Lost socks: the unsolved laundry mystery

    14 Sep 2015

    One of the most annoying things in life has got to be losing things - in particular, one sock from a perfectly matched pair. At Earthwise, we know all too well the frustration of folding a pile of washing only to find a bunch of mismatched socks at the bottom of the basket.

    Where on earth do they go? And why is it only ever one of each pair? If you share our pain, don’t worry, you are not alone. In a recent Facebook competition, we called out for fans to tell us of their ‘lost sock’ struggles and received over 300 heart-rending accounts of lost socks, sneaky ninja hiding socks and the frantic morning sock hunt before school.

    So, we thought we’d laugh away the frustration together by sharing a few of the creative and clever explanations that our sock-stressed fans have come up. There are also some great sock saving and tracking tips to help you avoid buying too many new pairs!

    So, where do they go and who’s the culprit?

    • The ‘sock-monster’. This is the washing machine version of the cookie monster. Just as the cookie monster craves cookies, the sock-monster longs for socks. Check in the depths of the washing machine for hapless socks stuck inside the machine or the dryer, just waiting for the sock-monster to strike. Be sure to look behind, around and under for his hidden stores!
    • Family pets. Some dogs and cats, particularly younger ones, are known to love chewing and playing with socks. The washing pile or basket – if left within easy reach - is often feline/canine toy hamper offering endless fun-filled hours!
    • They never made it. This is a valid point – often socks are hijacked, discarded or hidden before they reach the dirty wash pile. This is a common phenomenon, particularly in houses that also contain children. As parents, we should all know that it is way easier to stuff your dirty socks under your bed, in your wardrobe or simply leave them in the toes of your shoes than transport them, together, to the correct spot for washing. This has been the root cause of the temporary or permanent separation of many devoted sock couples for decades. They can then spend months out of step with one another; one dirty, one clean. Some separated socks even shack up with other same-colour, slightly-different-size singletons and never make it back to their perfect mate.
    • ‘Socktopia’ or sock heaven. There is no scientific evidence that this paradise exists, but when you do eventually find that lost sock, wouldn’t it be nice to think perhaps that’s where it’s been?

    Funnily enough, one of the most frequent comments we heard, despite the nuisance factor, is that there are far more important things in life to worry about than lost socks! However Earthwise fans have come up with some great tips to save time and energy – and help us solve this daily mystery;

    • Out of sight, out of mind. Make sure the laundry basket is out of the reach of young children and pets so they can’t sneak a sock out when you’re not looking.
    • Start a ‘lost and found’ for socks. Have a special sock bag, box or even a pin board to give lost socks a temporary home. Once there’s a few in there, it’s easier to match them up.
    • Pre-wash preparation. Go on a hunt to make sure that all socks start the laundry journey in pairs. The only risk you run here is completely losing your marbles when you still find an odd sock coming out the other end!
    • Clip socks together. Use clips, studs, safety pins or rubber bands to tie pairs together – hopefully they’ll come out as one!
    • Wash them together. As a desperate measure, run a separate wash for socks. Or throw them in the main wash inside a wash bag or a pillow case tied at the top.
    • Get colour coordinated. Buy the same colour socks for everyone in the family – at least you are sure to end up with a few pairs.
    • Keep them paired. When you take them out of the wash, pair them up and hang them on the line together. Make sure to pair them in your drawers too.
    • Label them. If your kids are prone to losing socks at school, write their name on their socks with a vivid - they’ll be sure to come back to you safely tucked in their school bag. Either that or they’ll be too embarrassed to take them off in the first place!
    • Wear odd socks. If all else fails, throw caution to the winds. The world has bigger problems than mismatched socks!

    If you just can’t bear the same old single socks hanging around at the bottom of the laundry hamper any longer, don’t throw them out. Make a sock puppet or snake or even a sock scarf for the winter, we hear they’re all the rage these days… 

    The Earthwise team - keeping your socks clean for over fifty years