Green Apple Cleaners expands reach to health conscious customers

CO2 technology is just the tip of the iceberg for Green Apple Cleaners

by Martha Shaw

NEW YORK, NY,. – JUNE 10, 2008 – It was good news for Manhattan this week when Green Apple Cleaners bought its second state-of-the-art Solvair Cleaning System. Dry cleaning’s “green revolution,” the Solvair technology uses liquid CO2 and is the only technology designed from start to finish to achieve better cleaning while minimizing impact on the environment.

Solvair Cleaning Systems use a closed loop system designed to eliminate emissions to the atmosphere and ensure maximum reclamation of recyclable materials. A biodegradable cleaning formula helps remove dirt and stains. One element of this formula, chosen for its safe profile and cleaning ability, is a propylene glycol ether that is completely and readily biodegradable into water and CO2. These propylene glycol ethers should not to be confused with ethylene glycol ethers, the variety found in products like anti-freeze.

“As dry cleaners struggle to meet environmental regulations that require costly new equipment, misleading “organic” and “natural” claims by some traditional cleaners keep customers guessing about what is really green,” says David Kistner, the CEO of Green Apple Cleaners. “Solvair is the real deal.”

Liquid CO2 in a pressurized machine is used to wash the cleaning formula from the clothes. This CO2 has been captured from other emission sources, thus avoiding green house gas release. The eco-safe formula is attracted to and thoroughly removed by the liquid CO2, and continually recovered, recycled and reused within the machine for maximum efficiency. Clothes float in liquid and CO2 vapor, cushioned from tumbling damage. The pressure in the machine is then reduced until the liquid CO2 evaporates. Clothes dry completely and instantly leaving clothes free of stains, dirt and residue from other dry cleaners. This gentle process noticeably helps prolong the life of the garment.

According to David Kistner, reduction in energy consumption is a welcome side effect. “We’ve seen a 52% reduction in our utility costs since we started using Solvair.”

CO2 technology is just the tip of the iceberg for Green Apple Cleaners.

The only two Solvair Cleaning Systems in the New York Metro area are both owned and operated by Green Apple Cleaners, founded by eco-entrepreneurs David Kistner and Christopher Skelley. This New Jersey based company has served Manhattan and select areas of New Jersey with environmentally friendly CO2 and Wet Cleaning services since 2006. The two new Solvair Cleaning Systems cost more than $150K each, but Green Apple Cleaners thinks they are well worth it. “We set out to offer our customers premium care and cleaning of garments and other items they entrust to us. Customers trust us to treat the world around them carefully as well. We chose Solvair machinery not just because it gets clothes cleaner, but because it is the only process to integrate environmental stewardship into its design.”

Green Apple Cleaners as a company is eco-conscious throughout its entire operation. Their fleet of bio-diesel ready trucks and smart cars is a welcome sight in Manhattan, where they pick up and deliver garments in their signature garment totes to over 450 residential and commercial buildings, and 10,000 clients. Though the bulk of their business is pickup and delivery, they have already opened two storefront locations in NYC and two in New Jersey with seven more planned this year. For more information or to sign up for services, visit or call 1-888-I-LUV-CO2 (1-888-458-8262).

For more information, please contact:

David Kistner Green Apple Cleaners
Phone: 1-888-458-8262

Earth Advertising
Phone: (212) 933-1391

Beware of Green Washing by “Organic” Dry Cleaners

Earth Day message from Green Apple Cleaners

by Martha Shaw

NEW YORK, NY – April 22, 2008 –”Organic” and “green” claims by dry cleaners are showing up on every corner, but customers must beware of this misleading marketing tactic. The term “organic” refers to toxic volatile organic compounds found in dry cleaning solvents, and there is nothing environmentally friendly about them. Used in lieu of safe and effective modern cleaning technologies, these organic compounds are harsh, potentially toxic chemicals ranging from petroleum-based perchloroethylene and hydrocarbons to liquid silicone.

Unlike organic food, organic dry cleaning is neither healthy for the planet, nor healthy for people. In fact, numerous studies report quite the opposite to be true. The chemicals used pose such a threat to the environment that in many states they are being outlawed.

Thanks to new technology, clothes labeled “Dry Clean Only” can now be cleaned harmlessly with pressurized liquid carbon dioxide in a method called CO2-cleaning, and with water in a process called Wet-cleaning. These gentle cleaning processes work to get clothes clean, while holding their shape and protecting the integrity and color of the fabric from harsh detergents that also wreak havoc on the environment.

How can you find a CO2 dry cleaner? There aren’t many. Because the equipment is at a premium and must be operated by highly skilled garment specialists, CO2 dry cleaners are few and far between. Just don’t be fooled by signs that read, “organic.” Search engines, and the website can help you to find a bona fide CO2 cleaner in your area.

New York City and New Jersey residents have the advantage of Green Apple Cleaners, the only CO2 dry cleaner in the Northeast. This eco-conscious, door-to-door service offers non-toxic cleaning and spot removal for shirts, suits, coats, dresses, shoes, handbags, linens, drapes, carpets, furniture and mattresses, as well as in-home tailoring. And the company itself is green through and through, from the plant to the planet.

This Earth Day, take a stand against green washing by misleading “organic” or “green” cleaners who use perchloroethylene, hydrocarbons, and liquid silicone. Choose safe, natural CO2 or water, the universal solvent. It’s better for you, your clothes and the environment. Get the truth about green dry cleaning at

For more information, please contact:

David Kistner Green Apple Cleaners
Phone: (888) 458-8262
Martha Shaw Earth Advertising
Phone: (212) 933-1391

Green Apple Cleaners turning the Big Apple Green

New York, NY – January 31, 2008 – New York State has filed lawsuits against at least three companies for groundwater and soil contamination that they attribute to perc, the dry cleaning chemical perchloroethylene (PCE) used by over 90% of all drycleaners. In California and recently proposed in New Jersey, the use of perc in dry cleaning will be outlawed within the decade. Not only bad for your health, it turns out that harsh dry cleaning chemicals and traditional finishing methods can also be harmful to clothing by dulling the finish, breaking fibers and leaving residues on the garments.

The timing couldn’t be better for health conscious Green Apple Cleaners, the only environmentally friendly dry cleaner in Manhattan. At the Green Apple Cleaners plant in New Jersey, trained specialists using state-of-the-art CO2, Wet Cleaning and European Finishing equipment, treat garments with gentle handling. The special care they give to the clothes, and to the customers, has been recognized by Green Apple Cleaners’ acceptance into the elite group of prestigious cleaners – “America’s Best Cleaners(TM)”. Their care for the planet has placed them among New York’s top green businesses and they are one of the founding members of the Sustainable Business Network of New York.

Taking care of the environment was the brainstorm of entrepreneur David Kistner and his partner Christopher Skelley who founded the business in 2006. When Mr. Kistner’s wife announced they were having twins four years ago, he vowed to keep hazardous chemicals not only out of reach, but also out of their home. In searching for safer dry cleaning in New York, he found no alternative solutions. Two years later, Green Apple Cleaners is now servicing over 450 buildings in Manhattan and over 9,000 clients, including the big apple’s most celebrated personalities. Though the bulk of their business is pickup and delivery, they have already added two storefront locations last year with four more planned for 2008.

The popularity of Green Apple Cleaners is a sign that New York City is serious about going green. Another boost for the brand is that more people are catching on to the misleading “organic” signs cropping up on dry cleaning windows all over town. As the CEO and founder David Kistner says, “If clothes could talk they’d tell you that “organic” means volatile organic compounds – pretty tricky!”

On another environmental front, Mayor Bloomberg’s new plastic bag recycling law will require over 2,000 stores in Manhattan, including many large dry cleaning operations, to take responsibility for their plastic bags. “It is important to take as many steps as we can to recycle plastic bags,” Bloomberg says. “They are not biodegradable, but instead break down into small pieces that pollute the water and soil. Due to their light weight, plastic bags can easily escape from our sanitation system…” Green Apple Cleaners supports waste reduction with its signature black garment bags used to transport dry cleaning to and from their customers in eco-friendly vehicles. Any disposable bags they use are 100% biodegradable.

Early on, Green Apple Cleaners founders secured the telephone identity 1-888 I LUV CO2 to tout CO2 as the key to cleaner cleaning, and wrote the company motto themselves: The Cleaner Dry Cleaner. Get the real dirt on dry cleaning by visiting

Breathing easy: Improving the air quality in your home

By Martha Shaw

With winter approaching, the joy of keeping all the windows open to let fresh air in our homes is behind us. We begin sealing up our houses, latching storm windows and applying weather stripping to prevent heat loss before cold weather sets in.

When we think about weatherizing our homes, we should also consider how best to refresh the air inside. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is basic to human health, particularly for the very young and elderly who are more susceptible to the effects of dirty air and who typically spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors. Even in crowded, industrial cities, outside air is usually much cleaner than the air inside, and the Island is no exception.

“Though houses are more energy efficient and built tighter than ever before, the natural exchange of air with the outdoors through leaky windows is less,” says Jim Hart of Hart Company Plumbing and Heating, Inc. in Vineyard Haven.

As a result, emissions from detergents, pesticides, furnishings, gas appliances, oil burners, paints, toxic construction materials, and radon can get trapped indoors. Also, unwanted flora and fauna like fungi, algae, pollen grains, viruses, bacteria, and dust mites can flourish inside our homes. Combined, the concentration of these pollutants can be up to a hundred times higher than outside air, particularly when indoor air is re-circulated for an extended period of time.
“Heat ducts and clothes dryers can become moist breeding grounds for mites and mold and it’s very important to clean or replace the filters,” says Mr. Hart. “We open up heat registers and find dead insects, mouse droppings, animal hair, dander and other things that you don’t want getting into the air you breathe.”

Fireplaces, wood and coal stoves, and kerosene heaters can also be a major source of indoor air pollution. Mr. Hart suggests tuning up gas stoves and furnaces every few years to reduce dirty fuel emissions, to get air ducts cleaned, and to vacuum out electric heaters before they are turned on.

According to John Abrams of South Mountain Company in West Tisbury, who specializes in energy efficient building, some homeowners install mechanical ventilation, the best of which is an energy-efficient heat recovery ventilator (HRV). An HRV filters and preheats fresh outside air in exchange for stale indoor air.

Proper ventilation is key

Radon is a natural gas, yet dangerous when high levels of it are trapped inside. It is found in most homes at very low levels. Originating naturally in earth and rocks, and even groundwater, it seeps in from beneath the house through cracks in concrete and flooring and through floor drains. Radon becomes a problem when it gets trapped without proper ventilation. It is estimated that prolonged exposure to radon is the number two cause of lung cancer. Fortunately, testing for radon, as well as getting rid of it, is relatively simple. One good source for finding out more about radon and for ordering test kits is

Ventilate well when using paints, paint stripper, glue, caulking, welding tools, and sanding equipment, or wait for a nice day and do these projects outside or with the windows open. Cleaning dete and bug sprays, mildew fighters, and dust busters may be advertised to get your house cleaner than clean, but don’t be fooled. Many of thes products are unregulated and untested in terms of their health risks. You can find natural alternatives specializing in nontoxic products and homemade remedies. If you hire professionals to clean your home, let them know that you prefer natural products, and provide them with your own supplies if they aren’t offered. You’ll spare your septic system and the Island’s soil and groundwater of toxic chemicals.

Prevent mold growth

Mold growth is usually obvious to spot in your house, but there are invisible spores that are equally toxic. Because they are invisible and airborne, they pose a higher risk to people who are susceptible to respiratory disease. These spores contain allergens whether they are dead, alive, or dormant, and they need to be physically removed, preferably by a vacuum. Mold mitigation professionals will isolate the area, set the spores into suspension, and suck them up through powerful air scrubbers known as air “polishers.” In some cases, sheetrock and other affected surfaces must be replaced.

To help prevent mold growth, keep household humidity below 50 percent. Make sure rain and melting snow are directed away from your house and your rain spouts are operating effectively. During the winter, vents in the basement, bathrooms and above the kitchen stove should be run frequently to avoid moisture from building up on walls, floors, ceilings, wall cavities, and tile grout. If you see condensation on pipes in your home, you have moisture, a breeding ground for mold. The easiest way to detect mold and mildew is a musty smell, which is of microscopic life side your home. Ac- Donald Cronig of Beacon Home Inspections in Vineyard Haven, up to 20 percent of the air pollution in a home comes from the basement through stairwells, laundry chutes, and other openings. He recommends a good dehumidifier and a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air filter) in the basement to extract mites, spores, chemicals, and other pollutants, and personally uses IQAir Health-Pro Plus in his own home. Unfortunately, Beacon Home Inspections is no longer in the business of indoor air quality and the Vineyard does not appear to have a full-time IAQ professional working on the Island. One off-Island resource is Nauset Environmental Services, and another is the Indoor Air Quality Association at Also reference the book, “The Mold Survival Guide for Your Home and Your Health,” by Jeff and Connie May.

The good news is that winter doesn’t last forever and there are plenty of warm days here and there to air out the house. The best way to prevent toxic build-up in your home is to choose products and building materials wisely and take precautionary steps before indoor pollutants become highly concentrated and out of control. That way, your whole family can breathe easier. Martha Shaw of Oak Bluffs specializes in environmental issues and is the founder of Earth Advertising, an agency that promotes the use of earth-friendly products.

To find out more about energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on the Island, visit This article is sponsored by the Vineyard Energy Project through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The Vineyard Energy Project promotes sustainable energy choices through education, outreach, and renewable energy projects. The author, Martha Shaw, is a member of the Vineyard Energy Project’s advisory board. The Times publishes these columns as a service to its readers.

What You Don’t Know About Your Cleaning Products Can Hurt You

By Martha Shaw (MVTimes, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts)

While the chemicals in modern household cleansers may dissolve more dirt and grime faster than ever before, the airborne particles and invisible toxic film left behind easily go unnoticed. There are thousands of chemicals lurking in cleaning solutions that are proven to be hazardous to our health and the environment in varying degrees. For many reasons, medical research can’t tell us exactly how much human exposure is too much. What we do know is that the household cleaning product market is nearly $18 billion strong and the industry has one of the most powerful lobbying forces in Washington to protect its liberty to produce and sell chemicals to consumers with few restrictions regarding health and the environment.

The average household contains anywhere from 3 to 25 gallons of toxic materials, most of which are cleaning agents, degreasers, polishers, disinfectants, waxes, sanitizers, deodorizers, anti-redeposition agents, bleaches, drain clearers, oven cleaners, builders, mildewcides, enzymes and optical brighteners. According to research conducted by the EPA, the air inside the average household is two to three times more polluted than air just outside its walls. One five-year study revealed that the levels of certain chemicals in many homes were 70 times greater than they were outdoors. Activists claim that we are all guinea pigs. What statistics do reveal is that homemakers and cleaning professionals have a higher than average incidence of cancer.

According to the Children’s Health and Environmental Coalition ( small children are the most vulnerable. The ratio of chemical concentration to body size is higher, they touch most everything, and they have a habit of putting fingers and toes in their mouths. The same observations are true about pets. Many organizations have been founded to inform the public on how to keep homes and yards safe from toxic household cleaning products. Others focus on related health conditions. On the Island, groups have formed to look at how toxins affect human health and other forms of life when they pollute soil, surface water and groundwater. A common link among these local alliances is the Vineyard Conservation Society (

Across the country, there are other public-interest groups that are advocating for Right-to-Know laws that would require the chemical manufacturers of household products to list ingredients on the packaging. To keep your home safe, a rule of thumb is to choose products that voluntarily disclose the ingredients — even if you don’t quite know what they are. Instead, an arsenal of cleaning products have warnings: keep out of reach of children; hazardous to humans and pets; eye irritant; avoid food contact; flammable; avoid contact with eyes, skin and clothing; harmful if swallowed and do not induce vomiting. The most common environmental warnings are variations on: Do not reuse bottle. Rinse bottle carefully. Discard in trash.

While the big names in cleaning products can fuel a cleaning frenzy to get our homes cleaner than clean through enormous expenditures in advertising, smaller brands are often overlooked. But a growing number of safe, non-toxic cleaning products are getting a foot in the market. Finding these products requires looking a little harder. Name brands including Seventh Generation and Sun & Earth are safe choices available in some Island stores, and you can order others on-line at sites including Another healthy alternative is to make your own. Natural acids in orange, lemon, and vinegar and other things occurring in nature cut through grease and grime, and baking soda is an excellent abrasive. Water, the great universal solvent, does a great job of cleaning up most everyday messes. There are also non-toxic alternatives for almost every use of pesticides. For instance, pepper and natural boric acid sprinkled along baseboards, crawl spaces, and cupboards can create a barrier to insects.

Plenty of literature is available on fighting dirt and germs with healthy product choices and home remedies. You can download a free “Guide to a Toxin-free Home” at, which also includes an index to chemicals. Other good sources are, “The Sierra Club Green Guide,” and the “Safe Shopper’s Bible: A Consumer’s Guide to Non-Toxic Household Products, Cosmetics and Food.”

Choosing environmentally safe products is a topic close to home on an island where natural resources are strikingly finite. Very little research is available on the individual destiny paths of toxins once they are poured, washed, and flushed into our septic systems and waterworks. While the dangers of chlorine-based chemicals and phosphates to surface and groundwater are well documented, others are not.

The best way to protect your family and the Island’s eco-system from toxic household cleaning products is to use only products that state specifically that they are toxic-free and earth-friendly. Then you leave nothing to chance.

Martha Shaw is a science and media specialist who focuses on sustainable practices. She lives in Oak Bluffs and is the founder of Earth Advertising, a production company that promotes conscientious consumption. She is on the New England Aquarium Marine Advisory Board and Vineyard Unplugged, and is a board director of MVTV.