how to stop losing socks in the laundry

How To Never Lose Socks In The Laundry & A Fix For When You Do

Seems a mystery right? The reason you keep losing socks in the laundry. It makes you wonder: “Where do lost socks go?”

Silly thoughts arise. As if that darned machine is devouring them. Like there’s a black hole in the back of the washer through which they vanish.

You’re not the only one. Even otherwise rationally thinking people get a feeling their socks must be stuck in some parallel universe.


Socks usually get lost one sock at a time. Leaving a useless orphan sock. And then another one. Until you’ve got a whole bunch of socks seeking sole mates. But, darn it, never a match.

On average, people lose over 15 socks a  year. That’s 1,264 socks in a lifetime!

Luckily, scientists have discovered the cause of lost socks

Researchers actually went so far as to devise a ‘Sock Loss Index’ formula. The rather scientific sounding formula: (L(p x f) + C(t x s)) – (P x A) basically means: the larger the wash, the higher the chance on losing socks.


Samsung did some research of their own for the purpose of a special washing machine they designed.

Their survey  found that other common causes of ‘missing’ socks were:

  • Getting stuck behind radiators or furniture or under the bed
  • Stray socks getting jumbled up with the wrong wash load. In order words, they are getting separated even before entering the washing machine
  • Socks not being pinned to the line properly.

‘Nice little tidbits of info but how does that solve my problem of having a sock drawer full of single socks?’ you may ask.

It doesn’t. (Aside from becoming aware you could be more diligent at the wash-line.)

Here’s how to avoid losing socks in the laundry

1. Get the Samsung AddWash machine

Their innovative washers with AddWash doors let you insert socks and other elusive laundry through a special opening in the drum mid-way through a wash.

This prevents them from ending up in pillowcases, pants legs, shirt sleeves, and other large pieces of cloth.

Kinda expensive solution if you weren’t just in need of a new washing machine huh? Not eager to get a new washer just because of lost socks?

Perhaps use this hack instead.

2. Bind your socks

One method is by binding pairs together before washing. You can use binder clips or safety pins or roll one sleeve over the other like you do when folding.

‘Yeah right’, that’s what I thought: ‘Ain’t gonna happen. Way too much work’.

Plus, this method isn’t fool-proof. The tumbling and pumping inside the drum may de-attach your carefully made bonds.

3. Keep socks separate while in the washing machine

Use a separate hamper for socks. By keeping them separate, the tumbling process doesn’t tuck them away in your duvet cover, whirls them stuck in the lint catcher, or wherever they may end up.

Use a pillowcase or a small mesh bag to avoid disappearing socks both in the washing machine as well as the dryer.


4. Realize that  you might not have lost that sock in the first place

Missing socks might not be missing after all. Dan Ariely, author of The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty and other bestsellers points out that there is no mystery to missing socks.

It basically comes down to over-counting missing socks. It’s not some kind of miniature ‘Bermuda Triangle type’ vortex that supernaturally makes socks vanish in your washing machine. It’s simply your memory that’s abandoning you.

“You have many socks, and if you see one of them and don’t immediately find its partner, you say, “Oh! A sock has been lost!” You remember that a sock is missing, but you do not exactly recall its type or color. So we often count as lost each sock in a pair—even though neither is really lost.”

It gets even stranger.

Dr. Lucas Emil found that people think they are losing socks when they were actually gaining socks. He concluded that an unpaired sock is always interpreted as evidence of a loss. He dubbed this phenomenon The Missing Sock Fallacy.

To combat such mindscrewery it may be helpful to establish a sock orphanage. A dedicated sock drawer or basket will help you keep a more clear view on which socks have been lost. Thus you will be aware of potential pairs.

Some go even as as far as to make lost socks wall art. No matter how crowded this gathering of lost socks, it will eventually spark reunions.


Still losing socks? Here’s the fix I promised you

5. Get Throx: Sets Of Three Socks For The One That Gets Lost

A relatively new ‘invention’ is Throx: sets of three socks for the one that gets lost.

Some may find this product ridiculous, but those peeps probably don’t know what it’s like digging through your drawer to find matching socks.


Or you could just always buy the same socks.


One more thing.

Don’t forget to check your washing machine’s rubber seal. It may harbor some of your lost socks.


Last Updated on February 10, 2017 by Tyler