HICKORY — Matthew Brown lifts a bottle of his surface cleaner up to eye level, points it and sprays into his mouth.
Fear not. It’s not the average household cleaner.
“It may not taste good, but it’s safe,” Brown said. “If a child or pets get into it, they’re not going to die from the hazardous materials.”
Brown, a senior at Lenoir-Rhyne University, started his own cleaning business last January. RaiseSpot specializes in cleaning with eco-friendly products. Many of the ingredients are derived from plants, Brown said. Among its services, the company cleans carpet, windows and blinds.
Brown, 21, said his stain remover attacks dirt, food and liquids from carpets. When he hasn’t been studying for his business management and marketing majors, he’s been researching, crafting and testing his own cleaning formulas.
“I discolored a part of my carpet when I did this,” Brown said. “That’s why when we test, we do it in an inconspicuous place, so it doesn’t look bad, but when you’re using all-natural ingredients, it’s hard for that to happen.”
Brown felt inspired to create the company after learning about businesses, such as TOMS Shoes, that give away products to make a positive impact.
“You don’t see that happening in the service industry,” Brown said. “I realized I wanted to do something that would make a difference.”
He recommends his natural surface cleaner for surfaces such as granite and marble, while his all-purpose cleaner is suited as a disinfectant or bathroom cleaner.
Brown has ambitious goals for the company. He wants to open a retail location in the next two years. The store would serve as a hub for service and for eco-friendly cleaning products from his company and others. He hopes to hire employees in the near future.
However, he wants to stay grounded. He believes in running a socially responsible business.
“We’re going to give a percentage of our profits back to the community,” Brown said. “We’ll spend our own personal time giving back to the community because it’s important for the business to give back just as much as much as the community has given the business.”
In the meantime, he’s been cleaning for friends and family, while seeking out new clients, such as businesses who need spot cleaning.