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Your hamper is one of those household items that's used by (hopefully) everyone in the family, multiple times each day. But as you repeat the seemingly endless process of fill, empty, wash, wear, and repeat, consider whether your current hamper is working for you. If not, there are dozens of different options with features such as ventilation holes, built-in laundry bags, and even some that are on wheels or built into a larger piece of furniture.
The most important consideration is where your hamper is going to live—the more convenient the spot, the greater the chance of folks actually putting their clothes in it—so measure that space carefully before you start shopping.
Here are the best clothing hampers for your home.
Best Overall: Sterilite Sorting Hamper
Plastic is an ideal hamper material because it's lightweight, easy to tote around, and simple to clean (or sanitize, if needed). This one, which has a slim profile, measures roughly 10 x 17 x 23 inches and weighs just over 2 pounds. You can buy a few and link them together using the notches on the long sides, so you can line a few up in either a large closet or laundry room.
The holes in the sides provide ventilation and help keep clothes from getting a musty smell before washing. You'll also get a set of labels ("darks," "whites," and "colors") to help you sort as needed.
Best Collapsible: Smart Design Pop-Up Flip Hamper and Basket
This handy, lightweight hamper is made from mesh and steel and can collapse when not in use, making it a smart choice for a college student or someone who lives in a small apartment or uses a laundromat. When open, it measures 15 x 25 x 15 inches, and can fit two loads of laundry.
Unlike many other collapsible hampers, this one has two zippers so it can be set up vertically, as hampers are traditionally used, or you can turn it horizontally, which would be helpful if you were using it to transport freshly dried and folded clothing. There are handle openings on every side, so you can carry it in the way that feels most comfortable, and it comes in a choice of colors, either gray or blue.
Best Lidded: Ikea Branäs Hamper
This attractive and sturdy rattan hamper weighs 8 pounds and measures roughly 16 x 23.5 x 16 inches. The hinged lid not only shields your dirty clothing from view, it also gives the hamper a bit of a spa vibe.
The hamper comes with a canvas liner that ties in place, though some who own it also use a second laundry bag inside, to avoid having to undo and redo the strings. Thanks to the plastic feet that lift it off the floor, you can use it in a bathroom without worrying that the rattan will be ruined by moisture from a stray puddle of water. It holds 21 gallons, which Ikea estimates to be 20 pounds of laundry.
Best Design: West Elm Bamboo Hamper with Shelf
This attractive piece is crafted from bamboo which has been whitewashed, giving it a pleasant, neutral look. It measures approximately 16 x 13 x 37 inches and would work well in a bathroom, since it comes with shelving on top that could hold clean linens. The hamper tilts outwards, and comes with a removable, grey liner.
Although it's not the biggest bin on our list, the streamlined size might encourage you to do laundry more frequently. As a furniture material, bamboo is praised for its clean good looks, sustainability, and durability, and can be easily wiped down with a damp cloth.
Best Rolling: Honey-Can-Do Chrome Triple Laundry Sorter
Given its generous size (31 x 18 x 32 inches), this chrome sorter should probably live in a laundry room or mudroom. It comes with three removable cotton bags with reinforced seams, and each bag measures nine inches wide. It's the perfect hamper for sorting family members' clothing or darks, whites, and colors.
The casters roll smoothly, or you can also lock them in place when you aren't moving it around. Note that assembly is required, but the process is fairly straightforward. It's made by Honey-Can-Do, a company based near Chicago that's known for their home organization products.
Best Modern: Willa Arlo Circle Laundry Hamper
This understated chrome tower, which has a brushed stainless steel finish, mixes form and function nicely. It's about 23 inches tall and the opening measures about 13.5 inches across. The wooden lid keeps the mess tucked away, but the top also has slots so you can drop in small items like socks. There's plenty of ventilation, thanks to holes along the sides, and a canvas liner with handles is included.
This piece weighs almost 12 pounds, so you'd probably want it to stay put, but it's attractive and moisture-resistant enough that you'd be happy to have it on display in the bathroom.
Best for Nurseries: 3 Sprouts Laundry Hamper
This canvas adorable bin has a goat motif, and the company also makes several other versions, including ones featuring a deer, a swan, and a lion. You can fold down the circular handles, thus creating a convenient lid for the top of the hamper (and hiding the dirty clothes from view). The bottom is made from a breathable mesh material. The whole hamper measures 19 x 22 x 11 inches, and can be collapsed and tucked away in a closet when not in use.
Although it doesn't hold a ton of clothing, it's perfect for corralling all the pint-sized outfits that tend to accumulate with little ones. When your child gets older and learns to carry their stuff to the main hamper, you can easily repurpose this one as a toy bin.
The best overall laundry hamper is the Sterilite Sorting Hamper (view at The Container Store), which can easily be cleaned and used in a group to help keep your laundry properly sorted. If you're looking for something that's more design-focused, we recommend the West Elm Bamboo Hamper with Shelf (view at West Elm), which is smaller, but would look great alongside any kind of decor.
What to Look for in a Clothes Hamper
First, you’ll want to consider the size and capacity of your hamper. If you live alone, a smaller model will likely suffice, but if you have a family of six, you’re going to have a lot more dirty laundry to hold. Consider how much laundry your household produces and how often you do laundry to figure out the best size hamper for your needs.
Do you want to pre-sort your laundry in the hamper? If so, you should look into a product that has multiple compartments or can be used in a group, as this will make laundry day much easier. If you don’t have a preference, however, hampers with single compartments are often less expensive.
Don’t forget to think about where you plan to keep the hamper in relation to where you do laundry. If the hamper is in the laundry room, a stationary model will be fine. However, if you need to transport the hamper to the washing machine, you’ll likely prefer a model with wheels or handles.
Where should you put a dirty clothes hamper?
Finding a good place to keep your clothes hamper is key to ensuring it's actually used. One of the most common places to keep it is in the bedroom closet, assuming there's room. If you go this route, make sure you get a hamper with handles or wheels so that it can be easily moved to the laundry machines. Don't have room in your closet, or don't feel like lugging a pile of dirty laundry to the washer on laundry day? Place your dirty clothes hamper in the laundry room or closet.
How long can lice live in a dirty clothes hamper?
If you have lice in your home, it's normal to be concerned about whether they can live in a dirty clothes hamper. Lice can live in a dirty clothes hamper, but they won't survive for more than 1 or 2 days without a human host. However, the eggs they lay, called nits, take 7-10 days and can be a problem down the road. To kill any possible nits, wash and dry your hamper on the hottest setting possible or keep it tightly bagged up for two weeks.
How do you wash a clothes hamper?
Why Trust The Spruce
Lexi Dwyer has written about the best recycling bins, laundry whiteners, and dryer sheets for The Spruce. She is a huge fan of her Ikea Branäs hamper, which works tirelessly to absorb the inexplicably vast amounts of laundry generated by her family of four. Additional reporting was done by Rabekah Henderson, a freelance design and decor writer whose work has appeared on MyDomaine, Atomic Ranch, Cary Magazine and American Farmhouse Style.