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Should You Wash Your Laundry Hamper?

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Most people spend a lot of time on laundry, cleaning, ironing, and storing clothes in the closet. But rarely does anyone give attention to the laundry hamper, except when looking for a place to store dirty clothes.

Unfortunately, that is how most laundry hampers end up accumulating all manner of dirt which shouldn’t be happening at all. Not only is cleaning them easy, but it takes quite a short time to do it.

Laundry hampers should be washed because they hold dirty clothes that may also be moist from sweat. This makes them develop odor-producing bacteria and sometimes mold, which is also transferred to the laundry hampers. This results in allergic reactions and skin diseases.

Read on to learn more. 

Ways of Cleaning Different Laundry Baskets

Laundry hampers are made from different materials. So as expected, they are cleaned differently. Let us discuss some below.

How to Clean Cloth Laundry Hamper

The clothes hamper is perhaps one of the easiest to clean. All you have to do is dismantle them from their metal grill and wash the fabric normally. However, be careful with the wash temperature since washing with a hot setting may shrink the fabric. This creates a problem when refitting back the metal holder. 

Nonetheless, when washing laundry hampers, be sure to add a cup of vinegar to the wash cycle. This is because they are especially susceptible to hold on bacteria and mold due to dirty and damp clothes.

How to Clean Mesh Laundry Hampers

To clean a mesh laundry hamper, make a solution of the normal washing detergent and put it in a hand pump. Then, for the purpose of disinfection, you can add half a cup of vinegar to the mix and spray it on the outside and inside surfaces. 

Remember, the key is to moisten the hamper wall and not to oversaturate, to avoid mildew development. 

Next, use a piece of clothing and thoroughly scrub both sides of the hamper. 

Finally, if you’re satisfied with the results, place it outside in sunny, airy weather to dry.

How to Clean Plastic Laundry Hampers

Unlike the other types, cleaning plastic laundry hampers is easy since you can douse them with water as you wish, without the risk of dampness. To clean this one, all you need is to put water in a basin, add your washing detergent and give it a scrub. You could do it inside the bathroom or in the open. 

If you’ve got a water hose, you can first douse it with a gust of hose water before applying soapy water, and scrubbing with either a hand brush or a piece of clothes. Do not forget the handles and its bottom since it is most likely to be moldy. 

Finally, you can use a disinfectant to kill any residues of sweat bacteria and mildew spores before wiping it with a dry piece of cloth and drying it in the sun.

How to Clean a Wicker Laundry Basket

This is the most tricky laundry hamper to clean because of the material it is made of. Naturally, wicker baskets are made of plant-based materials such as reed, straw, or bamboo. Dousing this hamper with a gust of water from a garden hose as you would a plastic laundry will only destroy it. It will shortly grow mold and disintegrate. Here is how to wash it tactfully.

Put some water in a basin, add your favorite detergent, and put some vinegar for disinfection. Next, dip a piece of cloth inside the basin, and wring off the excess solution from it.

Then, use it to wipe both the inside and the outside of the basket while dipping it back into the detergent water solution. Once done, you can dry it in the sun before reusing it.

I also wrote an article on why cats love to sleep in the laundry that may interest you.

How to Keep Laundry Hamper Odors Away

Even as we clean the laundry hamper, stopping bad odors is probably one of the greatest challenges. Because, after cleaning, it will still accumulate bad odor from the dirty clothes.

However, following these steps may help in reducing the odors from the laundry hamper.

Keep Away Wet Items From the Hamper

If you were outdoors and got rain-drenched, be sure to air those clothes separately or wash them right away. Putting them in the hamper will only breed mildew and bad odors.

Keep the Laundry Hamper in a Cool, Dry Place

Most people like placing the hamper in the bathroom, which is a bad idea. The bathroom is ever wet and damp, creating the right condition for the growth of mildew. To avoid this problem, look for an alternative place that is cool and dry.

Keep Dirty Gym Clothes Out of the Hamper

If you have been hitting the gym or if you’ve been on your evening jog, skip the hamper when looking for somewhere to place them. You can either wash them immediately or hang them out to dry. The mixture of sweat, oils and other body secretions will only create odor.

Soiled Children Clothes

Children’s clothes with urine or stool should either be washed immediately or soaked for a short time before washing.

Put Odor Absorbers in the Hamper

You can easily buy odor absorbers online or in most convenience stores. Then you can place them at the bottom of the hamper and let it work. Optionally, you can place a small container perforated on the side with baking soda and put it at the bottom of the hamper.

Check out my article on damp laundry for more tips.

How Long Should Clothes Be Left in the Laundry Hamper?

The ideal number of days to leave dirty laundry in the hamper should be no more than five. Within this period, the mildew and odor bacteria will not have developed to emit odor and mildew stain.

Of course, this also depends on the state of the soil and whether it is wet or dry. Putting wet clothes in a hamper is not recommended unless over a few hours. 

Next, you can check out my guide on how to fold clothes fast, or my list of the best laundry hampers for college students.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Clean a Hamper?

Ideally, you should clean your laundry hamper once every week. But this also depends on your laundry storing habits. If you routinely damp moist clothes in the hamper, you should wash them sooner.

How Can I Remove Mold Stains From the Clothes Hamper?

To remove mold stains from the clothes hamper, mix equal parts of water, and ammonia in a basin and use it to clean the mildew. Using a toothbrush, scrub the stain while repeatedly dipping it into the basin until it is removed. Then rinse the stain spot with a piece of cloth dipped in clean water.

Does Baking Soda Remove Mold From Laundry Hampers?

Baking soda is perfect for removing molds from the laundry hamper. To remove molds from a laundry hamper, separately mix baking soda in cool water in a container. And with a piece of cloth dipped in the solution, soak the mold stain and wait for 10 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing the spot.


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