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Laundry Worker/​Dry-cleaner

Kaimahi Horoi Kākahu/​Kaiwhakamohani Kākahu

Alternative titles for this job

Laundry workers/dry-cleaners clean, wash and care for clothing, curtains and bedding.


Laundry workers/dry-cleaners usually earn

$21-$26 per hour

Source: DHB and E tū MECA, 2019.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a laundry worker/dry-cleaner are average as there is a reasonable turnover of staff but high demand for available roles.


Pay for laundry workers/dry-cleaners varies depending on experience, qualifications and where they work.

  • Laundry workers at District Health Boards (DHBs) earn between $21 and $23 an hour.
  • Laundry workers at DHBs with an NZQA Level 2 or 3 qualification earn between $24 and $26 an hour.

Source: 'District Health Boards and E tū Multi Employer Collective Agreement 25 June 2018 to 14 June 2021', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Laundry workers/dry-cleaners may do some or all of the following:

  • take laundry from customers, calculate costs of work and record work to be done
  • label and sort items to be cleaned
  • inspect items for stains, and spot-clean as required
  • load and unload dry-cleaning or washing machines and driers
  • steam-press items
  • iron, fold and pack cleaned laundry
  • deliver items to businesses or private homes
  • repair and alter clothing, if they offer these services.

Skills and knowledge

Laundry workers/dry-cleaners need to have:

  • knowledge of different fabric types and how to care for them
  • knowledge of chemicals and stain removers
  • skill in operating washing, dry-cleaning and drying machines.

They may also need expertise in mending and alterations if the business they work for offers these services.

Working conditions

Laundry workers/dry-cleaners:

  • may work regular business hours, but could also work weekends and evenings or do shift-work
  • work in commercial laundries, shops, factories and laundries in hotels, hospitals or other organisations
  • work in conditions that can be hot and may involve hazardous chemicals.

What's the job really like?

Rose Best

Rose Best


Helping people with their precious possessions

Rose Best's favourite part of her job as a dry-cleaner is when her knowledge helps to fix someone's dilemma. "I picked up a beautiful dress from a girl who had got fake suntan on the neckline and was terrified it wouldn't come out. To take it back to her and show her the stain was gone was great. She was extremely happy because it was her favourite dress. It felt good to be part of that."

Knowing how to clean different materials

"You have to read labels and know all about different fabrics. It's a job I don't think I could ever stop learning in, as clothes and fabrics are always changing.

"I really enjoy learning about the different chemicals they put on the clothes – there's one to remove chewing gum and another that removes red wine, there's so many."

A surprisingly varied job

"People may say, 'Oh, it seems monotonous standing at a press all day or standing sorting clothes', but it's not like that at all. If you like clothes and you like people there's a lot in dry-cleaning for you."

Entry requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for becoming a laundry worker/dry-cleaner, as skills are gained on the job.

Employers may want you to gain the New Zealand Certificate in Laundry Processing (Level 2) or the New Zealand Certificate in Drycleaning (Level 3) while you work.

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a laundry worker/dry-cleaner. However, NCEA Level 1 English, maths and textiles are useful subjects.

Personal requirements

Laundry workers/dry-cleaners need to be:

  • quick, practical and methodical
  • able to pay attention to detail
  • careful and responsible
  • good at basic maths.

Useful experience

Useful experience for laundry workers/dry-cleaners includes:

  • work with fabric or textiles
  • clothing retail work
  • housekeeping.

Physical requirements

Laundry workers/dry-cleaners need to be reasonably fit as they have to lift heavy bags of laundry. They must also not be sensitive to chemicals used in the laundering or dry-cleaning processes.

Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Chances of getting a job as a laundry worker/dry-cleaner are average as although staff often do not stay in the role long, vacant positions are filled quickly due to high demand.

Laundry and dry-cleaning work is at high risk of automation in the future, which means less chance of finding work in this role.

Demand for laundry workers highest during summer

Opportunities for laundry workers are best during summer, when tourist numbers are highest. Laundries either take on more temporary workers or are open longer hours during this period.

Lower chance of getting work as a dry-cleaner

Chances of getting a job as a dry-cleaner are lower than for other laundry workers. This is because:

  • it is a smaller occupation with only about 350 dry-cleaners nationwide
  • people tend to stay in the role longer, meaning fewer positions becoming available
  • concerns about the environment and trends for less formal clothing mean less demand for dry-cleaning services.

According to the Census, 2,877 laundry workers/dry-cleaners worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Many types of employers

Laundry workers/dry-cleaners may work for:

  • small privately owned laundry/dry-cleaning businesses
  • larger laundry or dry-cleaning franchises
  • hotels, hospitals and rest homes that have in-house laundries.


  • Competenz, 'Laundry', accessed June 2016, (www.competenz.org.nz).
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2015 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
  • Stylianou, N, et al, 'Will a Robot Take Your Job?' 11 September 2015, (www.bbc.com).

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Experienced laundry workers/dry-cleaners may move into supervisory or management positions. They may also set up or buy their own business.

Laundry workers/dry-cleaners usually specialise as either a:

Laundry Worker
Laundry workers wash, dry, fold and organise laundry.
Dry-cleaners use chemicals to clean clothing.

Last updated 16 September 2020