Dry Cleaning and Laundry Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

In most shops, laundry and dry cleaning workers learn their skills on the job. The only requirement is usually a high school diploma or its equivalent. Computers are being used more and more in this industry, so computer familiarity is a plus. High school courses that might be helpful include chemistry, computers, textiles, machine shop, sewing, and clothing construction. If you plan to operate your own dry cleaners, you'll be interacting constantly with customers, so it's a good idea to also hone your communication skills by taking English and speech classes. Business and accounting classes will also come in handy.  

Other Education or Training

Retail dry cleaners may provide short, on-the-job training to new hires. Large plants may offer formal and specialized training programs. Another way to learn dry cleaning and laundry skills is through various trade associations that provide newsletters and seminars. The Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute International's School of Drycleaning Technology offers online seminars, self-study classes, and in-person classes and workshops. Recent classes included Introduction to Dry Cleaning and Advanced Dry Cleaning. The National Cleaners Association also provides continuing education opportunities. Recent courses included Advanced Stain Removal and Intensive Bleaching, Avoiding Claims: What You Need to Know About Fabrics & Stain Removal, and Technical Training at the Counter for Service Reps.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute International offers the following certification designations to those who pass an examination: certified professional drycleaner, certified professional wetcleaner, certified environmental drycleaner, and certified garment care professional. 

If you own a dry cleaning business, you'll be required to obtain a business license from your state's department of professional regulation.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

No experience is needed for many cleaning and laundry jobs, but those with prior work experience will increase their chances of landing a job, getting promoted, and possibly earning higher pay. Spotters may take as long as two years to learn their trade completely because they must learn how different chemicals react with different fabrics and dyes. Finishers and dry cleaners can learn to do their jobs skillfully in under a year.

Workers need to be in good health since they are on their feet most of the day and may need to lift heavy bundles. They should enjoy working with their hands and machines and should have good eyesight and manual dexterity. They must also be dependable, fast workers who can follow orders, handle repetitive tasks, and be attentive to detail. Workers who meet with customers should be friendly and have good communication skills.