Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Workers

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Also known as:
Drycleaner, Launderer, Laundress, Laundry Attendant, Laundry Equipment Operator, Laundry Operator, Laundry Sorter, Laundry Worker, Precision Dyer

ABOUT LAUNDRY OR DRY-CLEANING WORKER CAREERS
Video transcript

A multitude of fabrics makes up the fashion scene today. Synthetics like nylon and spandex; natural cottons; linen, silk, and wool; leather, suede, and furs, all have one thing in common - sooner or later they must be cleaned. That's what provides an endless supply of customers for laundry and dry-cleaning workers.

To stay in business, establishments that provide laundry and dry-cleaning services must train employees to treat each fabric with care. That means they have to learn the particular way each kind of fabric should be laundered, or cleaned. Often, the business extends to cleaning rugs and draperies as well.

The work may include treating spots and stains before cleaning, steam-pressing or ironing by hand to remove wrinkles, and making minor repairs or sewing on buttons. You also need to keep track of items so they are not lost or misplaced with another customer. It's a tough job, physically. You're on your feet most of the time, and there's a lot of bending, lifting, and carrying.

The chemicals used in the cleaning can be harsh, and operating the equipment can be dangerous. The work environment can be noisy, odorous, and hot. But it's a business that can reward hard work and careful attention to detail with a steady stream of satisfied customers. With experience, a few workers go on to open their own shop.

SNAPSHOT
Operate or tend washing or dry-cleaning machines to wash or dry-clean industrial or household articles, such as cloth garments, suede, leather, furs, blankets, draperies, linens, rugs, and carpets. Includes spotters and dyers of these articles.
Leadership
LOW
Critical decision making
LOW
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
HIGH
Daily tasks

Operate extractors and driers, or direct their operation.

Remove items from washers or dry-cleaning machines, or direct other workers to do so.

Sort and count articles removed from dryers, and fold, wrap, or hang them.

Examine and sort into lots articles to be cleaned, according to color, fabric, dirt content, and cleaning technique required.

Load articles into washers or dry-cleaning machines, or direct other workers to perform loading.

Start washers, dry cleaners, driers, or extractors, and turn valves or levers to regulate machine processes and the volume of soap, detergent, water, bleach, starch, and other additives.

Clean machine filters, and lubricate equipment.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
TOP SKILLS
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.