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Summary of occupation

Drycleaners use specialised techniques and equipment to clean clothes and other fabric items. They examine articles to be cleaned, looking for stains or any other damage which may need special attention, and sort them into groups depending on the colour and type of material. Drycleaners must pay close attention to the type of material and any manufacturers’ recommended care instructions, which may affect aspects of the cleaning process, including the chemicals used, temperature and duration of the process. Once articles have been cleaned, they can be pressed to give crisp, clear pleats and creases, and steam formed to restore the shape and remove wrinkles.

ANZSCO description: Cleans clothing, garments, upholstery and other fabrics using drycleaning agents and machines.
Alternative names: Dry Cleaner
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A drycleaner needs:

  • good observation skills and to pay attention to detail
  • to enjoy practical work
  • normal colour vision
  • a reasonable level of fitness
  • good time management skills.
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Working conditions

Drycleaners may work in small shops dealing directly with customers, or they may work in larger industrial facilities, where they collect articles from a number of small agencies, such as newsagents. Some drycleaners may offer pick-up and delivery services, where they collect articles from customers' homes or workplaces. Drycleaning facilities are usually hot and humid, though they are also well-ventilated. Drycleaners come into regular contact with hazardous chemicals, which must be handled with care. The hours of work can vary depending on the type of drycleaning operation, though weekend work is common for most drycleaning businesses. Those working in large industrial facilities may be required to work shifts, which can include working nights.

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Salary details

On average, drycleaners, classified under laundry workers, can expect to earn up to $799 per week ($41 548 per year) depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. 

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Tools and technologies

Drycleaners use specially-designed machines to clean garments without causing stress or damage to delicate fabrics. They also use steam presses to smooth wrinkles after the cleaning process. The chemicals used in dry cleaning are specially formulated to remove dirt and grease from a range of fabrics without damaging the fabric itself. When articles are collected they are tagged to identify the owner and highlight any special cleaning instructions. These tags may be simple hand-written notes, or more advanced bar code or computer chip technologies.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a drycleaner without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. 

You may improve your employment prospects if you complete a traineeship. A dry cleaning operations traineeship takes 18 to 24 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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