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Scratchpad: Best Green Housecleaning Services

Illustration by Mark Nerys  
  • For apartments, winter means slush-streaked rugs, dust-caked radiators, and stale air. Tack on my 2-year-old’s iffy sense of hygiene, and you’ve got one gross living situation. I asked friends and colleagues to recommend maid services they’d used and liked—the only catch being that their processes had to be more or less “green” (given that one member of my household quite literally eats off the floor).

    4. The price for an initial visit from Go Green ( was high: $230, or $35 per cleaner per hour, with a two-worker, three-hour minimum. The two guys showed up toward the end of their hour-long arrival window, then proceeded, as my visiting mother-in-law put it, “to clean like men.” Meaning they vacuumed rugs and polished trash cans with aplomb—but, dudes, you didn’t make the bed!

    3. Despite an overly bureaucratic sign-up process (the rep made me pledge not to steal his employees), Great Green Cleaning ( did a better job at a lower price: $200 for five hours, with a 10 percent discount for booking on the first phone call.

    2. We received nearly the same level of cleaning from Alpha Living (, but for far less money: $88.50 for three hours, with no minimum-time commitment. The cleaner was punctual and pleasant, double-checked that I wanted her to use “the green stuff,” and not only made the bed but folded the clothes strewn on top of it. Only quibbles: She didn’t dust every shelf, and some items, like our toothbrush holder, migrated from their original positions.

    The Winner!
    1. As often happens, the best service was neither the cheapest nor the most expensive. It was UrbanMaidGreen (, which charged $111 for three hours, including a 20 percent discount for mentioning their listing on Yelp. Our appointment was for 9 a.m., and the cleaner, Linet, knocked on our door at 9:01. She did an impeccable job in the bathroom, vacuumed the living-room couch fastidiously, dusted every shelf in sight, and even wore surgeons’ booties on her feet. We’ll call her again before the weather warms up.

    What Is This?
    Each year, everything you see in “Best of New York” has been rigorously tested by a small army of discriminating critics. That’s a given. What you don’t typically see is so much as a glimpse of the process by which we reach our conclusions. To provide a taste of that (and to sneak in a few more picks), we’ve invented the Scratchpad, a brief look at the paths our testers followed in six categories.

From the 2011 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine

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