history

Family owned and operated

since 1930

About Us

ITU AbsorbTech is one of the largest industrial laundries in the country with 12 locations throughout the country. We are family-owned and operated by Jim and David Leef and focus on sustainable business practices.

ITU AbsorbTech’s core values are highlighted below. We partner with companies that share our values.

Owners Jim and David Leef

Jim and David Leef

Our History

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  • A Family Tradition

    George H. Leef and his brother Harry started cleaning railroad coveralls in 1908 as the Minneapolis Wet Wash Laundry.

  • The Great Depression Era

    A Milwaukee facility was started in the late 20’s. The Milwaukee operation continued through the Depression. George moved to Milwaukee to run it in the early 30’s and Industrial Service Co. was split off as a separate company, servicing coveralls and Kex shop towels. George H. Leef’s son, George L. Leef,..Read More

  • Growth During World War II

    Industrial Service Co. purchased De-Luxe Laundry in Milwaukee, and both plants saw dramatic growth in shop towel usage as manufacturers worked around the clock during World War II. Dry cleaning processing was introduced to process leather gloves. Industrial Service Co. expanded service with relays to several distribution depots making it..Read More

  • Product Expansion

    The company name changed to Industrial Towel & Uniform, Inc. The Neenah, WI, plant was built. It was the first “design for use” industrial laundry facility constructed to efficiently process new products such as walk mats, rental uniforms, and washroom towels. George H. Leef passed away and George L. Leef..Read More

  • New Corporate Headquarters

    The new ITU corporate headquarters was built in New Berlin, WI as a state-of-the-art water wash and dry cleaning facility. Route service was expanded into Illinois and several more local laundry operations were purchased. Jim Leef joined the organization.

  • New Technology

    ITU introduced several new technologies to both plants, including solar heating of process water, as well as new wastewater pretreatment technologies and significant process water recycling. Dry cleaning technology improved with the addition of solvent recovery dryers to that New Berlin process. Alternative fueled vehicles were tested. Desktop computing ushered..Read More

  • SorbIts®

    ITU created SorbIts® – The Waste Free Absorbent System. AbsorbTech, LLC was created and built a state-of-the-art dry clean processing plant in South Bend, IN. ITU developed a patented solvent recovery system for printer towels. George L. Leef retired as president and Jim and David Leef stepped in to lead..Read More

  • Service and Innovation

    ITU purchased a laundry facility in western PA to enter markets in the Northeastern United States. AbsorbTech acquired businesses in Philadelphia, PA and a plant in Piedmont, SC to expand service areas farther eastern and southeast. ITU developed the “No Boundaries” service model to support customers outside of the traditional..Read More

Awards and Recognition

earth day sustainable business award
friendsofmanufacturing
Top 10 Business of the Year Award
bestaward
excellenctinpracticeaward
ISO9001
ISO14001:2004 registration
MMSD Honor Roll
wisconsin corporate safety award