Ways To Bring Dingy Socks Back To Their Former Bright Life

It's a tale as old as time: Your white socks have faced months of dust and debris, and as a result, are no longer white. When it comes to maintaining the delicate fabric of socks, the possibilities and subsequent problems are endless, whether you're trying to find pairs for your lost socks or experimenting with bringing your socks back to life. In a perfect world, our socks are ivory white and easily washable, but the reality may not align with a perfect world. If that sounds like you, worry not — there are ways to bring dingy socks back to life.

Our used socks often carry a combination of our sweat, soil, and dead skin cells. Gross, right? We attempt to clean out these socks with materials like bleach, detergent, and hard water, while ultimately achieving a dirty result. We've been conditioned to believe that laundry machines can do the work for all of our clothing items, but that isn't always true. Lucky for you, we've rounded up a number of ways to effectively wash your socks and achieve pairs that appear as good as new.

Pre-wash treatment

To get started, experts recommend unfolding socks completely before preparing them for washing. Oftentimes, our socks fold after we remove them from our feet, leaving them crinkled before they get a chance to be cleaned. If you're someone who doesn't separate their whites from their blacks, your socks may require their own load, since dirt and debris don't mix well with other clothing items. Set the machine on normal wash, switch to hot water, and whip out the detergent and baking soda. If you prefer to hand wash socks, fill a small tub with warm water and hydrogen peroxide, excluding laundry detergent from the mix, and let them soak for up to an hour prior to washing.

One TikToker explained that The Pink Stuff's Non Bio Laundry Liquid ($10) is great for removing stains as a pre-wash treatment before throwing them in the laundry. Once your desired socks are placed in the washing machine, begin pouring TikTok's favorite cleaner into the washing machine and adding a cup of warm water. Add ¼ cup of baking soda to the conglomerate with water and detergent, which will break down any soil that leads to hardened socks and clothing. Nearing the end of the final cycle, open the machine and place ½ cup of white vinegar into the mix to ensure soil and other hard residues are removed. For hand washers, throw in white vinegar near the end of the wash.

Tumble dry with one dryer sheet

Once the washing machine cycle is done, it's time to dry the socks. While some people prefer air drying for its heatless nature and quality maintenance, tumble-drying socks adds a degree of fast and efficient heat that can't be achieved through air drying. Additionally, placing a single dryer sheet with a load of socks will create the right level of softness without over-drying any materials. For delicate fabrics, avoid placing more than one dryer sheet into the load before drying them on high heat.

For those who prefer hand washing clothes in a small tub, you may dry off these items in a dryer cycle or through air drying. It's important to note that air drying does not achieve the same softness that dryer cycles do, although experts say air drying is easier on clothing and leads to long-lasting, quality materials. If you prefer air drying but want your socks to smell fresh and clean, follow up the air drying with a short dryer cycle to polish off the final result, and voilà! Your socks are fresh, clean, and ready to be worn.