How To Get Mold Out Of Cloth Laundry Basket

Mold loves moisture, so if you've accidentally left some damp or wet clothes or towels in your cloth laundry basket, you might have discovered that your cloth laundry basket now has mold in it. Don't worry too much, though, because we've researched in-depth ways to get mold out of a cloth laundry basket and have some tips and solutions for you. 

You can remove mold from your cloth laundry basket by following these steps below:

  1. Remove as much of the mold as you can using a scrub brush.
  2. Spray any visible mold stains with a white vinegar solution.
  3. Soak in hot water and vinegar for at least two hours.
  4. Run through the washer.
  5. Dry in the sun.

We've given you the basic steps to remove mold from your laundry basket, but keep reading as we go into detail about each one and answer some more questions you might have about laundry baskets. 

Laundry basket on blurred background of modern washing machine, How To Get Mold Out Of Cloth Laundry Basket

Steps To Follow

Step 1: Remove The Mold

Before you begin cleaning your basket with anything else, you'll want to try and remove as many of the mold spores as possible. Take your laundry basket outside and use a dry scrub brush to remove as much of the mold as you can. It is better to do this outside where there is better ventilation. You don't want the mold spores spreading anywhere else!

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Click here to see a Heavy Duty Scrub Brush on Amazon.

Step 2: Spray With Vinegar

White vinegar is popular in household cleaning and is useful for more than just wiping down counters! Using a spray bottle filled with equal parts white vinegar and water, saturate any visible mold stains. Let the basket soak for at least five minutes before moving on to the next step. 

Click here to see Happy Belly Distilled White Vinegar on Amazon.

Step 3: Allow It To Soak

In a bathtub or washer, allow the laundry basket to soak in hot water and a cup of vinegar for at least two hours. Soaking your fabric will help break down the mold spores. Check any labels on the basket to see what temperature the water should be for cleaning.

Step 4: Wash The Laundry Basket

Following any directions on your laundry basket, run the basket or liner through your washer on the appropriate wash cycle. Use a heavy-duty laundry detergent such as Tide to help break down the enzymes in any remaining mold spores or stains. If you have a cloth laundry hamper that can't be washed in a machine, hand wash it with warm water, detergent, and a sponge or cloth. 

Click here to see Tide on Amazon.

Step 5: Dry It In The Sun

After washing your laundry basket, don't place it in the dryer because the heat can set any stains or odors into the fabric. Instead, place it outside in the sun. The sun will help brighten the fabric and remove any stains. If any stains remain, spray the stains with lemon juice and allow the basket to dry in the sun again. The lemon juice reacts with the sun to lighten the stain. 

What Are Laundry Baskets Made Of?

You've probably noticed that laundry baskets are made of a variety of materials and come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. There are plastic, cloth, and wicker baskets. 


A blue cloth bag with unclean laundry inside it

Plastic laundry baskets are generally less expensive but less stylish than cloth or wicker baskets and have an easier surface to clean. You can use a wipe or a sponge with soap and warm water to wipe them down.


A blue laundry basket filed with folded clean t-shirts

Cloth laundry baskets are usually made of heavy-duty cotton fabrics such as canvas or duck cloth. Most cloth baskets are machine washable and can be thrown in with the laundry if they get dirty.


A laundry basket filed with newly cleaned and folded towels

Wicker baskets are usually made of some type of reed, grass, or cane and often come with a cloth lining for protection and easier cleaning. Along with the cloth laundry baskets, they are considered more stylish than plastic baskets. They are not quite as durable as plastic laundry baskets because over time, parts of the basket can weaken and snap, and in turn, snag your clothes.

Why Do Laundry Baskets Have Holes?

Basket with dirty laundry on floor against light wall

You may have noticed that almost all plastic laundry baskets have holes. Laundry baskets have holes to prevent a build-up of moisture and odor. Having holes allows your laundry to "breathe" and reduces the chances of mold and mildew forming. Keep in mind that even if your laundry basket has holes, it is not a good idea to leave damp or wet laundry sitting in the basket as mold can begin forming within 24 hours.

Cloth and wicker laundry baskets also have holes in their surface; they are just typically smaller and less noticeable than the holes on a plastic laundry basket. 

How Do I Keep My Laundry Basket From Smelling?

Laundry basket on blurred background of modern washing machine

It is not surprising that after holding dirty laundry, baskets can begin to get a not-so-fresh odor. However, there are some steps you can take to help reduce the chance of this happening. 

Baking Soda

top view of baking soda on the blackboard

Baking soda is known for its odor hiding power and is often used in other household areas, such as the refrigerator, where things can smell a little unfresh or overpowering. You can sprinkle a small amount in the bottom of your laundry basket or make a small pouch containing baking soda using a thin paper like a coffee filter and place it inside or tape it to the side of the basket.

You can also sprinkle baking soda on top of particularly stinky clothes. 

Click here to see Arm & Hammer Baking Soda on Amazon.

Air Freshener 

Air fresheners aren't just for cars! They are great for placing around your home. You can use any kind of small stick-on air freshener and attach it to the inside side of your laundry basket,or you can buy air fresheners specifically for small places.

Click here to see Arm & Hammer Odor Busterz Balls on Amazon.

Dryer Sheets

You probably already have dryer sheets in your laundry room, so you can throw a scented one in the bottom of your laundry basket to help mask odors. Just pop a new one in each time you empty it to keep it smelling fresh!

Click here to see Downy Infusions Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets on Amazon.

Avoid Leaving Wet Or Damp Clothes For Too Long

As we mentioned above, leaving wet or damp clothes in the basket can cause mold and mildew, but it can also create unpleasant odors. It is best to let items like towels or damp clothes hang dry before placing them in your laundry basket. 

Do Laundry More Frequently

Wicker basket with dirty laundry indoors

We know doing laundry is an unfavorable chore for a lot of people, but doing loads of laundry more frequently and not allowing your clothes to sit, will keep your laundry basket from smelling.

Clean The Laundry Basket 

Cleaning your laundry basket on the same day you do laundry will help keep it smelling fresher. If you have a cloth laundry basket, consider throwing it in with your laundry every week or two. If you have a plastic basket, you can wipe it down regularly with a sponge and hot water. 

Final Thoughts

Mold can be frustrating to deal with, but luckily you don't have to replace your cloth laundry basket completely. Just follow our steps above, and you should be on your way to a mold-free laundry basket in just a few hours! 

For more reading on ways to avoid mold, check out "5 Best Shower Curtain Liners to avoid Mildew and Mold," or for more mold cleaning tips, check out "How To Clean Mold From Shower Grout (Incld. Naturally)?"

A cloth laundry basket with folded cloth on it inside an orange painted laundry room, How To Get Mold Out Of Cloth Laundry Basket

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