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At a time when disinfectant has never been more top of mind, Yellowknife’s Molly Maid cleaning service has held steady through the Covid months.  

Aleem Shivji, owner of Molly Maid Yellowknife, lists the extra cleaning supplies the company has acquired on top of their usual brands. Some of the recent additions include gloves, hand sanitizer, and neutral disinfectants, which Shivji explains are “less smelly” than traditional brands. 

The company had to bring operations to a halt in March after the pandemic was announced. Six weeks later, Shivji and his team were able to once again dust off vacuums and sponges to get back to cleaning.

He explained that his team would typically clean in teams of two or three. Now they sometimes have individuals taking on houses solo, or keeping their distance from teammates when they do travel in pairs, though, only when doing so is within the client’s comfort level.  

“We take all the necessary measures that we have to,” Shivji said.


Tracey Shivji and her husband Aleem run Molly Maid in Yellowknife. She said they have been able to get back “into the groove,” since resuming operations in May. Craig Gilbert/NNSL photo

Molly Maid also provides the times of their arrival and departure so that clients can choose to leave their home or stay isolated in their rooms while the team cleans. 

Tracey Shivji is Molly Maid Yellowknife’s office manager and wife to Aleem. She said having to close the business down was stressful, and that figuring out safe ways of re-opening was “a little stressful” too. 

“Now we’ve kind of gotten into the groove so it’s much easier,” she said.

Aleem said they’ve “lost quite a bit of revenue,” in the pandemic. 

When they returned to cleaning in May, Molly Maid was at about 50 per cent of their normal revenue. Now they’re back up to 90 per cent. 

He said that at first, people were afraid. Since reopening, however, Molly Maid has implemented what they call the healthy home cleaning system. 

“It’s a package where we practice all the rules, make sure our staff don’t have any symptoms, use masks and gloves, keep up with social distancing practices, and use a lot more disinfectant.

“We’re washing every single surface in every single house,” he said. “We’re not touching anything in anybody’s house without gloves.”

The personal relationships they’ve built with their clients have also helped to ease clients’ concerns in keeping lines of communication open, Aleem said. 

When they decided to resume operations in May, Molly Maid “just kept in touch with regular clients on a regular basis.” That, and all of the additional precautions “made them feel a little more comfortable,” Aleem said.

The team has five full-time employees, and two who work part-time.

Each cleaning “team” has their own set of supplies so that cleaning tools are not constantly changing hands, even though Aleem assures they are only being handled with gloves anyways.

They are hoping to extend their services into cleaning offices and other commercial facilities too. 

He said proper cleaning services are more important than ever. 

To prospective clients who may still have health and safety concerns, Aleem stressed that Molly Maid has implemented all of the necessary precautions. 

Aleem bought the franchise in 2010, three years after its launch. 

In the decade he’s owned Molly Maid, he said their revenue has increased tenfold, mostly through word of mouth. Molly Maid cleans about 50 to 60 houses a week.

“Yellowknife is a small place. Pretty much everybody knows everybody so they give us a shoutout and it helps us a lot,” he said. “Google helps, too.”

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Natalie Pressman

Natalie is a graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program. She has since held contracts working with an NGO in Vietnam and with Journalists for Human Rights in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent...

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