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How do I Choose the Best Laundry Hamper?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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Choosing the best laundry hamper means considering its size and structure as well as its looks. If you're going to place the hamper in a bathroom, you may choose a very different one from one you may choose for a closet or behind the bedroom door. If you have a large, central laundry room that family members are expected to bring their dirty clothes to, several labeled hampers may work best. For some people, especially those living in apartments without in-suite laundry, a hamper on wheels can be beneficial. Any type of laundry hamper you choose should have some form of ventilation in it to keep clothes from souring or mildewing.

While dirty laundry rarely smells wonderful, it can become extremely bad smelling if the hamper doesn't contain some air holes. Damp items may mildew or just get a sour odor. Even if a laundry hamper has no lid, clothes on the bottom may still not receive enough air to prevent mildew or odor unless the sides are vented. Wicker or rattan hampers usually have enough air allowance, as do porous canvas-lined hampers. Plastic hampers with very large holes often let in the most air, but they may not be that durable and crack or split over time.

Plastic hampers usually cost the least, while wicker or rattan can be much longer lasting for the money. Canvas laundry bags on a folding wood frame can be a space-saving yet portable option, as can metal basket hampers with a cloth lining and wheels. Hampers with wheels allow people with a washer and dryer on the same floor, or with an elevator to get to laundry facilities, a much easier option than having to lug a heavy basket a fair distance. In this way, a hamper on wheels can eliminate the need for an additional laundry basket, so this option can be especially helpful for small living spaces.

In a large, family-style laundry room, sectioned hampers can work well to organize whites, colors, darks and delicates. Some families keep the sectioned laundry hampers in the room and store a laundry basket for each family member on a shelf so that he or she can take the cleaned items to put away. For smaller areas, a taller laundry hamper is typically used rather than a sectioned type. The kind of hamper designed to display in a bathroom is usually more decorative than other types; you may want to choose one that is part of a set that includes a facial tissue cover, soap dispenser, tray or other accessory items.

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Discussion Comments
By nextcorrea — On May 16, 2012

I have a bad back and it is difficult for me to lift things. I use a rolling laundry hamper that I can roll from my bedroom all the way to my laundry room.

It also has a feature so that I can raise the bottom of the hamper instead of having to bend over to retrieve the last of the laundry. For an old lady like me it really helps.

By tigers88 — On May 15, 2012

It is worth it to spend a couple of extra bucks and get a decent laundry hamper. I have had a few of the really cheap ones and they can break pretty easily. Especially when they are all full of clothes, the weight can bend or break things no problem.

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