Laundry and Dry-cleaning Workers
Laundry and dry-cleaning workers clean clothing, linens, drapes, and other articles, using washing, drying, and dry-cleaning machines. They also may clean leather, suede, furs, and rugs.
Laundry and dry-cleaning workers typically do the following:
- Receive items from customers and mark them with codes or names
- Inspect articles for stains and fabrics that require special care
- Sort articles to be cleaned by fabric type, color, and cleaning technique
- Load clothing into laundry and dry-cleaning machines
- Add detergent, bleach, and other chemicals to laundry and dry-cleaning machines
- Remove, sort, and hang clothing and other articles after they are removed from the machines
- Clean and maintain laundry and dry-cleaning machines
Laundry and dry-cleaning workers ensure proper cleaning of clothing, linens, and other articles. They adjust machine settings for a given fabric or article, as determined by the cleaning instructions on each item of clothing.
When necessary, workers treat spots and stains on articles before washing or dry-cleaning. They monitor machines during the cleaning process and ensure that items are not lost or placed with items of another customer.
Sometimes, laundry and dry-cleaning workers interact with customers. They take the receipts, find the customer's clothing, take payment, make change, and do the cash register work that retail sales people do.
Some dry-cleaners offer alteration services. Often, sewers and tailors do these tasks, but some laundry and dry-cleaning workers do them as well. For more information, see the profile on sewers and tailors.
Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners
Maids and housekeeping cleaners perform general cleaning tasks, including making beds and vacuuming halls, in private homes and commercial establishments.
Maids and housekeeping cleaners typically do the following:
- Clean rooms, hallways, and other living or work areas
- Change sheets and towels; make beds; wash, fold, and iron clothes
- Empty wastebaskets and take trash to disposal areas
- Replenish supplies, such as soap and toilet paper
- Dust and polish furniture and equipment
- Sweep, wax, or polish floors using brooms, mops, or other floor-cleaning equipment
- Vacuum rugs, carpets, and upholstered furniture
- Clean or polish windows, walls, and woodwork
- Lift and move lightweight objects and equipment
Maids and housekeeping cleaners do light cleaning tasks in homes and commercial establishments, such as hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and nursing homes.
In addition to keeping these places clean and neat, maids who work in private homes also may prepare meals, polish silver, and clean ovens, refrigerators, and sometimes windows. Some also shop for groceries, pick up and drop off dry cleaning, and do other errands.
Those who work in hotels, hospitals, and other commercial establishments are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the premises. They may also share other duties. For example, housekeeping cleaners in hotels may deliver ironing boards, cribs, and rollaway beds to guests’ rooms. In hospitals, workers may have to wash bed frames and disinfect and sanitize equipment with germicides.