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Laundry attendants are essential components of the networks of housekeeping and maintenance staffs found in commercial and public facilities. Common facilities where laundry attendants work include hospitals, gyms, spas and hotels. The duties of a laundry attendant may vary depending on the place of employment, however a knowledge of relevant health issues and policies is always required.
Collecting and Sorting
Laundry attendants are responsible for receiving items to be cleaned as well as organizing those items according to different ways they have to be washed. In a hotel, housekeepers generally deliver items to the laundry attendant. In other situations, such as nursing homes, the laundry attendant may also have the responsibility of gathering items. In the case of gathering items, the laundry attendant is required to follow company policies and government regulations regarding gathering potentially contaminated or infected items.
Washing and Drying
A primary duty of a laundry attendant is washing, drying and operating commercial equipment. Again, attendants must follow proper policies regarding decontamination. This includes using approved detergents and washing at required temperatures. Attendants may also have to work with drycleaning equipment. Working in a laundry room involves continuous physical activity and attendants are commonly required to lift as much as 50 pounds when handling laundry.
Folding and Organizing
Types of commercial equipment that is often used in finishing laundry include linen feeders, sheet and towel folders and flatwork ironing machines. Much folding is also done by hand. Items are folded based on the company’s policies. For example, fine hotels often have specifically outlined instructions for folding things like towels or cloth napkins. The attendant will also group items in preparation for pick up and delivery by housekeepers. In some cases, the attendant may be responsible for delivery. When an attendant is in charge of gathering and delivery in a place like a long-term care facility, they will often grow personal relationships with patients so they can cater to personal needs and preferences. In the case of a restaurant linen service, attendants will package linens per order.
Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.