How to Wash Socks: Step By Step Guide with Tips and Warnings

how to wash socks

Want to know how to wash socks? It looks easy enough, but there are people who don’t know how to do it properly. If you want those socks to last, proper care is necessary. If you’re going to invest in quality socks, it only makes sense to wash them the right way.

The Basic Steps of Washing Socks

To wash socks, there are simple steps you have to follow. You separate the socks and arrange in pairs. Turn each one inside out and wash in cold water. Turn right side out, dry and fold. However, we need to look at this in more detail.

Materials You Will Need

  • Washing machine
  • Light detergent
  • Socks

Step by Step Guide

  1. Begin by separating your socks and pair them appropriately. Don’t mix socks because they’ll end up with too much lint. Plus it increases the chances of losing a pair. Colored socks need to be separately washed. Wash your dress socks separately from other laundry. This is necessary so they don’t end up with lint from your less expensive socks.

    There is nothing more frustrating than losing one of your socks. You can avoid this by organizing your socks prior to washing them. It’s best to have a separate container for your socks so they don’t end up being mixed with other clothing.
  2. Turn your socks inside out. This ensures your socks are thoroughly cleaned. It’s going to take some time to turn each sock inside out and right side out, but it’s going to make a difference in terms of cleanliness. This also ensures your socks look more vibrant.
  3. Use the right settings for washing. Use cold water. The detergent needs to be light and the cycle setting must be gentle. Put your socks in the washing machine.

    Everyone has their own preferred detergent, just make sure that it is suitable for your socks. Avoid those with petroleum solvents, and go with enzyme-based detergents instead. Light detergents are especially suited for cotton fiber socks.

    Let the socks immerse in the cold water for about half an hour before commencing with the cycle. You may shorten or lengthen this depending on how dirty the socks are.
  4. Once a cycle is complete, turn the socks right side out. This is the part that is going to take a lot of time, but it is essential to ensure the socks are really clean.
  5. Hang the socks once you’re done washing. You may use a dryer for tough socks, but use the lowest setting because it might damage the fabric. If possible, avoid it.
  6. Fold the socks once they’re dry. You can fold or roll, it is up to you.

If you don’t have a lot of time, the least you can do is wash the socks in cold water. Use a gentle cycle and dry. It’s better to follow the process given above, but this will do if you are in a hurry.

What is important is you wash your socks regularly. By washing your socks, you prevent odor from building up, plus it helps prolong their life.

No matter what socks you’re using, remember to dry them fully before folding and storing. This is necessary to ensure there is no buildup of odor or bacteria. When dry, store the socks in a dry place to avoid dampening.

How to Care for and Maintain Your Socks

The first thing you should do is read the product label.

  • Keep your toenails trim to avoid puncturing the socks.
  • Do not leave your socks lying around near sharp objects. Cotton socks are especially vulnerable. Aside from knives, you also have to keep your socks away from corkscrews and similar items.
  • If you lose socks often, it might be a good idea to fold them into each other. By securing the pair with each other, there’s little chance you will lose it.
  • Read the ingredients of the detergents you use. Do not apply more than what is recommended. If your socks are really dirty, just immerse them in cold water for several minutes. You may also use several cycles, but don’t use harsh detergents.

Some socks are built for a specific reason, and you should clean them in the most suitable manner. Running socks emphasize moisture wicking and durability, while hiking socks are often made of fiber. Yoga and exercise socks have exposed toes and heels for better surface grip.

These socks may need special ways of washing, and you should follow the directions given. Diabetic socks for instance, have special cushions and made from very comfortable material.

Because these socks are made for different reasons, they may need specific maintenance. If there is nothing mentioned in the packaging, you can use the method given above.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep the temperature to 30 degrees Celsius and under.
  • Do not use powerful chemicals or detergents on socks with antibacterial properties.
  • Before you hang dry socks, just give each one a good squeeze. There is no need to wring them
  • Dry cleaning socks are a no-no. Do not iron socks either.
  • Store your socks in a drawer and in pairs. Do not leave them lying around as that is the quickest way to ensure you will lose a pair.

​Frequently Asked Questions

Question: ​How do I keep the socks together while washing?

​Answer: ​Put the two socks in a laundry bag and wash. The soapy water will get in and clean the socks.

Question:Can I use strong cleaners?

​Answer: Do not use strong detergents because it might damage the fabric.

Question:What type of washing is best for colored socks?

​Answer: ​You can use the same method given here, but make sure the detergent isn’t too strong as it could lead to discoloration.

Question:How long do I wash socks?

​Answer: ​There is no time limit here because it depends on how dirty your socks are.


A lot of well-made socks don’t last long because they’re not taken care of. No matter what the fabric is, you have to make sure it’s properly washed. Use the right techniques and those socks will last far longer than you may think.