Dry Cleaner and Laundry Worker

Dry cleaners use their knowledge of cleaning processes and solvents, fabrics and colours to clean clothing, curtains and other materials.

Washing or dry-cleaning machines are operated to wash or dry-clean industrial or household articlds, such as cloth garments, suede, leather, furs, blankets, curtains, linens, rugs and carpets.

Dry cleaners and laundry workers receive and mark articles for laundry or dry cleaning with identifying code numbers or names, using hand or machine markers.  They then examine and sort into lots, articles to be cleaned, according to colour, fabric, dirt content and cleaning technique required.  Fabrics are tested in inconspicuous places to determine whether solvents will damage the dyes or fabrics, then the articles are loaded into washers or dry-cleaning machines.  Chemical solvents are sprinkled over stains, and areas patted with brushes or sponges to remove the stains.  Bleaching powders can be applied to spots and then sprayed with steam to remove stains that do not respond to other cleaning solvents, then chemicals applied to neutralise the effects of the solvents.  Where necessary, dry contaminated or stained articles are pre-soaked, sterilised, scrubbed or spot-cleaned using neutraliser solutions and portable machines.

They mix and add detergents, dyes, bleaches, starches and other solutions and chemicals to clean, colour, dry or stiffen the articles, then start the washers, dry-cleaners, driers or extractors and turn valves or levers to regulate the machine processes and the volume of soap, detergent, water, bleach, starch and other additives. 

When done, items are removed from the washers or dry-cleaning machines, and machines used that comb, dry and polish furs, clean, sterilise and fluff feathers and blankets, or roll and package towels.  They hang curtains, blankets, pants and other garments on stretch frames to dry, sort and count articles removed from dryers and fold, wrap or hang them, and iron or press articles, fabrics and furs, using hand irons or pressing machines. They may be required to dye articles to change or restore their colours, using their knowledge of textile compositions and the properties and effects of bleaches and dyes.

Very soiled or delicate items are cleaned by hand.

The laundry supervisor determines the sequence in which the laundry has to be done to ensure a quick and efficient service to customers. The supervisor checks laundry for specific cleaning requirements and examines finished laundry to check that standards are maintained. They also regularly check the machines for malfunctions, investigate customer complaints and read literature in respect of new cleaning materials and equipment.

Personal Requirements

  • give attention to detail
  • be able to maintain high standards in the face of a monotonous task
  • be responsible
  • have integrity
  • have some organisational skills

How to Enter

School Subjects

No specific requirements.

What to Study

The worker is trained on the job to effectively perform the duties.


  • dry-cleaning companies
  • commercial laundries
  • hostels, hotels with laundry facilities

Further Information

Any of the above.

Getting Started

  • speak to a laundry worker about this career and ask permission to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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