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 for 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. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Duties & Tasks of a Dry Cleaner

Dry cleaners:

  • 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.


  • May make minor repairs such as replacing buttons.
  • Sorts articles according to colour, condition and type of material and decides on type of treatment to be given.
  • Operates controls to rotate drum or agitate contents, drains off solution after stopping machine.
  • Places articles in drum and fastens cover before operating valves to feed chemical solution into machine.
  • Filters solution after use to make it fit for re-use.
  • Packages articles and prepares orders for dispatch.
  • May do pressing using machine or heated flat iron.
  • Removes articles and packs them into hand truck.
  • Removes spots and stains by rubbing them with solvents.
  • Places articles on shelves or on hangers for delivery or collection.

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.


Dry Cleaner

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

  • Average age
    Average age
    49 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    58% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    46 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Entry level
  • Unemployment
    Average unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    52% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    2,200 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.7%
    NSW: 37.5%
    NT: 0.3%
    QLD: 11.4%
    SA: 7.1%
    TAS: 2.3%
    VIC: 30.2%
    WA: 9.5%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 4.2%
    20-24: 6%
    25-34: 11.4%
    35-44: 15.4%
    45-54: 28.3%
    55-59: 16%
    60-64: 11.3%
    65 and Over: 7.5%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 7.1%
    Bachelor degree: 9.7%
    Certificate III/IV: 15.6%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 2.5%
    Year 10 and below: 30.4%
    Year 11: 5.7%
    Year 12: 29%
Is the information on this page correct? Request update
Related careers

Become a member

Already a member? LoginForgot password?

Join the conversation