estate clearance business whose unwavering adherence to ecological principles might seem odd in New York, a city better known for its litter-strewn sidewalks and discarded automobile tires floating in the East River.

Since 1987, Bergfeld’s Housekeeping and Cleaning Services has tackled hundred of unkempt New York City apartments, using only nontoxic, cruelty-free cleaning products. Bergfeld’s 19 part-time employees tidy up after tenants who lack the time or inclination for regular cleaning; they also undertake one-shot, thorough cleanups of residences that haven’t seen a broom since Jimmy Carter was in the White House. Bergfeld’s clients include noin-profit organizations and businesses, too, such as Greenpeace, a suite of holistic doctors’ offices, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; some of her employees are mentally or physically handicapped.