Clever Laundry Tips You Need To Stop Losing Socks In The Wash

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Missing socks when doing laundry is such a common problem among everyday households that Samsung actually created a washing machine to help reduce the losses. The brand's AddWash feature allows you to drop socks and other small items into the machine using a specially designed second door. This reduces the chance of the socks not making it into the machine or ending up inside the drum. Samsung did a study back in 2016 that revealed lost socks cost over $3,100 per person during the course of their lives. Fortunately, there are several laundry tips you can implement to keep your socks from going missing, saving you big money over time.

There are many reasons socks can go missing from the wash, including improperly loading the machine, static cling, and even issues with the washer itself. To solve the dreaded missing sock problem for good, you may need to combine several of the clever laundry tips listed below. After fixing any machine issues and using more caution when loading and unloading laundry, you can utilize one of the various methods designed to keep socks together during both the washing and drying cycles. If you have orphans that you simply can't find a match for, even after implementing all of the tips below, there are various ways you can repurpose stray socks around the home and garden.

Keep socks together with a safety pin

Socks are small and easy to lose on their own. Pinning socks together before tossing them in the wash will ensure they don't get separated during the cleaning process, thus decreasing the chances that they will go missing. Since most homes have a few safety pins on hand, this tip won't cost you a penny. If you don't mind spending a few dollars, you can also invest in a SockDock. A SockDock is a specially designed tool that keeps socks from getting lost in the washer and dryer. It also has a hook on the end that allows you to hang the socks in a closet for easy access.

For the safety pin method, grab your soiled pair of socks and slide the sharp end of a safety pin through one side of the open end of the first sock. Next, slide the pin through the open end of the second sock, so that both socks are now attached to the pin. Close the pin and wash the socks as you normally would. Another option is to use a binder clip, should a safety pin not be available. To use the SockDock, simply slide the pair of socks between the two cords and tighten the button at each end.

Use a board to help find lost socks

When you pull one stray sock out of the dryer and set it aside, you may end up forgetting where you put it. A dedicated spot for lonely socks is an excellent way to avoid this. Socks without a match can be hung on a magnetic board, making it easy to keep an eye out for their missing counterpart. Don't have a magnetic board? There are two additional options that work just as well. You can set up a lost-and-found basket or create a frame that has two to four strands of twine strung across it. Stray socks can be tossed in the basket or hung from the twine.

To help you find pairs for your lost socks with the magnet board method, install one on a wall near your dryer. Command hooks can be used in place of screws, as they won't cause any damage to your wall. Use a whiteboard marker to label the board "Lost Socks." Attach socks without a match to the board using magnetic clips. When you find the missing sock, you can remove its partner from the board and return the pair to its designated drawer. If you opt for a lost-and-found basket, simply place the basket on a shelf near the dryer. If you'd rather hang socks from twine, replace the magnetic board with a wooden frame. Cut several strips of twine to reach across the frame and secure them with metal screws, then hang the unpaired socks from the twine using clothespins.

Create a pool noodle sock stopper

During the washing and drying process, you'll most likely be handling a large pile of clothes, especially if you have a big family. It's easy not to spot a small sock slipping behind or off the side of a washer or dryer as you load and unload your laundry. To prevent socks from sliding down and under your machines, you'll need to create a way to collect stray socks. One clever hack that works to ensure you never lose a sock under a laundry machine is using a pool noodle as a sock stopper. 

Grab one pool noodle for each side of your washer and dryer, and another for the back of each of the machines. Should your washer and dryer butt up against each other, you may need just one foam noodle to press down in between them. Attach the pool noodles using either double-sided tape or a strip of adhesive Velcro. When you set the foam noodles in place, curve them upward a bit, as if you were creating a smiley face. This design works perfectly to catch any socks that may slide off the washer or dryer.

Replace broken or missing seals

In some cases, socks disappear because the dryer's seal is no longer working properly. They can get lost between the drum and the wall of the dryer when the seal is broken or missing, as the socks will be able to slide down through the opening. Thankfully, replacing a dryer seal is easy and budget-friendly, so you don't have to waste time or money calling on a repairman. Once the seal has been fixed, there's no more gap and no more need to worry about clothes getting stuck in the dryer.

To replace the seal, you'll first need to unplug the dryer and remove the door by unscrewing the hinges. Release the screws on the door seal frame, and then remove the old seal with a putty knife or a screwdriver. Install the new seal, beginning at the bottom (there should be a join in the seal at this point) and working your way toward the top. Once the seal is in place, reattach the screws on the frame. Reinstall the door by replacing the screws over the hinges. Plug the dryer back in, and you're good to go!

Wash socks inside a mesh laundry bag

Another clever laundry tip you can implement that will keep your socks from sliding over the edge of the machine or getting lost inside the drum is to wash them inside a mesh laundry bag. Mesh laundry bags are typically used to carefully wash delicates; however, they can also be used to contain socks. The bags come in a variety of sizes. You can purchase a small single bag for as little as $3 at Walmart or a full set for just over $10.

To use the mesh laundry bag, simply unzip the opening, toss in the socks that need washing, and then zip the bag shut. Place the bag inside the washing machine before any other clothes, and launder as you normally would. The socks can stay in the mesh bag for the dryer cycle as well. Tip: If you don't have a laundry bag, you can use a pillowcase. To keep the socks inside the pillowcase, you may wish to tie a knot at the open end.

Place one sock inside of the other

If you're not interested in purchasing a mesh bag, there's a simple hack that you can use instead that is completely free. Take your first sock, bundle it up, and tuck it inside the second sock. By rolling up one sock and inserting it inside the other, you keep the pair together during the washing and drying process. This decreases the chances of the socks fitting in between the side of the washer and the drum. Of course, the rolled portion of the socks may need some extra drying time, so be aware of this when selecting drying settings. 

In addition to placing one rolled-up sock inside another, you can also take both socks, pair them together, and then simply turn the top half of one sock over the top of the other sock. This is a great way to store the socks after they've been laundered as well, as it keeps pairs neat and organized in a sock drawer. You can also combine this tip with the safety pin hack to further protect your socks from becoming unpaired. 

Reduce static cling with aluminum foil

Static cling allows socks to adhere to the other pieces of clothing in your dryer. You may not notice that your missing sock is inside your favorite sweater until the next time you go to wear that item. To prevent socks from disappearing due to static charge, all you need to do is create a few aluminum foil balls and toss them in the dryer along with your socks and other items. Wondering what happens when you put aluminum foil in the dryer? The theory is that the metal absorbs some of the static electricity, keeping it from plaguing your clothing while being able to withstand the high heat.

To start, take three 12-inch sheets of aluminum foil and crumple them up into a ball. Repeat until you have three balls. Roll each of the aluminum foil balls over a table or countertop to help press down any sharp points. Sharp edges can snag on certain clothing items, so you need to make sure your balls are as even and smooth as possible. Toss the balls in the dryer when you're ready to dry your socks. The aluminum foil balls will last a long time, so you can keep reusing them until they begin to look flat and worn.

Although foil balls are a very wallet-friendly hack, they might not yield quite the same anti-static action as dryer sheets. Want to be frugal and avoid static in your laundry? One easy tip to save money on dryer sheets is to simply cut them in half.

Properly install your lint trap

The seal isn't the only part of a dryer you need to inspect when it comes to solving the mystery of missing socks. A lint trap can also be the culprit. If your lint trap isn't pushed in all the way or if it is plagued with holes, it can trap a sock during the drying cycle. Fixing these holes and ensuring the trap is installed correctly is the best way to keep the socks in the dryer drum where they belong.

Before tossing your wash in the dryer, remove the lint trap. After tossing any lint, inspect the screen. For minor holes, you can superglue a mesh patch over the area. Larger holes will require the entire lint screen to be replaced. When setting the lint trap back in its compartment, make sure it goes all the way in and has a snug fit before you turn the dryer on to finish laundering your socks.

Avoid overloading the washer

When too much laundry is placed in a washing machine, smaller items, such as socks, can be propelled over the drum. The items then get stuck between the drum and the wall, where you can't see them. Overfilling a front loader can also result in a sock getting caught between the inner and outer drums. To avoid this catastrophe, take care to never overload your machine. Otherwise, you'll need to remove the entire front panel of the washer to retrieve the missing socks.

Check the agitator within your washing machine. Many contain fill lines to guide you when doing your laundry. Another trick to avoid overloading the washing machine with laundry is to use the one-hand rule. You should be able to fit one hand between your clothing and the drum. Additionally, you want to take care when lifting clothes up and out of the drum. Instead of sliding the clothing items along the side, which allows for socks to fall in between the drum and the wall, grab each piece and lift it straight up and out.