Missing Socks In Your Laundry: 3 Ways To Prevent Losing Them

Missing socks are the bane of almost anyone who does laundry regularly.


Where do these little pieces of cloth go? It is amazing actually, a mystery for the ages!

But there are some tried and true methods to prevent losing socks, and keeping them together both after you or the kids take them off, and while they're being washed.

These methods may be a little more effort up front, but trust me, no more effort than digging through the lost sock basket every morning hoping you'll be able to find a pair to wear!

Method 1: Use A Sock Bag To Collect, Wash & Dry All Socks

missing sock solution: lingerie bag


This method is actually my favorite, and thus why I've made it number one.

A sock bag allows you to keep the socks your family already owns, and is easy for even small children to follow through on, with a bit of training.

The idea is very simple. Use a bag to collect each person's dirty socks separately from the rest of the laundry. Most commonly people use a zippered lingerie bag, but you could also use an old pillow case that you tie up.

Each person in the family has their own bag (actually two), and you hang the one in use on the bedroom door to collect the socks after they're worn.

Then, when you're ready to do wash all you have to do is hang the second bag up on the closet door to begin the process of collection over again while you throw the full and closed bag into the washer, with all the socks in it.

The bag not only contains the socks while they're dirty, but keeps them contained in both the washer and the dryer as well. Just pull out the bag at the end of the whole laundry cycle and boom, you've got clean socks, all without a missing pair.

Just keep rotating bags and rinse and repeat as you do your family's laundry (or each family member does their own).

A reader, Laura (who provided the photo above) explained, "Just saw your post regarding missing socks. This is how I solved this problem in my home. Everyone has their own mesh lingerie bag. When they dirty their socks they put them in the bag. Once it's full they toss them in laundry hamper. I wash them in the bag and dry them and return them. Everyone is responsible for taking the clean socks out and putting in their drawers. No more matching or missing socks! You can use fabric paint or dye to mark the individual bags. Problem solved!"

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Method 2: Pin Or Clip Your Socks Together Before Washing

The second method for preventing missing socks is to pin or clip each pair of socks together before washing.

While many people swear by this method I don't actually like this method quite as much.

It works really well, actually, so that's why I'm throwing it out there. I just think it takes a lot more effort than the sock bag method mentioned above, and I like to keep my laundry routine as simple as possible, personally.

However, if this is a method you'd like to try, here's how a couple of different readers explained it:

Rachelle says, "I have my family pin their socks together before putting in dirty laundry hamper."

Michelle says: "Use a safety pin to keep the pairs together, works great for the hubby's socks too."

Finally, one reader, Sarah, even sent in a photo showing how she did it, explaining, "I use baby diaper pins. No need to find either."

pinning socks together so they don't get lost or separated in the wash


Some people have argued that pinning the socks, such as with a safety pin, can cause excessive wear and tear on the socks, or cause holes in them.

If you're worried about that they have similar products, called either "sock locks" or "sock clips" which basically do the same thing.

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Photo courtesy of Sanath's

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Method 3: Use Only One Type Of Sock Per Person So They All Match Each Other!

If you have no desire to try to keep your socks mated once they are dirty and while they go both through the washer and the dryer, or your children scatter socks throughout the house seemingly on a whim, the methods above may feel like too much work for you.

However, if missing socks are driving you mad you have another third solution.

This solution means you've got to get rid of all those socks that only have one particular mate though, and you can't have quite the variety that your family or you may enjoy.

But . . . it one hundred percent works, and can make your laundry life much sweeter.

This method is to have each person in your family only wear one type of sock most of the time, with perhaps just an exception or two such as for dress clothes. Then, when pairing socks when folding laundry you don't have to hunt for one particular lone sock. Instead, all the socks match each other, so it's easy to find two that go together.

Here's how this works in real life, as explained by a reader, Staci: "We had this problem until a few years back. I threw them all away and started new. All white socks with colored toes/heel.

We have 3 kids, 2 girls and a boy. Me and the girls all wear the same size since socks fit a range of sizes, ours have pink toes. And the boy's are gray and of course daddy has his own. It has really helped because they all match.

It was really really hard to throw all the old socks away but it's definitely been worth it."

Here's another example of this method in action, from a reader, Lynette who explained, "I had 6 kids. Only bought white socks, so each sock had many potential partners. Had one sock basket that all took from, not separate socks for each kid. There were some "special" socks-- but not many!"

Conclusion:

declutter lost socks and make a sock basket
So there you have it. Three ways to prevent missing socks from driving you crazy anymore.

How do you deal with this problem in your home? Tell me below in the comments.

I know I haven't even dipped my toe in the water of sock baskets, and trying to re-mate up lost socks after they've come out of the dryer and you can only find one. That's because the methods above are meant to prevent you from having to deal with this problem.

However, if you've already got a bunch of unmatched socks sitting around in a bag or basket, check out my article on managing your sock basket over on Home Storage Solutions 101 (a sister site) to get ideas for that related issue as well.

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Laundry Tips & Tricks For Busy Moms

4 Questions To Ask When You Sort Laundry

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Comments for Method 3: Use Only One Type Of Sock Per Person So They All Match Each Other!

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another solution: wear mismatched socks!
by: Mary

All the kids in our area are wearing mismatched socks now days.

clamshell socks after take off
by: Shannon

I have my kids clamshell their socks when they take them off, this way they at least make it to the washer as a pair.

puffy paint on inside band to differentiate different sock sizes
by: Angie

I have 8 kids and we use sock bags. You can buy them in the laundry section, and I color code the inside band of their socks with puffy paint.

all white Hanes here
by: Heather

8 here too, and we don't do personal socks. All white Hanes, all in one basket. The different sizes come with different colored heels. When someone needs a pair, they go to the basket and pull two out with their heel color.

one kind of socks per kid
by: Mary

I have 3 boys. I buy each about 18-20 pairs (2-3 packs) of one kind of sock. Oldest has tall white socks, middle has black crew, youngest has black ankle. Each one has ONE kind. No matching needed. And they know whose socks are whose. When they're down to 6-8 pairs, I re-buy.

lingerie bag is helping us find previously missing socks, slowly but surely
by: Kristie

We just started this about 3 weeks ago and I am amazed at how quickly our socks are getting rematched and found with 5 of us. Get everyone in your house a mesh laundry bag (the ones for delicates and bras, we started with 1 for everyone), have them put socks in the bag when they are done wearing them so they can be washed. When you go to do laundry put the bag in washer or empty the bag into washer. Then put in dryer (we line dry, and I empty my bag into washer). We are having fewer and fewer mismatched socks and I honestly think what few mismatched we have are ones we are finding along the way.

both girls have the same kind
by: Jeanette

I have two daughters, 2 years apart. I just buy the same socks for both of them. Wash all the whites and match them up then divide what socks are their so that it's even. They do have some socks with color but they are very distinct and I just put them in a pile and tell them to find their own.

what to do with mismatched socks
by: Diana G

I take all the mismatched socks and put them in a basket, sized to your pet. They love it for a bed. All pets like to scratch up and move around their bedding to make it fit just for them. They love it. It's like a little nest. It's also entertaining to watch them do this.

Using An Old Pillow Case For Socks Works Most of The Time
by: Sandi

If you use this method of laundering socks it works well as long as none of them have any serious stains, like grass and mud. So if you have members of the family that get into lots of things you need to check before throwing the sack into the washer, otherwise you will end up with stains being set, especially if you transfer the sack from the washer to the dryer. My experience with severely stained socks dictates presoaking otherwise there is no chance they will come clean.

I must admit that at least having all of an individual's socks in one place before I start the wash is still helpful even if I have to check for stains. It sure beats finding them scattered around the bedroom, closet, etc.!

Socks clips
by: Stephanie Rigsby

Sock clips all the way, baby. I can't get anyone else in my family to use them, but I ADORE them.

buy identical pairs
by: Anonymous

Speaking of socks, when I buy them I always buy 2 identical pairs. Saves money in the long run.

Pinning socks together
by: Anonymous

Not the best idea--the pin is steel, so it gets rusty. The mesh bag is an ideal solution to the "hozone" problem (the "hozone" is where all those missing socks go form the laundry :-), just in case you wondered).

Easier than pinning....
by: Deb B

I use a version of this method but make it a little easier. I tie my socks together when I take them off and just toss down the laundry chute. When they are washed and dried, they are brought up no matching required! They can just be put in the sock drawer "as is" ready to wear again.

I use safety pins
by: Patty

I use a safety pin to keep them together and so I can tell which ones are mine and the ones that are my husband's.

Pinning socks
by: Shar

I bought diaper pins that had sport symbols on them. The 3 guys were all given one sport symbol for all their socks to be pinned when they took them off! It worked, as long as they followed through. First son, his socks looked like dad's short socks. Second son, his socks looked like short socks for his big brother. Our youngest sometimes would have to ask for help, but it still kept all the socks easy to separate and head to appropriate room after laundry. I loved those pins!!

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