Laundry Worker

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2018: 5,001 to 10,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: < $900 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2014
Brief Thanks to laundry workers, employees working for large manufacturing or catering companies and major hotels receive clean, crisp uniforms when they arrive for work. Hospitals, nursing homes and hotels and restaurants that use large amounts of linen, also use their services regularly.

There are currently around 900 laundry workers employed in South Australia. Just over half are employed full-time and most work in the personal and other services industry. Most persons in this occupation are female and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has an older age profile with over half of workers aged 45 years or older.

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Laundry workers are employed at small laundries located across the state in regional areas and at a smattering of smaller laundries located in hospitals, nursing homes and hotels.

Laundry workers do more than just wash, dry and sort laundry. When laundry is received, its the laundry worker's responsibility to ensure that it is checked and counted. That means bar-coding and recording items as they arrive, so that the number of outgoing items equals the number coming in. Once all items have been recorded, the washing cycle gets underway. Laundry workers have to separate the laundry according to fabric type and colour, to be sure that the whites don't come out pink and that items don't shrink.

Education Requirements

Although there are no specific educational requirements needed to work as a laundry worker, employers look favourably upon those applicants who have undertaken some formal training related to this occupation. There are 10% who have Certificate III or IV, 3% have Bachelor Degrees and 76% have no post school qualification.

TAFE SA offers Certificate II in Laundry Operations and Certificate II in Dry Cleaning Operations.

SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

Career Path

With experience and sometimes further training, it is possible to progress to supervisory and management positions.

Most small, free-standing laundries are self-operated establishments. The washing machines and dryers available for public use are coin operated, so generally these establishments employ few, if any laundry workers.

Current job prospects are limited by the small size of the workforce. However an Industry Training Council spokesperson suggests there will always be a need for laundry workers. An ageing workforce, a growing number of busy, two-income families contracting out their domestic chores, a growth in the tourism industry and an increasing number of aged-care facilities, make it difficult to see a significant decline in existing demand.

Nature of the Job

'Because different fabrics require different washing methods, you have to be able to read and understand washing instructions. One facility alone usually produces between 10-15 loads at 35-40 kilos each. Combined with the work that comes from other businesses and hospitals, we usually wash about 80 loads. Needless to say, laundry businesses dealing with large loads of washing require specialised washing machines and dryers.

'The laundry goes down a chute into a large computerised washing machine. A code that programs the machine to deal with the nature of the particular load, is keyed in. When the washing is done, it goes down another chute to a huge dryer that removes creases. When its dry, it comes out to the folding area. Most businesses and organisations don't have the type of equipment that can wash and dry such large loads and so there is a demand for laundry services and laundry workers who offer this service according to Melissa. As with any business, laundries encounter the occasional problem. Items may not be marked correctly on arrival, or a button may come undone during cleaning. In this case, a laundry worker would have to amend the problem. Some are also responsible for maintaining the machines.

Typical Physical Working Environment

Laundries are warm, steamy and quite noisy workplaces, and you can expect to be on your feet most of the day. They should be able to read and understand washing instructions. They must enjoy practical work and be physically fit. They should also have no skin allergies and be able to work quickly and efficiently.

Laundries are warm, steamy and quite noisy workplaces and you can expect to be on your feet most of the day. You can't be turned off by handling soiled items in this occupation either.

Typical Occupational Example

'I know how to maintain and change the boilers we use in the laundry and I'm always learning new things about the equipment and the different fabric types and washing procedures. I love my job,'' says Cathy.

Laundry workers are generally employed by businesses that provide commercial laundry services, in institutions such as hospitals, or large organisations that operate their own laundry, such as hotels or nursing homes.

For further information, contact:

Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (SA)
Phone: 1800 622 900

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online