Lost sock

How to Keep Socks Together in the Washing Machine

Do you spend way too long sorting socks out after a washing cycle? It takes forever to pair the items up. And to top it all, you always end up with a single sock seeking its buddy! There’s got to be an easier way to keep socks together in the washing machine, right? 

Lucky for you, there are lots of ways you can keep your socks in order in the wash. Find out more below.


How Do You Keep Socks Together When Washing?

1. Keep them in one secure location

To make sure that your socks stay together during a cleaning cycle, you can place and secure them in one location. See below:


Stick the pairs of socks inside a pillowcase to stop your socks from separating from their partner during a wash. Then, tie the top off, throw the case in the washing machine’s drum and run a cleaning cycle.

The tied-off pillowcase will keep all the socks in one place, and they won’t be thrown around and lost inside the appliance’s drum.

At the end of the cycle, you can empty the socks out of the case and pair them back together.

There will be some pairing work at the end, but it’ll still be a lot easier and less time-consuming to carry out than hunting down rogue socks in the washing machine!


Mesh laundry bag

Socks in delicates bag in washing machine

A mesh laundry bag works in a similar way to a pillowcase. You stick your paired-up socks inside the mesh bag, close it up, put it in the washer’s drum and start a washing cycle.

The only major differences between pillowcases and mesh laundry bags are mesh bags are usually smaller in size, their main purpose is to keep laundry safe in the washing machine, and you close them using a zip.

Mesh laundry bags are versatile tools that can be used for other garments, including tights and bras.

The only downside is that you must be careful not to overstuff the bags. If you do this, the laundry won’t be cleaned effectively.


2. Bind the socks together

You can fasten your socks together in the wash in many different ways. Of course, some ways work better than others, so you’ll have to try the methods below to see which one(s) works best for your socks.

Use sock clips or sock locks to keep hold of your socks

When it comes to sock clips and locks, you have many options to choose from. You can go for traditional-looking tools, choose from a variety of materials, and pick implements that can be used in both a washer and dryer.

See below for inspiration: 

  • You get 60 colourful clips that resemble clothes pegs in MUEEAD’s Bag of Sock Clips. The clips aren’t huge in size, but they have a pretty good grip, so they serve their purpose well – holding your socks in pairs when being washed. The sock clips can also bind other garments together during a cleaning cycle. And you can also use them to hang your socks on a washing line. As a bonus, you get a small bag to store the clips in so they don’t go missing between sock washes.
  • Itena’s Sock Clips are made from a stretchy silicon which is designed to slot over a pair of socks and keep them together during the washing cycle. They essentially work like the bobble method discussed below. A single pack contains 30 clips, which can be used in a washing machine and a tumble dryer. The flexible clips fit onto any thickness of sock, so it doesn’t matter if you’re cleaning kids’ socks or an adult’s thick hiking socks. The only major downside is that they can be a little fiddly to pop onto your socks.
  • Helping Hand Sock Locks are round-shaped locks with triangular-shaped teeth that you feed a pair of socks through. The socks then stay in this locked position throughout the washing cycle. A single pack contains 24 locks; they’re not too fiddly to use compared to other sock locks and can even be used to keep your socks organised in a drawer.

Remember, while these products work well for most, there are times when they don’t work as well. Sometimes, the tools fall off, or a sock falls out of the lock. You may have to try a variation of these items before you find the one that suits you.


Safety pin your socks together

Socks kept together with safety pins

To lock socks together when washing, you can use safety pins. Simply attach the pin through both socks, place the items in the drum and start a gentle washing cycle.

Occasionally, the pins damage the socks (you may see little holes or snags), and pinning the pairs of socks together may be a little time-consuming.

However, this method works well overall, and the socks stay in their pairs during the washing cycle. You could say that the benefits outweigh the negatives.


Roll the top of the socks together to keep them as a pair

Pairs of socks

A cheap way to keep socks together in the washing machine is to place the socks in their pair, then turn the tops of the socks down so they end up stuck together.

There’s no additional work or tools needed. Stick the socks in the washing machine’s drum and start a cycle.

This method does get mixed results because the socks tend to come loose. However, you can mitigate this by using less agitation (choose a more delicate cycle) and spin so the items stay together when being cleaned.


Use a hair bobble to tie the socks together

Socks tied with hair bobbles

A wallet-friendly alternative is to grab some hair bobbles and tie them around the centre of a pair of socks. The bobble’s tight grip (tie twice) keeps the socks together during the cleaning cycle.

It’s a relatively quick fix to your sock problem. It may take you some preparation time. However, you don’t really ‘lose time’ because you save it by not having to sort through the socks at the end of the washing cycle.

The only drawback is that the bobbles sometimes come loose as the socks get thrashed inside the washing machine. Also, you’ve got to make sure that the dye on the bobbles doesn’t leak onto the socks – try to pick neutral colours and do a patch test.


Grab a SockDock to keep track of your socks

A SockDock Sock Organizer is the ideal companion to have around when you need to wash, dry and store socks. Think of it as a long fancy sock hanger that you put your socks on!

Each pack comes with two SockDocks – one for clean socks and another for dirty socks. And each Dock can hold nine pairs of socks.

All you need to do is load the socks in their pairs onto the dirty SockDock, wash the socks while attached to the Dock, and then place the Dock with the socks still bound in the tumble dryer.

When the drying cycle ends, you can remove the SockDock from the tumble dryer and hang it in your closet with the dry socks still attached. It’s as easy as that.

You can essentially leave your socks on the Dock until you want to wear them. Then, once you’ve worn your socks, you can stick them on the dirty SockDock in preparation for laundry day!

The Dock will save you so much time because your socks will remain in their pairs almost all the time – when being cleaned/dried, waiting to be washed, and in storage!


3. Be specific with your washing cycles

Fed up of socks going missing? A simple way to manage socks in the washing machine is to run a sock-only wash. This ensures that the socks are isolated, won’t get tangled inside other clothes, and won’t go missing during the washing cycle.

Of course, the likelihood of you having a mountain of socks to clean at once is low. So, there’s a chance that this load of laundry will be quite small and wasteful to run. However, it would offer you peace of mind.


4. Stick to the socks you know

If you’re constantly losing socks, no matter what you do, perhaps it would be better to buy the same socks repeatedly. This way, you always have a pair, even if you lose a sock here and there.

So, your socks may not be as colourful as you’d like them to be. But this is one way of ensuring you have pairs of socks at the end of a cleaning cycle. A sock may not be paired with its original partner, but then again, you’d never know!


5. Try all of the above

It may be beneficial for you to use a mixture of the methods above when cleaning your socks in the washing machine.

If you utilise a few of the options above at once, there’s very little chance of your socks going walkabout when they’re being washed.

For example, you could clip your socks together and place them in a pillowcase. The socks would remain in their pairs and would stay in the case until you empty them out at the end of the cleaning cycle.


Bonus tips

In addition to the above, you should also:

  • Hang your socks up to dry in their pairs (if line drying).
  • Match your socks immediately after a washing or drying cycle. Doing this lets you know what sock has lost a partner, and you can look for it immediately.
  • Have a lost and found box of socks at hand. You can then reunite single lost socks with their partners.
  • Ensure your socks are transported to and from the washing area safely. You don’t want to drop any socks along the way.
  • Have a sock-only section in the washing basket. This should help to keep the socks in one place, even if they’re not in their pairs.
  • Check the washing machine when you’ve removed the laundry from it. You never know, a sock could be hiding in the drum.
  • If it helps, count how many socks you have pre-wash, then calculate how many socks you have post-wash. If there’s a difference in the numbers, you can pinpoint roughly when and where you lost the sock!

Pile of loose socks


FAQs on Keeping Socks Together in the Wash

Should you wash socks in a mesh bag?

Yes, you it’s a good idea to wash socks in mesh laundry bags. This is one of the safest ways to wash small garments like socks.

The mesh laundry bag ensures the socks are safe during the washing cycle, remain in one place, and stay in their pairs. By the end of the cleaning cycle, you can unzip the bag, pour out the socks, and sort them.

There’s very little fuss involved, and you won’t have to waste time rooting around for missing socks.


What are those plastic things that keep socks together called?

The plastic tools that keep socks safe and in their pairs during a washing cycle are called ‘Sock Clips’ or ‘Sock Locks’. Their goal is to keep your socks in their pairs during a washing cycle. 


What is sock tape, and can you use it to keep socks together in the wash?

Football players use sock tape to hold their socks and knee pads in place during a football game. The adhesive tape stops the socks and pads from slipping down as the players run around the field.

Sock tape shouldn’t be used to keep socks together during a washing cycle. It’s best to find an alternative solution.