The establishments coming under this category can be classified into two distinct groups, viz., dhobis and laundry shops. Dhobis generally move from house to house, collect the clothes, wash and iron them and then deliver them back to the customers. In the case of laundry shops, however, the customers themselves go to the shops, give the clothes for washing or ironing or both and collect the same from the shops on a specified date. How-ever, establishments of this type are found only in towns like Chandrapur, Warora. Brahmapuri, Wadsa, Ballarshah, etc. The third kind of shops rarely witnessed in the district do not under-take washing of clothes but they just do the job of ironing. The establishments coming under the second group also under-take the work of dry-cleaning, dyeing and darning.
The dhobis who collect the clothes moving from house to house go to the river or stream or a well and wash the clothes, iron them and deliver them to the customers, the whole process taking about six days because the boiling of clothes in water known as ''bhatti lavane" takes place only once in a week in the case of most of the establishments. Naturally almost all the members of a family work and hardly any outside labour is employed. A small portion of dhobi's tenement is utilised for this purpose. The main articles required for washing clothes are soap, washing soda, bleaching powder, tinopal, and indigo whereas charcoal and fuel are required for ironing and steaming clothes. A table for ironing clothes and a rack for keeping them are the only items of furniture. Generally an establishment maintains about two to three irons worked on coal and the whole equipment of a dhobi costs about Rs. 200. While men undertake the work of collecting clothes from customers and ironing them, women help in washing and children do petty jobs like drying clothes. The dhobis are paid about Rs. 8 to Rs. 10 for 100 clothes and their earnings amount to Rs. 70 to Rs. 120 per month.
Laundry shops in urban areas try to maintain a good appearance. Generally they do not wash the clothes but they employ dhobis for the purpose either on a monthly basis or on a contract basis. They do the ironing in the shops and deliver the clothes to the customers. Clothes are also separately allotted for ironing.
The equipment of these shops consists of glass cupboards, chairs, and tables for
ironing. The expenses on tools and equipment vary between Rs. 500 and Rs. 800.
They generally pay dhobis at the rate of Rs. 12 to Rs. 15 per 100 clothes and
Rs. 8 for ironing. Generally ironing is done in the shops by the employees who are paid about Rs. 60 per month. Rent for the premises also constitutes an item of expenditure amounting to between Rs. 20 and Rs. 50 per month depending upon the size, the location and the turnover of the shop.
Some of the laundries provide for special washing and urgent delivery for which they charge double their usual rates.
The total monthly turnover of the laundries varies between Rs. 250 and Rs. 500, their monthly income varying between
Rs. 150 and Rs. 300.