Different Ways to Fix a Smelly Hamper

Laundry hampers are a necessary staple in most homes and are great for what their made for; keeping laundry in one place. However, regardless of your type of laundry hamper, it is important to clean it from time to time. No one likes to get a whiff of a musty hamper, let’s be honest it’s the worst. 

In some cases, making your laundry hamper smell better is simply a matter of washing the liner with your laundry. In other cases, you might need to apply a specific cleaning method and put a little effort into cleaning the laundry hamper.  I had a hamper for years, that picked up a musky unpleasant smell, until one day the light bulb finally went off and I threw it in the washer.  I know, may sound silly, but many of us wonder about simple solutions.

Tips for Keeping Your Laundry Hamper from Becoming Smelly

Here are some basic practices to help you ensure that your laundry hamper doesn’t become smelly in the first place. Follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t put wet items in your laundry hamper. For instance, if you are unable to wash your beach towels right away, hang them over something to dry and when they are completely dry, only then put them in the laundry hamper.
  • Don’t throw food soiled towels in your laundry hamper. Either wash it immediately or rinse it and let it dry before tossing it in the laundry hamper.  We had an embarrassing situation, where we had guest over and a towel slowly started to smell like a sour nightmare.

Also look over little one’s clothing for pieces of food or even candy stuck to their clothing before it goes into the hamper. Kids love to hide little trinkets in their pockets from school and play; so taking a second look is helpful.

  • Avoid putting sweaty gym clothes directly in the laundry hamper. This is because they are usually very damp and offer organic material, e.g. body oils, dirt, sweat, etc., for mold spores to feast on. It is recommended to wash them immediately. However, if you cannot, then hang them to dry completely before putting them in the laundry hamper.  This is a great tip for those who have little athletes in their homes.
  • Avoid placing your laundry hamper in the bathroom. If your bathroom is small and doesn’t have a lot of ventilation it’s best to avoid putting your hamper there.  The bathroom contains a lot of moisture and it is more prone to harboring mildew and mold than other rooms. So, it’s a good idea to place the laundry hamper someplace other than the bathroom.  Right outside the bathroom in a hallway can sometimes, make a big difference.
  • Let your hamper breathe While you’re washing your clothes, let your hamper breathe.  We like to hang our hamper out to dry or place it in the sun while we are washing.

Washing and Cleaning the Laundry Hamper

There are a number of different ways to wash and clean the laundry hamper to make it smell better. Read on to learn about them.

For plastic hampers, put soap on the hamper with HOT water.  Swish it around for about 30 secs, making sure to get all side wet.  Dump and repeat those steps.  Afterwards you can spray a scented cleaner, maybe try Clorox Scentiva which is our favorite.  You can wipe it out with a towel or let it air dry before using it again.  Avoid placing any wet or soiled laundry back in the hamper until you know it’s completely dry.

If your laundry hamper has any mold or mildew on it, deal with it before cleaning it out.  In all honesty, you may want to consider getting a new hamper or a cheap temporary hamper while you are tackling your mold situation.  There are a number of molds fighting solutions but this Mold Control on Amazon might be a good start.

Laundry hampers with liners can be easily removed and cleaned.  Again, we suggest air drying after washing to help kill any bacteria.

Hampers with liners you can’t remove can be some of the most difficult to clean.  We suggest making sure your clothes are very dry before placing it in their types of hampers to avoid stains.  To clean this type of hamper, we suggest taking it outside dumping out any crumbs or excess debris.  Taking a wet cloth or wipe and wiping the inside of the hamper.  You can also use a handheld vacuum to assist you.

More Practical Tips

Here are some additional maintenance tips that will help keep your laundry hamper smelling fresh and better:

  • Choose a laundry hamper that can be easily cleaned. If your budget allows, then it may be a good idea to assign different types of laundry hampers for different purposes around your home. You can buy really cheap hampers, for especially smelly items; so you can replace it more often.
  • Buy odor absorbers that you can place inside your lidded laundry hamper. Stick-on air fresheners and scented dryer sheets can also do the trick.
  • Avoid super large hampers, because the laundry will build up to larger piles. Thus making for large smelly piles, and that’s no fun.

Whether you use your laundry hamper for just dirty linens and clothes or put your clean clothes back in it after folding, cleaning it on regular basis should be your top priority.

Mildew and bacteria can grow inside it, making it smelly. So, it is highly recommended that you follow the above-listed guidelines to keep your laundry hamper smelling fresh and better. This way, you will avoid smells while also ensuring that your clothes are safe from being affected by mildew or bacteria from the laundry hamper.

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