Laundry worker

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Laundry workers operate washing machines and tumble dryers to clean and dry items like clothes, bed linen and uniforms.

Salary range: £13,000 to £18,000

How to become a laundry worker

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You can do an intermediate apprenticeship for textile care operatives.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs. Experience in dry-cleaning or commercial clothes pressing may give you an advantage, although many employers will train you on the job.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Guild of Cleaners and Launderers for professional development training and the latest industry information.

Further information

You can find out more about working in laundry services through the Guild of Cleaners and Launderers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • 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

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include: 

  • checking items before washing for damage or stains
  • using water and chemicals to remove stains before processing
  • sorting items according to colour, size and type of fabric
  • tagging items with bar codes or computer chips for easy identification
  • loading items into machines
  • adding cleaning agents and setting controls
  • finishing items by drying, pressing and folding
  • processing orders, sending out invoices and updating customer databases
  • delivering laundered items back to the customer

Working environment

You could work at a laundry, in a hotel or in an NHS or private hospital.

Your working environment may be physically demanding, humid and hot.

Career path and progression

With experience you could progress to supervisor or manager.

You could also start your own laundry business.

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