What does a Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Worker do?

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.

Jobs Roles

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