Northside Cleaners going more eco-friendly with new machine

Northside Cleaners Manager Mary Whitesell (left) and owner Chris Zahm stand next to the new Union HXL 8018-C dry cleaning machine that was recently installed at the laundry. The new unit, made in Italy, is more environmentally-friendly than previous machines.
Northside Cleaners Manager Mary Whitesell (left) and owner Chris Zahm stand next to the new Union HXL 8018-C dry cleaning machine that was recently installed at the laundry. The new unit, made in Italy, is more environmentally-friendly than previous machines. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

A new dry cleaning machine recently installed at Northside Cleaners may help reduce the carbon footprint of the clothing it cleans.

The machine, a Union HXL 8018-C, which was made in Italy and shipped to Huntington, is the latest technology available, says Chris Zahm, who owns Northside Cleaners. The new addition roughly amounts to a $45,000 investment by the company.

“It was time to work toward a greener solution in the dry-cleaning industry. They’re working hard to stay environmentally friendly, so we started to make that change,” she says. “We continue to invest in our business, which to me, is investing in our community.”

It’s the third dry cleaning machine that Northside has had since it opened for business 47 years ago, she adds.

“It uses alternative solvents,” Zahm explains. “It offers exceptional cleaning properties. It has the latest advances in computerized technology.”

It took crews a couple of days to install the huge machine. They had to remove a back wall that goes out into the car wash side of the store as well as the front door of the car wash and use a forklift to get the dry-cleaning machine installed.

A major change with the new machine is that Northside no longer has a “still”– chemicals used to clean clothing are processed through a large filter and then returned back to the machine. The result is that Northside doesn’t send any more waste product to the landfill, creating what Zahm describes as “no disposables.” Only the filters will be collected by a waste company whenever they are changed. In addition, the clothing cleaned in the machine will likely require less pressing time and makes for easy stain removal, Zahm says.

“We were very pleased with the very first load we ran,” she says. “The ‘finish’ on the fabric had a very soft feel to it. There is no odor whatsoever to this product.”

The Union machine is the latest in upgrades that Northside has been steadily making to its laundry facility since 2014, which include such amenities as large-capacity washers with credit card readers for those using the laundromat and dryers that use less utilities to run.

Mary Whitesell, who manages the laundry, says she enjoys operating the new dry cleaner machine.

“It’s very user friendly,” she adds.

Northside Cleaners is located at 37 Parkmoor Drive, Huntington. Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, call 356-9141.