Laundry needs to go somewhere when you’re done using it. Baskets and hampers of all kinds have seen use across the world to store laundry.
The best material for a laundry basket is cloth. Cloths and fabrics are easy to store and work well with other materials like wood or metal. They can also be cleaned in a washing machine if they get dirty or acquire a smell. Fabric laundry baskets are also relatively cheap.
But just because fabric is the best material for a laundry basket doesn’t mean it’s the only good material for a laundry basket. Let’ ‘s take a look at all of the different materials that you could use to store your laundry.
Fabric probably isn’t the first thing that you think of when you think of baskets, and that’s fair! Most baskets are made of more solid materials like plastic or wicker. But welcome, my friend, to the cutting edge of basket technology!
Fabric is more commonly used in laundry hampers with metal or wooden frames, but when inlaid with a frame it can easily be made into a freestanding basket that is either fully collapsible or at least a little softer on clothes than hard plastic.
And these fabric laundry containers are quickly growing in popularity. When compared to similar mesh bags, they tend to be much better looking and less prone to giving visitors a full view of all your dirty underwear.
And because of the extra flexibility that fabrics have, you can store a fabric laundry basket pretty much anywhere you need to when it isn’t full, especially if it’s the collapsible variety.
Wicker is one of the older and more traditional basket-making materials. Does this work in its favor? Absolutely! If you’re going for that classic aesthetic a wicker basket can fit that image fantastically.
What advantages does wicker have over other materials? Wicker baskets are usually very light, which makes them easier to carry back and forth from a laundry room to a bedroom. However, they do have a little more weight to them than fabric baskets, which makes them a little harder to knock over on accident spilling laundry everywhere.
It’s also very durable, so if you take care of it right it will last for a super long time. Wicker outdoor furniture is popular for a reason, and if people trust their wicker furniture in a place where it could be attacked by a raccoon every day then it should survive even a very chaotic household.
There are two big disadvantages to wicker. The first is that wicker baskets sometimes have a lot of splinters, which can make your life a lot more difficult if you buy a low-quality basket.
The second is that it looks like wicker. Wicker has very clear textures and colors and isn’t usually painted. This means that if your space doesn’t already look like wicker then a wicker laundry basket will stand out in a bad way.
Plastic laundry baskets are increasingly common across the country for their lightweight and cheap cost. You can probably afford a couple of plastic laundry baskets!
It’s a little heavier than the other materials on this list, so it’s probably bad if you need to go back and forth from a laundromat. Otherwise, it isn’t so heavy as to be inconvenient to move around your house, which means it is totally usable even for young children
Of course, plastic has its major disadvantages. It’s harder than wicker, which means that it will put a bit of stress on your clothes. It also might hurt if a kid trips and hits their face on it, which is less true for wicker and pretty much not true for fabric.
Plastic also breaks easier than the other materials on this list. Depending on the specific basket that you have, it could easily end up cracking after a few years of rough treatment in your home.
The world of rope-based laundry baskets is still a relatively new one, but they have a strong look to them and that’s an advantage in and of itself.
What else do rope baskets bring to the table? Baskets made from rope hold their shape much better than fabric and are lighter than wicker or plastic, making them a happy medium in terms of their relationship to the other three materials on this list.
That being said, rope can be difficult to clean. It can’t be cleaned in a washing machine as fabric can, and it can’t be easily washed with a hose like a plastic basket can be. Wicker baskets can be vacuumed out to good effect as well, but rope baskets have deep crevices that make vacuuming less effective.
All around, they are still a great material for a laundry basket, even if they are hard to clean.
Dishonorable Mention: Mesh
Mesh is the college dorm room classic that does not gel with any interior look. Do you want a basket that does nothing to block the smell from your roommate’s exercise shorts? What about a basket that lets you see those sweatstained shorts right through its walls?
And the colors! Imagine, you’ve filled your home with neutral earthy tones and finally achieved that look that you’ve worked on for so long. Then your child comes home from school with their bright green mesh laundry bag and plops it right down in their room. There’s no way that doesn’t clash with all the other colors in the room.
And that isn’t even to speak of its durability. You would expect a material that’s full of holes to have some kind of natural defense against rogue toenails, but it does not. One wrong move while carrying your mesh basket and it will catch on a sharp counter and tear.
At least it’s cheap, right? That is the only advantage to it. While a nice plastic basket will last you a couple of years and a wicker one might last for even longer, depending on the kind of mesh it might be unusable after six months. If you’re spending twenty dollars a year on new mesh laundry containers then it only takes five years to spend a hundred dollars on garbage baskets that get destroyed easily when you easily could’ve spent fifteen to thirty solving that problem for that entire half-decade.
- Change the World by How You Shop: Fair Trade Laundry Baskets
As the founder of Container FAQs, my goal is to provide readers with in-depth information on the containers used in daily life and related subjects. Don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have any suggestions for articles you would like to see on my blog.