Try googling “dry cleaners in Manhattan” and you will come up with over 5,000 hits. Of those 5,000, fewer than 1,500 identify themselves as green or organic. This means that over 70% of New York City’s dry cleaners are using chemicals that are not only harmful to the customer and their clothes, but the environment as well. But even the 1,500 other cleaners that claim to be organic and natural are using solvents and compounds that are anything but.

In a city where a large percentage of the population needs dry-clean-only suits for their professional lives, relying on dry cleaners—and all their negative side-effects—is unavoidable. However, thanks to David Kistner and Chris Skelley, using a professional cleaning service no longer means having to infest our homes and the environment with dangerous compounds. Out of concern for the health of their families and the environment, David and Chris founded Green Apple Cleaners: a completely organic, chemical-free professional cleaners imbued with the same sense of environmental responsibility and health awareness that New Yorkers value so highly.

So what sets Green Apple Cleaners apart from their competitors, organic and non-organic alike? The crucial difference lies in the cleaning methods and substances used. According to an EPA report, at least 85% of dry cleaners use a chemical called perchloroethylene—or “perc”—as their primary cleaning solvent. Negative health effects of perc can range from dizziness and


headaches, to memory loss, to liver and kidney damage depending on exposure, and it has been known to cause cancer in mammals. Perc can also contribute to the photochemical smog that is a permanent characteristic of our city. Perc stays on your clothes after dry cleaning and can be released into your home, where it can stay as long as a week. And it’s not just the clothes that get a taste of these chemicals. Perc can cause harm both to the people working with it on a daily basis and the people living around dry cleaners, where the chemical is regularly released into the air.

There are several “organic” alternatives to using perc that offer no better solutions. One alternative used by natural or organic cleaners is hydrocarbon solvents which are petroleum based, which means they emit volatile organic compounds. Another up-and-coming “green” alternative is known as GreenEarth and is composed of a volatile silicon compound known as methyl siloxane. The EPA is still evaluating the safety of this compound, which can cause uterine tumors in rats at high concentrations.
Green Apple Cleaners is the first dry cleaner in the tri-state area to use a truly organic method known as CO2 dry cleaning, which uses liquid carbon dioxide to gently and organically clean clothes. While David and Chris did not discover this organic and safe alternative to harmful dry cleaning chemicals, they are the first and only organic dry cleaner in New York City that employs this method.  Green Apple Cleaners’ revolutionary technique doesn’t sacrifice the quality of their cleaning methods, guaranteeing clean clothes that smell fresh and chemical-free. This makes Green Apple Cleaners among the safest and most effective options for dry cleaning.

Green Apple Cleaners is committed to setting an example of safety and environmental responsibility. They are bringing a much needed green revolution to an industry that is outdated and brings chemical danger much too close to home. The next time you visit an organic dry cleaner, be sure to get the facts about the methods they are using. When it comes to the health of you and your family, make sure your clothes and your home are truly clean.

-Bekah Holloway