How to become a Dry Cleaner

Dry cleaners care for, clean, repair and rejuvenate clothing, curtains, bedding and furnishings by operating dry cleaning and ironing machines.

Personal requirements of a Dry Cleaner

  • Enjoy practical work
  • Normal colour vision
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job

Education & Training for a Dry Cleaner

You can work as a dry cleaner without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You can also become a dry cleaner through an apprenticeship or traineeship in Dry Cleaning Operations. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

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Duties & Tasks of a Dry Cleaner

Dry cleaners may perform the following tasks:

  • comply with occupational health and safety and environmental regulations
  • sort and examine articles, picking out those that may need hand spotting or stain treatment
  • sort articles into lots of equal weight, colour and type and load into computer-operated dry cleaning machines
  • use and store dry cleaning chemicals and solvents
  • unload the machines when the cleaning cycle is completed
  • iron and press clean articles, or send them to the finishing section where the garments are pressed by steam and vacuum
  • operate a boiler
  • replace missing buttons and make minor repairs
  • waterproof garments and apply other finishes
  • operate wet cleaning machines
  • check and inspect garments to ensure customer requirements have been met
  • perform basic maintenance on dry cleaning and pressing equipment
  • put together orders and dispatch goods.

Working conditions for a Dry Cleaner

Dry cleaners need to have a thorough knowledge of how fabrics and their blends react to the various stages of the dry cleaning process. They must apply specialised treatment to fabrics and materials such as wool, silk, leather and vinyl, and to beading and other decorative finishes. Work environments can be hot and humid, but most workplaces are well ventilated and have exhaust fans or evaporative coolers. Dry cleaners are required to stand for long periods. Customer contact may also be necessary.

Employment Opportunities for a Dry Cleaner

Most dry cleaners work in small plants located in shopping centres. Large plants employing many people are typically in areas close to the city and are serviced by vans bringing articles for cleaning from various agencies and shops. There are also opportunities for self-employment. With experience, and sometimes further training, it is possible to progress to supervisory and management positions.

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