How to Clean Mildew in Hampers

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Things You'll Need

  • Detergent

  • Soft brush

  • Sponge

  • Stiff brush

  • Absorbent towels

  • Spray bottle

  • Bleach


Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the hamper. It will destroy odors and freshen the laundry when you wash it. Leftover detergent mixture can be stored in a closed container and used on other tough clean-up jobs.

Willow hamper by Katherine Lewis.

Laundry hampers are often stuffed with damp clothing and towels. The darkness and moisture create a perfect atmosphere for mold and mildew to form. Left untreated, mold and mildew can damage fabrics and cause respiratory problems. Prevent the problem by removing wet items from the hamper promptly, and always leave the top open. Cleaning mildew is easy and doesn't require expensive commercial products. Common household cleaners will do the job.

Step 1

Empty the hamper and wipe off visible moisture, then let it air dry.

Step 2

Make a solution with 1/4 cup of a strong detergent like TSP and 1 gallon of warm water.

Step 3

Use a soft brush to clean the hamper with the detergent mixture. Work the detergent into cracks if you have a woven hamper. Rinse with a sponge and clear water.

Step 4

Use a stiff brush and the detergent to scrub stubborn stains until the area is clean.

Step 5

Dry the hamper with absorbent towels.

Step 6

Make a solution of 25-percent bleach and 75-percent water. Put it in a spray bottle and mist the entire hamper. Let it sit for one minute.

Step 7

Dry any remaining bleach solution off the hamper. Leave it open and empty for a day to make sure the mildew doesn't reappear. If it does, repeat the steps above.

references & resources

Meg Jernigan

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.