How to Solve the Mystery of the Missing Sock

This story is part of Try This, CNET’s collection of simple tips to improve your life, fast.

It looks as if it occurs each time we do laundry. We go to put away all of the socks, solely to discover a number of stragglers with no match in sight. What occurred to the lacking socks? Did they by no means make it to the washer? Were they kidnapped by the sock monster? Are they misplaced for good? 

There are innumerable potential culprits and hazard zones. Children, pets and messy roommates (ahem, companions) improve the danger of single sock desertions, as does being in a rush or touring longer distances to the machines. Even failing to take a pair further seconds to go searching when doing laundry can show catastrophic to sock matrimony. 

To study sock-saving ideas, I spoke with mates and colleagues to learn how socks get separated from their mates and to study methods that forestall sock loss. Most of these strategies require only a few minor tweaks to the common laundry course of. While no single tactic is foolproof, one of them will most definitely give you the results you want when you’ve got a decided mindset. 

For extra ideas, this is how to wash your car without water, fall asleep with a simple five-minute task and keep mold from growing in your washer.

Where do all the single socks go? 

First, let’s run via a listing of the place we might have misplaced particular person socks. 

  • They’re caught inside garments and footwear: Socks get stuffed in footwear and stranded inside pant legs, particularly tighter-fitting clothes like leggings. 
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  • They’re scattered in or round the mattress: Single socks steadily find yourself smooshed in sheets or blankets or beneath the mattress amassing mud bunnies, particularly if you happen to shed your foot heaters in the center of the evening. 
  • They missed the hamper: Socks love to conceal subsequent to the hamper, behind it or deep at the backside the place you may’t see. 
  • They acquired misplaced throughout the journey to or from the laundry room: Lone socks soar ship throughout the first switch level on laundry day. Even in the event that they make it into the laundry basket, they will fall out alongside the approach. If you wash your garments at a public laundromat, there are much more escape routes like elevators, sidewalks, automobiles. 
  • They’re stranded in or round the washer or dryer: Socks abandon their matches throughout the laundry course of itself — generally mendacity helplessly on the ground subsequent to the machines. Often, they’re fastened to the washer tub or caught in the dryer drum. 
  • They’re trapped inside different clear laundry: The largest perpetrator right here is fitted sheets. 
  • They grew to become your pet’s toy: Some canines simply actually love chewing on socks, even when there are a lot of plastic bones and squeak toys round. 

And these aren’t all the locations to look. Single socks find yourself inside gymnasium baggage and underneath couches and radiators. Got children? Also look in toy bins, backpacks and virtually wherever they play open air. 

an array of flying white socks against a blue background

You may all the time simply get 20 pairs of the similar color and style.


James Martin/CNET

How to keep away from shedding only one sock

To guard towards shedding particular person socks, listed below are six methods.

Strategy 1: Keep the sock pairs collectively 

The aim right here is to make sure that soiled pairs all the time go into the hamper collectively. Never toss in only one sock — that is a recipe for failure. 

You can safe matching socks with a security pin or clip, or by rolling them up, earlier than throwing them in the soiled garments bin. This methodology is efficient however probably time-consuming if you happen to want to unroll or unfasten the matches earlier than they go in the washer and the dryer.

You may additionally observe my dad’s approach, which has prevented him from shedding single socks since at the very least the Nineteen Eighties. He makes use of “sock locks,” plastic-ring doodads which can be machine-safe and maintain socks paired in the washer and the dryer. After my dad removes his soiled socks, he slides the pair via the plastic ring and throws them in the hamper. The “sock lock” stays on all through the whole laundry cycle, and the clear pair finally ends up again in his drawer — all with out sorting or separating. 

Strategy 2: Separate the socks from different laundry

Single socks get snarled in clothes and bedding earlier than, throughout or after the laundry course of. One approach to keep away from that is to all the time maintain your socks separate from different objects. Some individuals maintain a second hamper or laundry bag only for socks. 

Here’s what I do: Along with the socks, I separate out smaller objects akin to underwear and washable undergarments proper earlier than throwing them in the wash, and I make sure that all of them keep collectively in the dryer, too. Doing an unbiased load with solely these smaller objects can forestall socks from getting trapped in bigger issues akin to fitted sheets and pillowcases. 

Strategy 3: Keep the socks separate and in a mesh bag

With this methodology, wash and dry socks in a laundry internet or mesh bag (usually used for lingerie or objects that get simply snarled). If you are somebody who already separates lights from darks earlier than you wash, separating your socks and undergarments must be comparatively painless. 

Strategy 4: Maintain a sock orphanage

Every time you discover a single sock, put it apart in a bag, field or separate drawer. That approach if its accomplice seems in the subsequent load of laundry, they are often reunited. It might take months for socks to reconcile, so test periodically. Some long-term loners might need a happier life transitioning right into a mud rag, shoe buffer or hand puppet (for CNET’s Scott Stein, it is a journey case for a handheld gaming console). 

Strategy 5: Buy a number of pairs of the similar color and style of socks

If you’ve got resigned to the proven fact that socks will get misplaced, purchase ones which can be comparable or similar in order that singles all the time have a match. The draw back is that your toes can be just a bit much less fascinating if all of your socks are alike. 

Strategy 6: Embrace the chaos of mismatched socks

If misplaced socks are inevitable in your family it doesn’t matter what you do, go rogue. First, begin pairing up socks which can be a tad comparable. Then belief the boldness of clashing. Pretty quickly you will study to settle for that some socks had been simply by no means lower out for monogamy in the first place. 

For extra ideas, this is how to cut a cake without a knife, put an end to junk mail and start a fire with Doritos.

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