How to wash socks properly

Hagerty socks by anthem branding
Justine Rohde
28 Jun 2024

Are your socks looking more grubby than gorgeous?

While socks will naturally use their color and shape over time, there are steps that you can take during the washing process to help prolong their longevity and keep your clean socks looking fresh for longer.

Read on to discover our top tips for washing socks. We guarantee you’ll never look back!

Key Takeaways from How To Wash Socks Properly”

Proper washing extends the life and look of your socks. Steps for Washing Socks: + Separate Your Socks: + Pair Your Socks: + Wash in Cold Water: + Soak very dirty or athletic socks for 30 minutes before washing. + Avoid hot water to prevent fading and aging. + Turn Socks Right-Side Out: + Air Dry Your Socks: + Avoid the dryer to prevent elastic damage. + Use a drying rack if needed.

Step 1: Separate your socks

The first step in washing socks should always be to separate socks. This refers to the process of sorting your more delicate socks, such as dress socks and custom socks, out from the rest of your laundry. Although it may seem a little excessive to wash some of your socks on their own, this crucial step helps to prevent your higher-quality socks from accumulating lint from less plush laundry items and lower-quality socks.

It is also advisable to separate your white socks from your colored ones and place any silk or wool socks aside for handwashing.

Tillamock Socks 01

Step 2: Place your socks into pairs

How often have you lost one sock out of a pair? Almost as if your washing machine eats one of your socks during each load, most households have fallen victim to the dreaded lost sock saga.

Fortunately, this can be easily avoided by sorting your socks into pairs before you wash them. During this stage, you should also turn the sock inside out, as this can help to prevent the accumulation of lint and keep your socks looking brighter for longer.

Step 3: Wash in cold water

When it comes to washing socks, cold water is better than warm water, and you should use a gentle cycle and light laundry detergent. If you want to go one step further, you can find a detergent that is specially formulated to prevent fading and keep your socks bright and vibrant even after multiple washes.

If your socks are particularly dirty, or you are washing athletic socks that have absorbed a lot of sweat, it can be beneficial to soak them in cold water for 30 minutes before placing the socks in a washing machine.

Do not wash your socks in hot water, even if you have been told this is the right way to clean them, as this can speed up the aging process and will make your socks more prone to fading.

Step 4: Turn your socks the right-side out

Before leaving your socks to dry, you should turn them back in the right way. Make sure that you do this gently to avoid stretching or damaging your socks.

Now is also the perfect time to organize your socks back into pairs, so you do not have to worry about any missing socks when putting them back in your sock drawer.

Step 5: Hang your socks to air dry

Socks should not be placed in the dryer as the heat can cause the elastic in socks to stretch and eventually snap. Instead, allow them to air dry.

If you don’t have a washing line or the weather is poor, you could invest in a low-cost drying rack that can be used to air dry items such as socks, delicates, and any custom apparel you have.

Washing socks FAQs

How do I hand wash socks?

To hand wash your socks, fill your sink with cold water and then add some mild laundry detergent or dishwashing liquid if that is all you have to hand. Turn your socks inside out, and then allow them to soak for 5 – 10 minutes. Drain the sink, and then rinse your socks in cold water until they are no longer soapy.

Do not scrub or twist your socks as this can damage their delicate fabric.

What socks need to be hand washed?

Socks that are made from delicate materials such as high quality silk or wool should always be hand washed. Compression socks should also be hand washed as these can lose their compression effects when washed in a washing machine.

Do I need to add fabric softener when washing socks?

You should not use fabric softener or stain remover when washing socks, as this can leave a waxy coating on them. Eventually, this build-up of wax will wear down your socks and lock in bad odors as the fabric will be unable to absorb water or detergent.

Justine Rohde
About the Author
Justine Rohde