DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Cleaning has become a profession critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 1.7 million people in the U.S. are janitors, according to Brookings.
ABC11 met a Durham woman who left her nurse assistant job to become one of those essential workers.
"I've been cleaning all my life," said Shamire Teasley, who now cleans to save lives.
Teasley earns a living as a janitor disinfecting Triangle businesses to help eliminate the spread of COVID-19.
"I just put my music on and get in the zone," Teasley said. "I love cleaning. I think it helps the soul, the mind."
The 40-year-old launched LuRay's Cleaning Service last summer, after working as a nurse assistant for 20 years.
"I just wanted to do something a little bit different," Teasley said.
LuRay's Cleaning Service, a franchise of Anago Cleaning Systems, disinfects medical and dental offices around in the area.
She started with two employees, but now has 20, hiring people who lost their job during COVID-19.
On Tuesday, the group cleaned the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, a dormitory-style residential school.
"The students, they love it. Every time they walk past us, 'Thank you so much for doing this for us,'" Teasley said.
Teasley, who is Black, never imagined months after starting her new business that it would become so vital to her community.
But her essential business comes with a risk. People of color face disparities.
Black people make up 13 percent of the U.S. population. Hispanics or Latinos represent 18 percent.
Both groups are overrepresented in front line jobs at a total of 33 percent, compared to their numbers in society according to Brookings.
Teasley said she's not worried of testing positive for COVID-19. She said her team wears masks when cleaning.
"The Lord is going to keep me clear so I can keep doing what I'm doing. I'm just not afraid," said Teasley.
For more information about her cleaning service, Shamire Teasley can be reached at 919-797-8758 or TuckerShamire0916@gmail.com.