How to Wash Socks

There are many different ways you can clean your socks, but some ways are better than others. If you want to wash them in a washing machine, make sure to turn them inside out before washing them on gentle. If you’d rather hand wash them, swirl and soak them in warm, soapy water. After washing, hang your socks out to dry to keep them from becoming damaged.

EditSteps

EditUsing the Washing Machine

  1. Separate the socks by color. Before washing your socks, you’ll want to separate them into two loads: whites and colors. This keeps your socks looking vibrant and prevents any unwanted bleeding.[1]
    Wash Socks Step 1.jpg
    • If you’re washing both dress socks and athletic socks, consider separating those as well. For example, you might have a load of colored dress socks, colored athletic socks, white dress socks, and white athletic socks.
    • If you only have a few pairs of white athletic socks to wash, throw them into the washing machine with any white towels that you have.
  2. Use stain removing products to remove stains. There are many products out there, such as Tide Ultra Stain Release Liquid, aimed to get rid of stains. Purchase a stain remover and follow the directions on the bottle. It may instruct you to either soak your stained socks in the remover or apply the remover directly to the stains.[2]
    Wash Socks Step 2.jpg
    • Mix a scoop of Oxiclean powder into a gallon (3.8 L) of warm water and soak your stained socks for a few hours, or overnight if you’re dealing with a tougher stain. Then wash the stained socks.[3]
  3. Try removing stains with home remedies. There are also many home remedies that you can try to get rid of different kinds of stains. Try sprinkling salt onto red wine stains or spraying hairspray onto ink stains before washing.[4]
    Wash Socks Step 3.jpg
    • Make a generic stain remover at home by mixing a 1:2 ratio of dish washing liquid and hydrogen peroxide.[5]
  4. Turn the socks inside out. Doing this allows the socks to be cleaned as thoroughly as possible, because the odor-causing bacteria mostly reside inside of the sock.[6] This will also help to minimize lint accumulation.[7]
    Wash Socks Step 4.jpg
  5. Pin each pair together with a clothespin. If you often find yourself with single socks, consider pinning each pair together with a clothespin before putting them in the washing machine. This way, they’ll stay paired throughout the washing process and they’ll be easier to put away afterward.[8]
    Wash Socks Step 5.jpg
  6. Wash the socks on gentle with cold water and mild soap. Put a load of dirty socks in the washing machine. Set the machine to gentle, press start, and pour in a mild laundry detergent to prevent fading, stretching, and other types of wear and tear.[9]
    Wash Socks Step 6.jpg
  7. Turn the socks right side out. Take the socks out of the washing machine. Feed the sock back through itself and gently pull it straight so that it’s right side in. Do this carefully to avoid stretching out the fabric.[10]
    Wash Socks Step 7.jpg

EditHand-Washing Socks

  1. Sort your socks. Divide your socks into two piles; one of colored socks and one of white socks. Wash each one separately so that the colors don’t bleed into the white socks. This will also help to keep the colored socks from fading.[11]
    Wash Socks Step 8.jpg
    • If you’re washing both athletic socks and dress socks, you may want to separate them as well in order to prevent damage.
  2. Remove any stains with removers or home remedies. Purchase a stain remover and follow the directions on the bottle, whether you’re instructed soak the sock or apply the remover to the stain directly. You can also try to remove stains by using different home remedies. For example, try applying hot vinegar to grass stains.[12]
    Wash Socks Step 9.jpg
  3. Fill a sink with cold, soapy water. Plug the drain of a sink and start filling the sink with cold water from the faucet. Warm water may cause bleeding and/or shrinking.[13] As the water is filling up, pour some mild laundry detergent into the sink. If you don’t have detergent, squirt in some dish washing liquid.[14]
    Wash Socks Step 10.jpg
    • Use a bathtub instead of a sink if you have a large load of socks to wash.
  4. Flip the socks inside out. The inside of the sock is the part that needs to be cleaned most thoroughly. Keeping the socks inside out while hand washing them will help to eliminate as much odor-causing bacteria as possible.[15]
    Wash Socks Step 11.jpg
  5. Swish the socks around in the water. Swirl the socks through the water with your hands to loosen the dirt and ensure a more thorough clean. Avoid scrubbing and/or twisting the fabric, as this can cause stretching and damage.[16]
    Wash Socks Step 12.jpg
  6. Soak the socks for 5 minutes. Leave the socks alone for at least 5 minutes so that they can soak in the soapy water. If the socks are especially dirty, drain the water, fill the sink up again with soapy water, and keep the socks submerged for 10-30 minutes.[17]
    Wash Socks Step 13.jpg
  7. Rinse the socks out. Pull the drain let and the dirty water go down. Then turn the faucet back on cold and rinse out all of the soap by holding the socks underneath.[18]
    Wash Socks Step 14.jpg
  8. Flip the socks right side out. Flip the fabric back to the way it was initially once the sock is clean. Be careful not to stretch out the sock when you do this.[19]
    Wash Socks Step 15.jpg

EditDrying Socks and Putting Them Away

  1. Roll the socks in a towel and press the water out. Lay your socks out flat on a towel, roll the towel up tightly, and press the water out by pushing down on it. Do this before hanging the socks up to quicken the drying process.[20]
    Wash Socks Step 16.jpg
    • Don’t wring the socks out, as this may stretch and damage the fabric.
  2. Hang the socks out to dry. The best way to dry your socks is by hanging them on a clothes rack or out on a clothes line. Drying them in the dryer may ruin the elasticity in them and/or weaken the fibers of the fabric.[21]
    Wash Socks Step 17.jpg
  3. Dry them on gentle if you’re in a hurry. If you can’t wait for your socks to air dry, put them in the dryer on gentle so that they aren’t as susceptible to becoming damaged. This setting is intended for delicate clothing items, such as lingerie and workout clothes, so it should be the least harsh on your socks.[22]
    Wash Socks Step 18.jpg
  4. Fold the pairs together and put them away. Fold or roll each pair of your socks together so that none become lost or separated. Keep the pairs organized by putting and keeping them in a drawer designated for socks only.[23]
    Wash Socks Step 19.jpg

EditSources and Citations

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