Dry cleaners use chemicals and solvents to clean clothes and other items that can’t be washed in the normal way.
Salary range: £14,000 to £17,500
How to become a dry cleaner
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could start by doing a textile care operative intermediate apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You could apply directly for jobs. Employers will often be more interested in your personal qualities like reliability, timekeeping and customer care than qualifications.
Retail sales experience could be useful.
You can find out more about working in laundry and dry cleaning services through the Guild of Cleaners and Launderers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- sensitivity and understanding
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to work well with your hands
- physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- taking items from customers and giving them a collection ticket
- checking items for damage and sorting them according to colour and fabric type
- tagging the articles with bar codes or computer chips for easy identification
- treating heavy stains before cleaning by ‘spotting’ with chemicals
- weighing items and loading them into machines
- setting machines to the right programme for the fabric and the amount of soiling
- adding cleaning fluids, often percholorethyne (known as ‘perc’)
- checking, pressing, folding or hanging the items after cleaning
- returning cleaned items back to customers and handling payments
- keeping work areas clean and tidy
- filling out paperwork
You could work at a store, at a laundry or in a factory.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
In a dry-cleaning plant you could progress to supervisor or manager.
In a dry cleaning shop, you could be promoted to store manager. If your shop is part of a chain you may be able to progress to running a larger shop, or to area or district management.