The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Obsession with cleaning leads to new business

 

Diana Zimmerman

Relax Call Dana! Dana Hamp returned to the area and started her own business doing something she loves to do, cleaning.

Dana Hamp is no friend to dirt.

"Dirt fears me," she laughed. "I've always been into cleaning, even when I was a child. I call it cleaning therapy."

Hamp's family moved to the Naselle area the same year Mt. St. Helens blew. Her brothers graduated from Naselle High School, but when her parents divorced, she moved to Seattle with her mom.

After finishing high school, she tried beauty college. It didn't take. So back to school she went.

To support herself while she furthered her education, she worked in the janitorial department for Wauna paper mill and off and on for several cleaning services like Merry Maids, Molly Maid and ServiceMaster.

She eventually found employment as an office manager for a big janitorial company in Yakima. The company provided service in four cities, and she managed several crews and about 50 employees.

Hamp is obsessed with laundry, and the compulsion to do it doesn't always stay at home. For fun, she likes to organize her friends' closets, kitchens and pantries.

So it was really no surprise when friends and family suggested that she start her own cleaning business after she returned to the area and struggled to find a job. Thus began Relax Call Dana.

A chance meeting with a local realtor brought her some initial work, but these days, she said, she gets most of her jobs through her ad in The Wahkiakum Eagle.

"What I want to do is one time cleans," Hamp said. "Move ins, move outs. Foreclosures, evictions. Just a one time clean."

She's done estate sales, but really she'd prefer to come in afterwards for junk removal and cleaning.

"I like to clean stuff that other people don't like to clean."

Hamp also likes to work with hoarders.

"Normally they call when they are ready," she said. "I try and make it fun. After it's over they often remark that they feel better, that they 'can breathe'."

Three contract jobs have come her way including the Naselle Rock Pit and Little Island Creamery.

Hamp used to clean vacation rentals, but it's hard to do without an employee to help her. She's looking.

"Once I get an employee, I would like to have them go in and keep up the monthly contracts," Hamp said. "I can go in every quarter and concentrate on the deep cleaning."

She's gotten the office so clean at the rock pit that the employees now insist on wiping their feet before they come in, which tickles her. One employee who suffers from allergies has found relief.

"I clean different," Hamp said. "When I go into your house, I treat your house like mine. I deep clean. Every time I go in, I get deeper and cleaner. Therefore, there are times all I have to do is sanitize a little. I really don't clean the same way twice."

She prefers to use her own products, most of which she purchases at the Dollar Store.

"The chemicals I buy are the same compounds I would get from a commercial janitorial product," Hamp said. She's done this for so long, she knows what works for her and what doesn't.

"I know how my chemicals work," Hamp said. "If somebody gives me a chemical that I don't know anything about and I ruin something, then that's on me. I know most of my chemicals aren't going to hurt anything and I won't use anything that will burn me."

She also prefers a vacuum to a broom and insists on using her own. That way she knows the vacuum and filter are clean. And yes, she vacuums the creamery on Puget Island. Why push the dirt around with a broom? Better to remove it, that's her philosophy.

The thing about Hamp is this: she doesn't have to do the dirty work. She wants to, and that makes all the difference.

 

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