How to Wash Socks: 7 Little Known Ways to Clean Your Socks

How often do you do your laundry?
What about socks? 
Do you wash them with your other clothes or separately? 
What kind of cleaning agents do you use to clean your socks?
There are so many factors to consider when washing socks.
It is so much more important than we think since socks can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria when not cleaned properly. 

How Often Should I Wash My Socks?

Our socks get dirty very easily because it soaks up sweat, bacteria and the dead skin from our feet. 
Therefore, the ideal frequency to wash your socks is every day.
For people who do laundry once a week, this can be difficult. 
In this case, collect your dirty socks in a laundry basket or hamper.
When doing so, make sure that your socks are flipped inside out, or that your hamper is full of socks only. 
Doing this will ensure that germs from your socks do not transfer to other clothing. 

Can I Wash My Socks With Other Clothing?

Technically, there is no real issue to wash your socks with other clothing. 
However, because of the accumulation of bacteria in socks, it’s best if they are washed separately. 
If you must wash them together, soak your socks in hot water first.
Put out a bucket of hot water (at approximately 50°C) and put in your socks. 
Soaking your socks in hot water acts as a quick and easy option for sterilization.

Things to Do Before Putting Socks in the Washing Machine

Before washing your dirty socks, there are a few steps you should take before throwing them into the washing machine. 

Remove Sand and Small Stones

Mud stains are caused by small sand trapped between the fibers of the socks.
Sand is basically small stones that don't dissolve in water.
So, washing your sand-filled socks with water is meaningless. 
No matter how much detergent you use, they won’t become clean.
To effectively remove mud stains, it is important to scrape off sand that is stuck directly between the fibers.
In other words, before putting it in the washing machine, you should scrape off sand particles with a bristled brush, like a toothbrush.

Remove Stains

Washing your socks will rid them of bacteria, but may not be able to completely remove stains. 
Therefore, before throwing your socks into the washing machine, make sure there are no severe stains.

Removing Red Wine Stains

Red wine stains are bright and noticeable, especially on a pair of white socks. 
Here is an effective DIY home solution that only needs two components: white vinegar and liquid detergent. 
Cover the stain completely and thoroughly with vinegar and let it soak for a few minutes.
The vinegar acts as a neutralizer and softens the dark pigments from the wine.
Then, add a few drops of liquid detergent. 
The detergent acts as a fabric cleaner. 
Rinse with hot water. 
Repeat the process if stubborn stains persist. 

Removing Ink Stains

Stains caused by ballpoint pens can be a common occurrence for school-aged children.
Cover the ink-stained sock with some kind of product with alcohol content.
Some good options are rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. 
Let the sock soak up the product for up to 10 minutes. 
Then, add a few drops of detergent onto the stained area and rub gently with a bristled brush. 

Removing Grass Stains 

To remove stubborn grass stains on you socks, make a thick paste consisting of one tablespoon of baking powder and a few drops of rubbing alcohol. 
Dab the mixture into the affected area and let sit for 10 minutes. 
In cases of more severe staining, you may want to let the paste sit for longer. 
Scrub with warm water and repeat the process if stains are not completely removed.

Soak in Detergent and Hot Water

Laundry detergents contain penetrating cleaning ingredients that can effectively remove dirt and bacteria. 
Hot water will sterilize your socks before you throw them into the wash with your other clothes. 
Soaking your socks with detergent beforehand will also give them a nice clean smell, so they are ready to be washed with other clothing. 

Removing Smell from Your Socks

Is the stench from your socks making your eyes water? 
The cause of the odour is bacteria. 
In other words, once sterilized, the odour should disappear. 
Soaking your socks in hot water is an effective way to remove bacteria and therefore the accompanying smell. 
As mentioned previously, hot water at around 50℃ is a good temperature for sterilization.

Using a Sock Net

Socks are delicate. 
Depending on its material, piling and lint can arise due to friction with other clothing. 
Also, since they are susceptible to heat and can shrink easily when dried, it is best to keep them in nets when being washed and dried.
We recommend using a sock-only laundry net for socks. 
There are also smaller nets that you can put in pairs of socks, if you also find you have trouble locating pairs or losing your socks in the wash. 

How to Get Rid of Smell

Do your socks still smell even after washing?
If they do, you’ll want to try this simple DIY baking soda method. 
  • Bucket
  • Baking Soda
  1. Fill a bucket with hot water
  2. Put on a pair of gloves and melt your baking soda into the hot water. The hot water should be about 40°C to 50°C. For every 250mL of hot water, you should put in 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
  3. Put in your socks and scrub with a bristled-brush.

How to Prevent Shrinkage When Washing Socks

Even with a weakly alkaline detergent, the yarn has a strong stimulus, which may cause it to become stiff and lose its fluffy feeling.
If the yarn in your socks shrinks, use a neutral detergent for delicate clothing.
Wool, angora mohair, cashmere and silk are some of the materials that you should use with a mild detergent.
Basically, socks are vulnerable to heat, so they tend to shrink. Be careful not to dry or dry it.

Be Careful With Certain Cleaning Agents When Washing Socks

Do Not Use Chlorine Bleach

The rubber elastic at the mouth of the sock is weak against chlorine. 
Using chlorine bleach can easily cause the rubber to stretch easily and therefore break. 
Also, avoid constant use of bleach as it can damage and thin out the fibres. 
If they get very dirty, you can use an oxygen-based bleach instead. 

Do Not Use Detergents with Fluorescent Agents

It is fine to use fluorescent agents with pure white socks. 
However, with patterned or woven fabrics, the colour and texture may be dulled. 

How to Dry Socks

The correct way to dry socks is to dry them flipped inside out.
This ensures that the sun’s UV rays will kill off the remaining bacteria inside the sock.
If you don’t want to dry your sock flipped inside out, keep them out of direct sunlight as the colour of your socks can fade and deteriorate due to the sun’s strong UV rays. 


Because socks are worn inside our shoes and rarely shown to others, we might be a little careless or sloppy when washing them. 
However, socks can get dirty very easily. 
When not cleaned properly, it can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. 
Since it is worn directly on the skin, washing them thoroughly is the best way to go to keep our feet clean and happy. 

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