40 Years of Clean


Clean 2017 marks 40 years since The World Educational Congress for Laundering and Drycleaning debuted as the premier event for textile care. Industry professionals from around the world gather to learn and discover the newest and most innovative technology, products, and systems the industry has to offer. The Clean Show is the largest textile care exposition in the world that features working equipment and industry education.

Prior to the birth of the Clean Show, industry suppliers and manufacturers exhibited at several shows annually. This was expensive and time consuming. In the mid-1970s, three industry associations considered consolidating their expositions into one biennial show to encompass the entire laundry, drycleaning and textile services industry. The three associations joined forces to create a show that would deliver the unity the industry was missing, three additional sponsors joined in 1977. They called it the World Educational Congress for Laundry and Drycleaning, better known as The Clean Show. Following the later merger of TRSA and UTSA, current show sponsors are:

  • Association for Linen Management (formerly National Association of Institutional Linen Management) serves managers of institutional laundries in hospitals, hotels, nursing homes and public facilities.
  • Coin Laundry Association (initially National Automatic Laundry and Cleaning Council) represents coin/card laundry and dry-cleaning store owners, distributors and manufacturers.
  • Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (formerly International Fabricare Institute) represents retail/neighborhood drycleaners, launderers and wet-cleaners nationally and internationally.
  • Textile Care Allied Trades Association is the association of manufacturers and distributors of commercial laundry and dry-cleaning equipment and supplies.
  • Textile Rental Services Association of America (initially Linen Supply Association of America) represents companies engaged in textile maintenance, uniform & linen rental, mats and dust control services to commercial, industrial and institutional businesses.

By 1992 the show had grown significantly in size and presence. The Coin Laundry Association, which then managed the show, and the other sponsoring associations decided it was time to engage professional management. Riddle & Associates, an Atlanta-based trade show management and consulting firm, was hired to produce Clean ’93. John Riddle, the company’s president, had worked with the Clean Show’s operations since 1981, so it was a seamless transition.

One of the most recognized contributions of the sponsors is the educational sessions they present at Clean. Sponsors provide education based on new and innovative industry topics, technologies, and research. Sessions include topics such as training, business management, and environmental issues. Some non-sponsor organizations may also present educational sessions.

Several US cities have hosted the Clean Show in its 40-year history. The first two shows were in Chicago, where it has been held four times. Las Vegas holds the title for the most Clean Shows with this year being the sixth. New Orleans is the No. 2 host city for Clean with five shows and a sixth coming in 2019. Atlanta follows closely behind Chicago with three shows. Orlando has hosted twice and Dallas once.

The Clean Show is where the industry comes together. Show attendees include store owners, plant operators, technicians, institutional laundry managers, distributors, consultants, and buyers. The largest share (94%) of attendees are business owners, executives or managers according to a past Clean Show survey. The Clean Show brings those business owners and executives face to face with hundreds of industry exhibitors. For companies looking to expand, re-educate, or upgrade current technology the exhibit floor is where they should be.

The Clean Show has developed with the times and has a strong social media presence. Attendees and exhibitors can get updates on the upcoming show, registration, and Clean Show facts on their Facebook and Twitter pages. As social media takes a larger role in communication, the Clean Show interacts with attendees and can answer questions on social media platforms to better engage with its followers.

Clean 2017 provides a platform for all industry professionals and companies to come together on the show floor to share ideas, technologies, education, and networking.