Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Workers

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.

Sample of reported job titles: Dry Cleaner, Laundry Aide, Laundry Assistant, Laundry Attendant, Laundry Housekeeper, Laundry Technician, Laundry Worker, Personal Clothing Laundry Aide, Spotter

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Clean machine filters, and lubricate equipment.
  • Examine and sort into lots articles to be cleaned, according to color, fabric, dirt content, and cleaning technique required.
  • Receive and mark articles for laundry or dry cleaning with identifying code numbers or names, using hand or machine markers.
  • Apply bleaching powders to spots and spray them with steam to remove stains from fabrics that do not respond to other cleaning solvents.
  • Determine spotting procedures and proper solvents, based on fabric and stain types.
  • Spray steam, water, or air over spots to flush out chemicals, dry material, raise naps, or brighten colors.
  • Pre-soak, sterilize, scrub, spot-clean, and dry contaminated or stained articles, using neutralizer solutions and portable machines.
  • Mix bleaching agents with hot water in vats, and soak material until it is bleached.
  • Apply chemicals to neutralize the effects of solvents.
  • Mix and add detergents, dyes, bleaches, starches, and other solutions and chemicals to clean, color, dry, or stiffen articles.
  • Sprinkle chemical solvents over stains, and pat areas with brushes or sponges to remove stains.
  • Match sample colors, applying knowledge of bleaching agent and dye properties, and types, construction, conditions, and colors of articles.
  • Inspect soiled articles to determine sources of stains, to locate color imperfections, and to identify items requiring special treatment.
  • Operate dry-cleaning machines to clean soiled articles.
  • Operate machines that comb, dry and polish furs, clean, sterilize and fluff feathers and blankets, or roll and package towels.
  • Iron or press articles, fabrics, and furs, using hand irons or pressing machines.
  • Hang curtains, drapes, blankets, pants, and other garments on stretch frames to dry.
  • Clean fabrics, using vacuums or air hoses.
  • Test fabrics in inconspicuous places to determine whether solvents will damage dyes or fabrics.
  • Rinse articles in water and acetic acid solutions to remove excess dye and to fix colors.
  • Identify articles' fabrics and original dyes by sight and touch, or by testing samples with fire or chemical reagents.
  • Start pumps to operate distilling systems that drain and reclaim dry cleaning solvents.
  • Immerse articles in bleaching baths to strip colors.
  • Spread soiled articles on work tables, and position stained portions over vacuum heads or on marble slabs.
  • Mend and sew articles, using hand stitching, adhesive patches, or sewing machines.
  • Dye articles to change or restore their colors, using knowledge of textile compositions and the properties and effects of bleaches and dyes.
  • Wash, dry-clean, or glaze delicate articles or fur garment linings by hand, using mild detergents or dry cleaning solutions.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • 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 materials.
  • 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 Materials — 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.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Spend Time Standing — 80% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 54% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 55% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 64% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 67% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 59% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 40% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Time Pressure — 69% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 41% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 37% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 62% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 32% responded “Very important results.”
  • Level of Competition — 32% responded “Extremely competitive.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 37% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Degree of Automation — 24% responded “Completely automated.”
  • Contact With Others — 36% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections — 49% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 33% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Physical Proximity — 42% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 31% responded “Not important at all.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 47% responded “Never.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone One: Little or No Preparation Needed
Education
Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.
Related Experience
Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, a person can become a waiter or waitress even if he/she has never worked before.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations involve following instructions and helping others. Examples include food preparation workers, dishwashers, sewing machine operators, landscaping and groundskeeping workers, logging equipment operators, and baristas.
SVP Range
Up to 3 months of preparation (Below 4.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

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.

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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.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 65%
     
    responded: Less than high school diploma required
  • 34%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 1%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

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Interests

Interest code: RC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Work Styles

  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$13.63 hourly, $28,350 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
175,500 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Faster than average (10% to 15%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
26,600
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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