15 Aug How to be the Best Laundress Possible – Complete Guide
Laundress has a highly specialized scope of responsibilities to care for fabric. From clothes worn by a household’s family members to the bedsheets and custom pillowcases of a home, a laundress is responsible for keeping it all fresh and clean. With that said, it can be easy to dismiss the role somewhat — but as with all home staffing roles, there is a lot that can separate a good laundress from a bad one. Here is how you can be the best laundress possible.
Understand the Responsibilities of a Laundress
You can’t expect to be a good laundress without understanding the responsibilities of a laundress in some detail. When starting, a reductive understanding of your role in a household’s smooth functioning is your worst mistake. So to clear things out, your job isn’t just to press the buttons on the washing machine.
When a household hires a laundress, they expect the new hire to completely take over cleaning and maintaining that home’s clothes and other fabrics. It means the role comes with executive responsibilities right out of the gate.
A laundress doesn’t just wash the clothes physically handed to them. Instead, they are meant to assume full charge of the household laundry, keeping track of laundry cycles and maintaining a necessary supply of clean garments, bedsheets, etc.
As home staffers who work very closely with the family’s wardrobes, highly experienced laundresses also make themselves more valuable by organizing their clients’ wardrobes. It can and often does include making seasonal changes to the family’s respective wardrobes so they can dress for the season without worry.
Another extraneous responsibility that a laundress may have to take over is liaising with outside contractors. When their client hires contractors to do deep cleaning work like carpet cleaning, you, as the laundress, may have to supervise their work. Finally, the laundress will explicitly handle all everyday tasks of mending clothes, such as fixing tears and rips, sewing new buttons, etc.
Master the Four Key Skills
As important as it is to understand the scope of your responsibilities as a laundress, it is pointless if you don’t have a handle on your core skills. Those core skills are, of course, washing clothes. It is always helpful to think of them in their essential parts, and the key skills for a laundress can be divided into four.
It would be fitting to say that doing good laundry isn’t necessarily about doing the right but avoiding the wrong things. You must be acquainted with a large body of knowledge to care for fabrics correctly. Much of this information involves what you shouldn’t do when washing clothes.
These do’s, and don’ts are most intimately related to the fabric you will handle. Every single type of fabric has to be washed and maintained in a specific way, and what works for one type of fabric may completely ruin another. After all, you can’t wash silk the same way as wool and expect the material to remain in perfect condition.
It is the first and foremost expertise you will be paid for as a laundress: recognizing fabrics. Once you can do that, the other core skills are handling them correctly per fabric type.
Choosing the Right Laundry Method
It is where you must get into the nitty-gritty of what kind of washing method works best for the fabric. Thankfully, there are a few limited variables you have to account for. Firstly, you have to choose between machine wash and hand wash. Washing machine technology has progressed to the extent where most fabrics, even relatively delicate ones like wool, can be cleaned using a machine.
You will likely find specific wash settings for special fabrics like wool and cotton on the machine. On rare occasions, you may have to opt for hand washing when dealing with delicate embroidery or materials like suede or velvet.
The other major variable you have to account for is wash temperature. Some fabrics, like wool, react when washed in hot temperatures. They can shrink and be damaged irreparably within a single wash. You need to recognize all fabrics with such a tendency. That way, you will be able to avoid this mistake quite easily.
Ironing and Folding
Now, this is one skill you can only improve with practice. Thankfully, it’s not so complicated to practice this skill at home. But you must understand that a professional laundress typically applies different techniques for both these skills. For example, you likely have no experience with a steam iron, a tool regularly used by a laundress.
Similarly, inexperienced laundresses are likely to use homely, ineffective folding techniques, whereas experienced laundresses employ more effective folding patterns. Begin learning these techniques straightaway, and remember that practice makes perfect.
Removing Stains Effectively
Removing stains also falls under the everyday responsibilities of a laundress. You must actively learn the various stain removal techniques, chemicals, and little tricks that make this job easier. You don’t want to be the laundress who takes hours to remove a single stain just because you don’t know the standard stain-removal techniques expected of you.
Develop Your Systems
A good grasp of the essential skills is just the beginning of the journey to becoming an excellent laundress. To be the best laundress possible, you should aim to make your work smooth and flawless. And for that, you need to develop personalized systems to manage your workload better.
Navigating the Workload Better
As a laundress, you cannot expect your employer to manage your workflow. That is purely your job, so you should actively systematize your workflow. You can do internet research and study, but ultimately, you must develop your best system.
Begin with optimizing little details, such as finding the best sequence to divide your work. As you get better at this, you can also choose which clothes and fabrics to wash first and which to hold onto to finish your job quicker.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
As stated above, a good part of the job of washing clothes is to avoid mistakes. As you strive to develop your system to navigate your workflow, you should also insert habits that help you avoid common mistakes.
The simplest example of this can be a final double-checking of all the items in a load before you put them into the machine. You may have missed seeing something that wasn’t meant to be there. And anytime a mistake happens, make systemic changes so that it doesn’t repeat itself: such as setting a cooler temperature for washing a certain fabric so it doesn’t ruin it again.
Applying Best Practices
As you build your system for organizing your workflow, you can take the guidance of best practices. These are working methods that minimize the chances of mistakes. When you do a last check of the laundry load before turning on the washing machine, that’s just one example of a best practice.
Understand the Unwritten Rules
Even after you’ve learned how to wash and maintain clothes in the best way, the question can still linger: how to be the best laundress? And the answer to this remains in the unwritten rules. Try to put yourself in your employer’s shoes momentarily: why would a household hire someone solely to take care of the laundry?
The answer is quite simple but very illustrative for you as a laundress. They do it for added convenience in their life. So, how should you do your job once you have mastered the basics? You should do your job in a way that adds convenience to your client’s life.
Develop Essential Soft Skills
With the above points in mind, you must develop a few essential soft skills to become the best laundress compulsorily.
Being efficient is a non-compromisable skill if you want to be a good laundress. You should strive to be an expert in managing your workflow. You will be valuable to your employer, especially when you can handle stressful responsibilities seamlessly and reliably.
The other point to remember is self-sufficiency. If you have been hired to add convenience to your client’s life, then it doesn’t make sense to bother them constantly about your job, does it? You should be able to do your job relying on your judgment and do it correctly, even with minimal oversight and instructions from your employer.
Finally, being a good communicator is an integral skill if you want to excel at your job. When taking instructions from your employer or coordinating with other service workers, you should ask the right questions and understand the instructions from the other side. It minimizes the chances of errors and allows you to do a perfect job consistently.
Set an Active Learning Habit
You won’t learn all the nitty gritty of your job on the very first day. There will be many useful things that you may only learn through mistakes or with trial and error. Accept these will happen, but commit to learning from them. Over time, you will become a competent and highly skilled laundress.
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