Laundry and Dry-cleaning Workers

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What Laundry and Dry-cleaning Workers Do

Laundry and dry-cleaning workers clean clothing, linens, drapes, and other articles, using washing, drying, and dry-cleaning machines. They also may clean leather, suede, furs, and rugs. Items made of a combination of fabrics frequently need special attention to avoid damaging items during the cleaning process.


Laundry and dry-cleaning workers typically do the following:

Laundry and dry-cleaning workers ensure proper cleaning of clothing, linens, and other articles. They adjust machine settings for a given fabric or article, as determined by the cleaning instructions on each item of clothing. Workers add the proper type and amount of cleaning detergent or liquid solvents to washing machines, which agitate clothes similar to washing machines in most homes.

When necessary, workers treat spots and stains on articles before washing or dry-cleaning. They monitor machines during the cleaning process and ensure that items are not lost or placed with items of another customer.

Often laundry and dry-cleaning workers interact with customers. They take the receipts, find the customer's clothing, take payment, make change, and do the cash register work that retail sales people do.

Some dry-cleaners offer alteration services. Often, sewers and tailors do these tasks, but some laundry and dry-cleaning workers do them as well.

How to Become a Laundry and Dry-cleaning Worker

Education and training:

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There are no formal education requirements. Most laundry and dry-cleaning workers have a high school diploma or less. Some take classes on how to operate dry-cleaning machines or how to remove certain stains such as from inks or grease from clothing, but most employers do not require this.

Laundry and dry-cleaning workers generally receive short-term on-the-job training. This training includes proper cleaning techniques, how to clean different fabrics, and how to treat stains.

Laundry and dry-cleaning worker Salaries

Most workers are employed full time. However, about 1 in 5 work part time. Workers may need to begin work early in the day to have customers’ cleaning done on time.

Job Outlook for Laundry and dry-cleaning workers

Projected employment change, 2014–24:

*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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