What do you do with old socks that have seen better days? Or what about when one of a favorite pair has gone missing? If your tendency is to toss away your old or mismatched socks, you are missing out on a recycling opportunity.
That’s right. You can repurpose socks in many ways for use in and around your home. Here are 40 surprising uses for old socks. I organized the list with two categories: survival hacks and household uses.
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Survival Hacks for Socks
Clean, dry socks are essential to survival in the wilderness. However, you can use a spare sock in many other ways.
Makeshift Water Filter — Pour water through a clean sock to help filter out large particles and sediment. You can also use a sock to help strain water out of leaves, mud, or wet clay.
Weapon — If you fill a sock with stones, you can wield it as a small nunchucks type of weapon to hunt small game.
Gun Cleaning Cloth — An old sock works well as a soft cloth to clean your weapon.
Bandage — Socks are soft and absorbent and work well as bandages for cuts on the arms and legs.
Emergency Tourniquet — You can use a sock as a make-shift tourniquet when you don’t have other supplies.
Makeshift Crampon — A wool sock pulled over your shoe or boot can offer traction in icy conditions.
Ice Pack — You can fill an old sock with ice to help reduce swelling. Slipping an old sock over an existing ice pack can protect skin from the cold temperature as well.
Backpack Organizer — Place small easy-to-lose items inside a sock and gently knot the opening to keep things safe and secure in your backpack. Socks also serve as a way to protect fragile items that could break when they have jostled around in your pack.
Handwarmers — Place socks on your hands under your mittens for an extra layer of warmth.
Leg Warmers — Cut off the foot portion of old socks to create comfortable leg warmers.
Household Uses for Old Socks
Draft Stopper — You can make draft protectors for window ledges and doorways with old tube socks filled with beans, rice, popcorn kernels, or even dryer lint.
Windshield Wiper Protection — Cover your windshield wipers with old socks to keep them free of ice. Simply remove the socks when you are ready to drive.
Knee Pads — Use old socks for knee protection when you are gardening or doing household chores that require you to kneel for long periods. They also can help protect a crawling baby’s knees.
Car Window Defogger — Did you know you can keep your car windows from fogging up by placing a sock filled with cat litter near your windshield? Here’s how.
Bean Bags — Kids love bean bag toss games. Make unique bean bags out of old socks filled with dry beans. Here’s an easy no-sew version.
Golf Club Covers – Cover the heads of golf clubs with old socks to keep them from getting scratched or dinged when they are in the trunk or stored in the garage.
Ball Storage — Place golf balls, table tennis balls, and tennis balls in old socks to help corral them in your garage or trunk.
Shoe Deodorizer — Keep shoes smelling fresh by placing two or three tablespoons of baking soda inside the toe area of an old sock. Tie off the sock with a knot and then push it into the toe of “stinky” shoes. Leave the sock there overnight to absorb any odor.
Jewelry Protection — If you are packing for a move, place small valuables inside old socks to keep them protected from breakage or loss.
Shoe Storage — Encasing your shoes in old socks will help them from getting scratched and scuffed in your closet.
Dust Rag — Place an old sock over your hand to trap dust and lint while you are cleaning your home. They also work well as reusable Swiffer covers.
Glasses Holder — Place eyeglasses, reading glasses, sunglasses, or safety goggles inside an old sock to protect the lenses from scratches and breakage.
Heating Pad — Fill an old sock made of natural fibers with rice and knot it closed. Then heat it in the microwave for one to two minutes and use it as a soothing heating pad.
Dry Erase Board Cleaner — An old sock works great to clean marker off a dry erase board. Try it on chalkboards as well.
Sock Puppet — These classic toys are fun to make and enjoy. Here’s a pattern for the traditional monkey sock puppet. Sock snowmen are also an enjoyable project for children. You can get as creative or as traditional as you like.
Game Piece Organization — Use old socks to hold Yahtzee dice, Monopoly hotels, and other game playing pieces that are easy to lose.
Hand and Foot Moisturizer — Apply lotion to dry, chapped skin and then cover with clean old socks overnight. The sock covering allows your skin to absorb the lotion better.
Dog Toy — Dogs love old socks. Use old tube socks for tug-of-war games. Or place a tennis ball or chew toy inside a sock and tie the sock for extra fun for your pet.
Cat Toy — Fill an old sock with polyfill and a small amount of catnip for an inexpensive toy that will keep your cat entertained for hours.
Paint Protection — Slip old socks over your shoes or over your good socks if you’re not wearing shoes to protect them from paint splashes and drips when you are doing a painting project. Old socks also work well to wipe away errant paint drips.
Wrinkle Remover — If you’ve left your clothes too long in the dryer, here’s an easy way to get rid of wrinkles that may have occurred. Just toss a damp old sock in the dryer and run the load again for a few minutes. Your clothes should be free of wrinkles.
Shoe Cloth — Place an old sock over your hand to clean, polish, and buff shoes.
Furniture Refinishing — Use an old sock to apply furniture stain when doing refinishing projects.
Window Blind Cleaner — Place a sock over your hand to dust and clean in between the slats of blinds.
Moving Protection for Floors – Protect your hardwood floors from scrapes and scratches by putting an old sock on furniture legs when you are moving heavy chairs and tables around.
Potholder — You can make colorful and useful potholders by using strips of old socks. Here’s how:
So, are our dryers and washers the culprits? Do they actually “eat” our socks? The answer is: maybe.
When a front-load washing machine is spinning at high speeds, it is possible for socks to slip through a small hole or slit in the gasket and get trapped in the space below the metal washing basket.
This problem is more likely to occur in high-usage machines, such as commercial washers, according to James Darmstadt, a quality engineer at GE Appliances, in an interview with today.com. In a top-load washer, socks can get stuck between the washing basket and the outer wall of the machine.
Darmstadt recommends that homeowners regularly clean their machines and check for slits, tears, or holes. He also mentions that overloading a machine can contribute to the problem of lost socks.
What are some other possibilities for missing socks? Many newer washing machines have a filter or basket that is part of the drain pump assembly. This assembly is designed to prevent pet hair and small items such as coins and earrings from going into the drain pump.
Socks sometimes can find their way there too. Check your manual for how to clean this filter or basket, and here’s a how-to video for front-load washers.
Here are a few other ideas for finding lost socks:
- Look under, beside, and behind your washer and dryer for socks that might have fallen there during loading or unloading.
- Examine your machine exhaust pipe.
- Check for socks that may be static clinging to other items in a recently dried load.
- Sometimes all socks don’t make it to the laundry room. Check hampers, laundry baskets, and closet floors for wayward socks.
- Keep a basket or a bulletin board in your laundry room to store socks that are missing a mate. That way, if the other one turns up, you can match the pair easily.
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