The science behind lost socks

Now that we have your attention, we’re sorry to disappoint you: there’s actually no science behind why so many socks get lost between the dirty hamper and the pile of clean, folded laundry. It’s one of life’s inexplicable mysteries.

There are a few things you can do to minimize the number of lonely singletons in your loads though. While it may seem perplexing, there’s usually a good reason things go missing. Here’s our expert advice on how to keep socks teamed up with their partners, and other tiny items from getting lost in the wash.

Don’t overload your machines.

This is actually one of the main culprits behind lost socks, because when the machine is overstuffed, socks are more likely to become trapped inside of larger items or tangled in the agitator or drum. They can even disappear between the inner and outer drums, where they’ll essentially be gone forever. Instead, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on load capacity, and favour smaller loads to minimize the risk of items getting lost. Bonus: not only will your socks stay paired up, but they’ll also be cleaner. Overloading machines makes it harder for items to move around effectively, leading to a less thorough cleaning job.

Sort your laundry.

If you don’t take the time to properly sort your laundry, items are more likely to get mixed up and go missing. Avoid mixing different types of clothing together, like heavy towels or large sheets with delicate items that can get trapped or hidden. By taking the time to sort smaller items like socks into separate loads, you’ll prevent them from getting entangled or lost. 

Use laundry bags.

These handy little mesh bags are a genius way of keeping socks from getting separated. They’re also super useful for other delicate items. They act as a protective barrier, preventing smaller articles from getting trapped in the machine’s mechanisms. Pick them up at a dollar store or other supplier of home goods and use them for everything from socks to lingerie to small accessories to bathing suits. 

Check your pockets.

Maybe you’ll score a $5 bill but more likely, you’ll turn up rocks,crayons, tissues, or other small objects that have been stashed in there. While this won’t necessarily help you keep your socks paired up, it’s a good way of keeping other items from going missing in the wash, where they shouldn’t be in the first place.

Unload properly.

Instead of blindly reaching in for an armful of wet clothing to toss into the dryer, make sure you unload your machines with care. Socks and other small articles have a tendency to cling to the drum of the washing machine, and can end up getting misplaced this way. Double-check thoroughly to ensure that nothing is left behind. 

Control static cling.

Ever found a rogue sock in the leg of your pants midway through your day at work? Avoid embarrassments—and lost items—by controlling the static electricity generated in your laundry cycles. Disposable dryer sheets are a popular choice, but can leave a film on some fabrics. Wool or plastic dryer balls reduce static clinging naturally and also help to speed up drying. Read our blog here for a few other tricks to help reduce this pesky problem.

Check the cracks.

Washing machines and automatic dryers can both have small cracks that love to suck up stray items like socks, which is annoying and dangerous. You’ll be frustrated by having items go missing, but worse, they can cause problems for your machines, leading to costly repairs or even hazards like fire. If your washer has an agitator, check carefully that no small items have become twisted around it. In both machines, check to ensure that nothing is stuck in the small openings and crevices around the drum or lint trap, as well as around your washer door’s rubber gasket. 

Tie items together.

If you want to keep small items paired up, some people swear by tying or pinning them together before throwing them in the wash. A small safety pin or a loose knot can help to keep paired items attached until they’re all the way through the laundry cycle. 

Call in the ghostbusters.

Ok, we’re just kidding on this one, but with an estimation that people each lose more than a sock a month, it can feel like there’s a ghost stealing them at night! It’s not the ghostbusters you need to call, though. It’s your trusted maintenance and repair service. 

Maintain your machines.

Accumulated lint, debris, and foreign objects in your machines can contribute to ineffectual cleaning and even cause additional items to become lost or damaged. Clean your lint filters regularly, perform routine maintenance as necessary, and call in the professionals to service your machines so that they’ll perform optimally and enjoy a longer lifespan. 

Coronet Equipment is your trusted advisor for all things laundry, including missing socks. If you notice that a number of things are going missing in your laundry cycles, it might be time for a service call—so you don’t end up losing your cool, too.

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