Laundry Professional: Skills and Career Paths
Deb Ward / APRIL 05 2021

What does a laundry professional do? Laundry pros are a key part of the housekeeping team, which is the heart of a hotel. You are responsible for organizing, cleaning, and sorting hotel items, including sheets and towels, table linens, and possibly guests’ personal items. You’ll use the provided cleaning materials to complete your tasks as well as handle items that need special attention. Typical duties include:

  • Regularly load articles into the dry-cleaning machines or washers to ensure a steady supply of towels and linens
  • Control the levels of additives, choose appropriate cycles and temperatures as required 
  • Start and stop machines according to proscribed processes and standards
  • Keep machines in good repair by lubricating and providing light service such as changing filters 
  • Alert managers when machines require professional repair
  • Sort articles by color, fabric, and cleaning technique
  • Remove stains on fabrics
  • Operate flat iron and steam pressers
  • Sort, fold, and hand clean dried items
  • Maintain an inventory of cleaning supplies 

Hard skills that are valued in this role include:

  • Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs.
  • Must be able to stand for long periods
  • Must have excellent organizational skills
  • Be able to follow directions and processes laid out by the company
  • Understand how the machinery works
  • Able to perform simple calculations

To be successful in this role, you don’t need a special degree, a high school diploma, or previous experience. There are certificate programs for housekeeping that can be helpful in moving up in your career and into other positions on the housekeeping staff when the time is right. This job involves working independently and efficiently to complete all your tasks and can be physically demanding. Your shifts may vary to accommodate different schedules and increased demand during busy times of the year.

In addition to the hard skills required to do the job, important soft skills are:

  • Willingness to attend to details and maintain high standards
  • Independent and efficient work ethic 
  • A helpful attitude to provide additional help to housekeeping as needed.
  • Customer service skills to offer an excellent customer experiencer
  • Understanding and knowledge of OSHA regulations
  • Good time management skills to be able to complete your work on time
  • Work well with others and be a good team player

Possible career paths to pursue with your laundry experience include:

  • Assistant Laundry Manager: You supervise the laundry department operations for better efficiency and stay on top of inventories of all linens, generate reports on their usage, and employee productivity.  You will evaluate employees in this department and determine areas for improvement.
  • Public Area Attendant: Much of this work occurs at night in order to ensure the cleanliness of the lobby, public restrooms, front desk area, management areas, game rooms, exercise spaces, pool/spa areas, and food service areas.
  • Housekeeping Staff: Starting as a room attendant for the first two or three years, you’ll clean a specified number of rooms/day, ensure everything is disinfected, make the beds, and refresh supplies according to the standards required by your hotel.
  • Assistant Housekeeping Manager: Once you’ve mastered your skills as a room attendant, you can move up the ranks into an assistant manager role. You have to able to motivate others in their housekeeping roles, manage staff, maintain budget figures and provide training to new employees in your department.
  • Housekeeping Manager: In smaller hotels (150 rooms or less), managers are responsible for daily housekeeping operations, ensuring cleanliness of guest rooms as well as public spaces such as the lobby, banquet rooms, and restrooms. Managers interview, hire and train staff as well as supervise daily tasks.
  • Director of Housekeeping: In very large hotels (more than 500 rooms) and luxury properties, this title is an advanced professional role. It involves handling and resolving complaints, ensuring superior customer service, and handling the financial and operational goals for the department.

Interested in a career as a laundry professional? Find them here