Why Do Laundry Baskets Have Holes? [Explained]

Laundry baskets are one of those everyday items that you might not take notice of. However, if you pause for a moment, you will notice that all laundry baskets have something in common: they have holes in them.

But why are they all like this? Why do laundry baskets have holes?

Laundry baskets have holes to improve ventilation and prevent the growth of bacteria. It also makes them lighter and looks attractive.

It may not seem logical for a container like a laundry basket to have holes, but there are very good reasons that make doing laundry a little bit easier every day.

This article is going to explore why laundry baskets have holes in them and the best materials to choose for a safe, well-designed laundry basket.

Gomestic Tip: If you have mobility issues and trouble carrying your laundry basket, some on the market come with wheels that make handling them easy.

Why Do Laundry Baskets Have Holes?

So, as we know, laundry baskets can be used for two different functions; storing dirty laundry and transporting freshly washed laundry.

It’s very common for households to use two different laundry baskets for this purpose, but you can use the same one if you have limited space. The basket used to store dirty laundry is known as a hamper in some countries.

Whichever purpose they serve, laundry baskets’ design remains the same. Their size and shape may vary, but all laundry baskets will have holes of some form, which is what we will explore today.

Here are all the reasons why laundry baskets have holes in them:

Removing Excess Moisture

The main reason that laundry baskets have holes is to create ventilation and prevent the growth of bacteria.

This is particularly important in baskets that hold dirty laundry.

When we wear our clothes, we sweat in them all day. So when the sweaty clothes are placed in the laundry basket, the moisture can get trapped. The holes in the laundry basket give this moisture somewhere to escape, so there is no threat of mildew growing in your laundry.

This is not as much of an issue with clean laundry baskets or laundry baskets with clean clothes, but this is still a possible problem in wet weather.

To aid ventilation, I recommend letting any items that have got wet dry before placing them in the laundry basket.

Keep Them Light

A laundry basket is designed to be easy to carry around your house, so for this reason, they need to be light.

If the basket were made from one solid material, it would make them significantly heavier and harder to move from your bathroom or bedroom to your laundry room.

The holes make the basket lighter, meaning most of the weight comes from dirty clothes, towels, etc., without the basket adding too much extra weight.

For The Aesthetic

The original laundry baskets were all made with wicker that has natural gaps between the fibers.

This is why it is common to see plastic laundry baskets that have been designed to mimic this appearance. It also adds texture and makes it more visually appealing. Some designs may even have wicker textures worked in between the holes.

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Best Materials for Laundry Baskets

Now that we know the reason for the holes in laundry baskets, I want to look at the materials that make this design possible.

The material is crucial to a laundry basket functioning correctly.


The original material for laundry baskets was wicker, and that trend continues to this day.

The way that the fibers are woven results in many natural holes that are ideal for ventilating your clothes. It is also a very light material that is easy to carry around the house.


Plastic laundry baskets were made as a cheap and easily reproduced alternative to the original baskets.

Although it is not very environmentally friendly, plastic is the ideal material for a laundry basket because it is light, durable, and easy to clean.

Due to these properties, plastic laundry baskets can have even more holes in them while still maintaining their structural integrity. They are also available in various attractive colors to suit your home design.

Breathable Fabric

Some laundry baskets feature a lightweight fabric insert that fits within the solid framework of the hamper. This makes it easy to pull the bag out and carry it easily to the washing machine.

This fabric should be loosely woven so the laundry inside can breathe. A mesh is actually preferable for this application.

However, fabric would be at the bottom of my list for a laundry basket out of all these options. The bag needs to be cleaned often, and it is very easy for bacteria to build up over time.

Gomestic Fact: Laundry baskets of some form have been used for centuries, but the item as we know it today was invented by Katherine Forbes in 1989.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do laundry baskets get dirty?

This will happen even if you use one basket for clean laundry and another for dirty laundry; eventually, your laundry basket will get dirty.

When this happens, I recommend using a surface spray and a damp cloth to wipe down the inside and outside of the basket and allow it to dry thoroughly before using it again.

Should a laundry hamper have a lid?

As we have discussed, one of the main reasons laundry baskets have holes in them is to air it out and prevent the growth of bacteria.

For that reason, I don’t recommend getting a laundry basket with a lid unless it also has holes in it. This will cause a build-up of moisture and put you at risk of developing mildew.


Small design elements like the holes in laundry baskets are features that may go unnoticed on an everyday basis. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t make all the difference.

To sum it all up, laundry baskets have holes in them for ventilation and to make them lighter to carry around. It is also an attractive and distinctive design.

Now the next time you go to do your laundry you can look at your laundry basket in a new light and appreciate its simply smart design.

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