Credit: PB Teen, Amazon
When you live in a college dorm, laundry day can be daunting. Making time between classes, studying, and socializing to schlep your dirty clothes (and twin XL sheets) to the laundry room, finding an available washer, and separating your lights and darks is tough. What helps? One of the best dorm laundry baskets.
A good laundry basket will always have your back: It should be roomy enough to withstand a few weeks without washes but compact and portable enough to store in a thimble-sized dorm room. You should also be able to bring it to and from the laundry room without a second thought. Luckily, there are a lot of great dorm laundry baskets, from classic hampers to handy backpacks. It’s something that should be on every student’s dorm shopping list.
Below are the best laundry baskets for every kind of dorm — and every kind of college student.
This plastic hamper is sturdy, roomy, and built to last through all four years of college (and beyond!). Its standout feature is that it’s fashioned like a rolling suitcase with wheels and an extendable handle. This makes it especially easy to transport laundry from your room to the laundry room. (It also has handles on the side if you want to use it more like a laundry basket.) At 29 inches high and 21 inches wide, it’s tall enough to handle a solid amount of laundry, but it’s still slim so it can live comfortably in a closet or corner.
Its flip-top lid keeps clothes contained, but thanks to its ventilation holes, damp or sweaty clothes can be thrown in without getting overly musty. When it comes to cleaning the hamper itself, all you need to do is wipe it down with a sponge or damp cloth. (Bonus points for low effort, if you ask us.) Reviewers say the basket is also helpful for storage when moving in and out of a dorm room.
What Others are Saying:
This laundry basket was named the best “lamper” (that is, a laundry basket/hamper combo) by PureWow. It also has great reviews across the board, with a 4.6-star rating on Amazon.
Buy the Sterilite Hamper with Wheels:
There are backpacks you use for class, and then there are backpacks you use for laundry. This Azhido bag is a stellar example of the latter. Its 115-liter capacity holds a lot (about three loads of laundry!), and its durable polyester material and buckle closure help everything inside stay secure.
The backpack also has nice extra touches that make laundry day easier, like padded straps — which help it stay comfy on the shoulders, even when it’s filled to capacity — and an exterior Velcro pouch that can be used for detergent, a student ID card, and change or your wallet. It doesn’t hurt that it comes in lots of colors, too.
What Others are Saying:
The Azhido backpack was named the best backpack laundry bag in Wirecutter. It’s also earned lots of rave reviews from customers, with a 4.8-star rating out of more than 4,000 Amazon reviews.
Buy the Azhido Backpack Laundry Bag:
Credit: PB Teen
This 86-liter, backpack-style laundry bag is an easy pick for anyone who wants to keep their laundry in a stylish, personalized container. The bag comes in seven colors, from chambray to stripes, and for an extra $15, you can add a monogram to make sure it never gets accidentally mixed up with someone else’s. (Plus, there are 11 different monogram styles, so you definitely won’t be short on options.)
It’s also just as functional as it is fun, with its recycled polyester material and a drawstring top to keep clothes secure when you’re on your way to the laundry room.
What Others are Saying:
This backpack is at the top of Refinery29’s list of the best college laundry bags.
Buy the PB Teen Recycled Essential Laundry Basket:
This mesh laundry basket is a mainstay in many college dorms for a reason. It’s lightweight, easy to maneuver, and inexpensive, so it’s no biggie if something happens to it over its four-year college career.
This particular basket has handles, so it’s easy to bring back and forth from the laundry room, along with a side pocket to hold laundry essentials like Tide Pods and change. When it’s not in use, it folds down into a baseball cap-sized pouch, making it a breeze to bring on trips or put away when it’s not in use.
What Others are Saying:
The Techmilly mesh bag has a 4.5-star rating out of nearly 2,500 Amazon reviews.
Buy the Techmilly Pop-Up Laundry Hamper:
This hamper keeps dirty clothes safely tucked away in a stylish spot. It has built-in handles for easy transportation, a lid to cover up what’s inside, and a washable, removable fabric liner. Combined, these features give the hamper a more sophisticated feel than many other dorm laundry containers. (Which, in some cases, may or may not just be an old pillowcase — no judgment here.) Plus, it’s easy to store, and the sleek rectangular shape makes it easy to place flush against a wall for easy storage. When it’s not in use, it folds down into a compact square.
What Others are Saying:
This hamper has a 4.5-star rating out of more than 600 Target reviews.
Buy the Brightroom Collapsible Hamper:
This stylish, sturdy laundry hamper does what it’s supposed to do: Keep clothes tucked away and make it easy to transport to the laundry room and back. Like the Brightroom hamper, it contains a washable inner liner. However, for its price, it didn’t have enough standout features for us to make it a top pick. The Lonbet Laundry Hamper is available at Amazon for $36.95.
This tote-style, 15-liter laundry basket could be an excellent choice for some college students. It’s flexible enough to be maneuvered into small spaces, and it can hold a decent amount of laundry. However, some reviewers note that the handle can dig into your hands or break if the basket is too heavy. The Rubbermaid Flex N Carry Portable Laundry Basket is available at Amazon for $22.99.
This slim laundry hamper is a great option for someone who likes the look of a hamper but doesn’t have a ton of space. It has a removable mesh bag and wheels, which makes it easy to transport laundry. However, it has no lid, which offsets its otherwise sleek design. The Caroeas Laundry Hamper is available at Amazon for $21.98.
This durable yet collapsible laundry basket seems to earn a top spot in every laundry basket roundup it’s featured in, from Better Homes & Gardens to The Spruce Eats. However, its classic laundry basket style may not be as useful in a college dorm, where it’s helpful to have something slimmer and more portable. The Sammart Collapsible Laundry Basket is available at Amazon for $46.99.
Hi, I’m Sara! I’ve been testing, reviewing, and writing about products for more than four years. I’m an expert in researching products and sifting through reviews to find the best options for all kinds of people. I’m also a former college student who had a love/hate relationship with laundry day and would have benefitted from a decent laundry basket in college.
With help from Grown and Flown’s off-to-college experts, I looked into all of the most popular laundry baskets and hampers out there from Amazon, PB Teen, Target, and others to ensure we recommended only the best laundry baskets out there.
Before buying a laundry basket for a dorm room, it’s important to consider these factors:
Basket vs. hamper: People use the terms “laundry basket” and “hamper” interchangeably, but they have some key differences. Laundry baskets have an open top and are mainly intended for transporting laundry. Hampers are places to toss dirty laundry, are usually stored in bedrooms and bathrooms, and tend to have lids to mask odors. Some, like our top pick, are “lampers,” or a laundry basket/hamper hybrid that fuse the best of both together. This is convenient when you live in a dorm and likely don’t have space for a laundry basket and hamper.
Dorm room space: The dorm room itself will dictate the laundry basket size you pick. If it’s a larger space, a sturdy hamper may be the way to go. If it’s a tiny room, a smaller, collapsible basket may be in order.
Laundry frequency: Think about how often laundry will happen. (Be honest!) If it is frequent, a small laundry basket will suffice. If it’s more likely to be a once-or-twice-a-semester occurrence, invest in something a little more spacious.
Ventilation: Some laundry vessels — usually plastic or mesh ones — have aeration holes. This allows damp clothes and towels to go in without getting overly musty. Hampers usually don’t have ventilation, but they often have washable cloth liners.
Portability: At the very least, a good laundry basket will be lightweight and have handles to make it easier to take clothes to and from the laundry room. Backpack- or rolling suitcase-style laundry baskets make transporting even easier.
Technically, anything that holds dirty clothes will work as a laundry basket, but we recommend using something sturdy and easy to transport. A backpack- or rolling suitcase-style laundry basket will be easiest to move around, while a classic hamper made of cloth and cardboard may look better in a dorm room.
Credit: PB Teen
A dorm laundry basket hits the Goldilocks sweet spot when it’s the right size to fit in your dorm room and not overflow based on your laundry schedule. For most people, this will be something that’s on the taller and slimmer side, like a hamper or soft laundry backpack, rather than a wider, classic-style laundry basket.
Keep in mind that it’ll be carried (or rolled) back and forth from the laundry room, so it’s important to get a size that can realistically be carried.
The holes in laundry baskets serve an important purpose. They provide ventilation so when you toss in damp, dirty clothes — like workout gear or a post-shower towel — the moisture evaporates and prevents mold growth. The holes also let you eyeball whether or not it’s full and reduce a bit of weight when it’s being lifted.
The simplest way to hide a laundry basket in a bedroom? Stick it in the closet. If that’s not an option, you can opt for a hanging laundry basket (like one of the backpack-style ones we recommend) and put it on a hook on the door. You can also get a laundry basket that fits in with the room’s decor, making it so that it hides in plain sight. Finally, if the dorm room has the space, you can get a folding screen or room divider to shield the laundry basket.
Prices were accurate at time of publication.
As a parent... have you decided that something needs to change regarding your child's academics? Have you set your ...Read more
6 years ago I went through a very big mental health crisis and while it was a time in my...Read more
There are so many options when it comes to homeschooling! Add bilingual homeschooling on top of that, and you have...Read more
Credit: Amazon When your child flies off to college or post-grad life, their absence may leave a space in your...Read more