What to look for when buying a laundry basket

Doing laundry may not be a preferred chore, but it is necessary. And there’s nothing worse than reaching into your basket of clothes and being met with the smell of a pile of clothes.

However, this kind of bad smell is the kind you can avoid. Choosing a large basket is the first step towards preventing odors from building up in your laundry.

However, let’s talk about the source of these smells. The short answer: moisture. Anytime moisture interacts with the bacteria present, there is the potential for strong odors, and even mold or mildew growth. This is why sweaty workout clothes are always the smelliest of the bunch.

The best way to avoid overpowering smells and contaminating your entire laundry pile is to dry it before tossing it in the basket. Always hang wet towels or sweaty clothes and let them dry completely before throwing them in a pile.

Once you have taken basic precautions to prevent your clothes from rotting and smelling bad, examine the type of hamper you are using. There is no perfect answer, but some of the key things to look for are breathability, antimicrobial properties, and washability.

There are different approaches you can take to find the right obstacle, so it comes down to choosing what works for you and your lifestyle.

Find a blocker that can breathe

Credit: Left: Mind Reader | Right: Yamazaki’s house

A hindrance with plenty of ventilation provides the breathing room needed for laundry.

A basket full of holes and joints gives your clothes room to breathe. The best options are usually made of plastic or metal because these materials won’t absorb odors and can be wiped down between uses or sprayed with an antimicrobial spray.

Great ventilation in these types of obstructions allows damp clothing to dry out some air instead of trapping moisture.

Baskets with a cage-like design may work better than [hampers with solid bases, since the latter can cause pooling of moisture at the base.

Find a hamper made with naturally antibacterial or antimicrobial materials

Credit: Left: Target | Right: Rejuvenation

Bamboo and wool have natural anti-bacterial properties that will help keep you laundry fresh.

Certain natural materials have antibacterial or antimicrobial properties making them a better option for storing your clothing. These include bamboo and wool.

Bamboo hampers are everywhere, and those with removable cloth liners allow you to carry your clothing over to your washing machine, rather than hauling the whole hamper.

Wool is another hero in the laundry room. Wool dryer balls help soften clothes and prevent static, so it’s just as good for a hamper.

The downside to some of these natural materials is that they’re a bit harder to clean, so if easy cleaning is at the top of your priority list then wool or bamboo may not be the best option.

When in doubt, go for a hamper that’s as easily washable as your laundry

A line-up of laundry baskets made from steel frames and canvas bags

Credit: Food52

Make sure to let your cloth hamper dry thoroughly before putting any dirty clothes back in.

Laundry hampers are where our dirty clothes go, so consider that your hamper can get dirty, too. Going for cloth-based hampers that are easily washable can help to maintain cleanliness.

However, not all cloth hampers are washable so it’s important to read the fine print. Some laundry bags are air-dry only so make sure to let your hamper dry before putting any dirty clothes back in.

Get the Steele Canvas Elevated Laundry Basket at Food52 starting at $120

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.


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