Your Hamper Is Probably Gross, so Here's How to Clean

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Image Credit: Stephen Paul for Hunker

Squeaky is all about the borderline genius hacks and ideas that keep literally every inch of your space pristine.

Be honest: how often do you ​actually​ clean your clothes hamper? The hamper is one of those items in your home that probably don't think about cleaning, but it can actually get quite gross (especially if it is made of cloth). So, just how gross ​is​ your hamper?

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Consider this: if your clothes go into the hamper dirty, then chances are that some of that dirt, perspiration, or bacteria is going to come in contact with the hamper. Damp items that sit dormant for a while will start to grow mildew pretty quickly, and that can be transferred to your hamper. The good news is that it's pretty easy to clean — and keep clean. Here's how.

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How to Prevent Your Hamper from Getting Dirty

Before we get into the hamper cleaning details, let's talk about how we can prevent our hamper from getting gross in the first place.

  • Hang wet or damp items up to dry before placing them in your hamper.
  • Place items that you or a family member have worn when you are sick in a plastic bag and close it until you can wash.
  • Pretreat stains with a stain remover before placing in your hamper.
  • Skip the hamper for really dirty items and place them straight into your washing machine.

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Image Credit: Hunker in partnership with Acme Real Estate

How to Clean a Fabric Hamper

Fabric hampers are very popular, but can be the hardest to keep clean because they are more susceptible to mildew growth and can't just be wiped down. If you use a fabric hamper, it's extremely important to ​never​ add damp or wet clothes to your hamper. If your fabric hamper is showing signs of mildew growth, you can clean it, but it's best to keep that from happening if you can. First, start with making a mildew cleaning solution.

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Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup of peroxide

  • 1/4 cup of dish liquid (Dawn dish liquid works best for this)

  • Spray bottle

Step 1

Spray any dirty or mildew spots with the cleaning solution.

Step 2

Scrub lightly with a toothbrush or dish brush.

Step 3

Rinse with cool water.

Step 4

Allow to dry completely before using.

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Image Credit: Paul Anderson for Hunker

How to Clean a Basket-Style Hamper

Another really popular option for hampers is a basket-style or wicker hamper. They look lovely and are more of a decorative choice. Wicker or basket-style hampers are a lot like fabric hampers in the sense that they can absorb dampness and mildew can grow on them very easily. If you are using this style of hamper, you definitely need to avoid adding wet or damp clothes to it. Here's how to clean:

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Step 1

Use a mixture of hot water and dish liquid to scrub any mildewed areas.Combine a few drops of dish liquid with two cups of warm water and mix together well. Apply to the wicker (especially any mildewed areas) using a soft toothbrush or dish brush.

Step 2

Scrub lightly until mildew is removed.

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Step 3

Allow the basket to dry in the sun to help kill any bacteria.

How to Clean a Plastic Hamper

To clean a plastic hamper, you'll make an easy-to-use vinegar cleaning solution.

Step 1

Combine one part distilled white vinegar with one cup of water and mix well. Add to a spray bottle.

Step 2

Spray the inside of the hamper liberally with vinegar solution.

Step 3

Wipe the inside of the hamper clean using a clean cloth.

Step 4

Spray a little bit of the vinegar cleaning solution on a cleaning cloth and wipe the outside of the hamper off.

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