Sept. 17 will mark the second annual “National Professional House Cleaners Day.”

The observance is sponsored by The American House Cleaners Association and its leaders, Kevin and Grace Reynolds of Walla Walla, Washington, who saw a larger vision for this industry nationwide.

Suzi Virgilio and her company, DeLand-based HTD Cleaning Services, are members of this growing community, which boasts more than 20,000 members worldwide. The association is increasing its membership in Volusia County, several of which are based in West Volusia.

“We are changing the public’s perception of the cleaning industry from the stigmas attached throughout the centuries. Cleaners, maids and janitors have always been considered a non-skilled, low-wage profession. This is no longer the case,” said Virgilio, a retired Volusia County corrections officer and a West Volusia resident. “We educate the public. The AHCA educates all members to be the best in their field. We offer courses/certifications to become Professional House Cleaners; as well as COVID-19 Cleaning Certifications. The education never stops, and new courses/certifications are added. There is a science and a system to everything we do.”

Some AHCA members have bachelor’s and master’s degrees and had worked for corporate America, Virgilio said.

“They hated their careers. Now, they work in this industry and love what they do. It takes a certain kind of passion to do this job. It is physically demanding work eight to 12 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said. “If a person does not have the passion, and physical or mental endurance, they will not last long in the field. It’s great to know we have a group of professionals.”

The “Handmaid Cleaning Community-Powered by the AHCA” page on Facebook is where professionals can go to share ideas, inspire others, and help to build this industry together, Virgilio said.

“We have huge plans for this industry, and we are just getting started,” she said. “Clients are our bread and butter, and knowing how to work with many different personalities is challenging, at times, for business owners. There is no ‘one size fits all’ for clients’ homes.”

Pricing varies, depending on the size of the home, type of cleaning, location, frequency of the service, cost of supplies and equipment, and other factors, All these things are taken into consideration when pricing and giving estimates. It’s all part of educating the clients.

“We invite all cleaning business owners/employees to join our group so we can all work at the same level of professionalism and break down the stigma barriers,” Virgilio said.

HTD Cleaning Services — the initials stand for honest, trustworthy and dependable — offers weekly, biweekly, monthly, move-in/move-out, post-construction, post-remodel and commercial cleaning services. HTD offers cleaning and electrostatic spraying services for COVID-19. The company serves most of Volusia County and can be contacted at 770-568-2394 or by visiting www.htdcleaningservices.com.

Anyone wanting to become a member of AHCA can contact Virgilio at the above number or visit www.theAHCA.org.