Lindsay Smith

The dryer is eating them. That's the only explanation for why you put two socks into the laundry, and only one came out.

Funny legs in socks of different colors


OK, maybe not. Really, though, there are a lot of reasons people have mismatched socks. From the hamper to the laundry room to the washer to the dryer and back to your bedroom, socks can go missing anywhere. So what exactly are you supposed to do with those lonely singles when they lose their match? Have no fear: They aren't completely useless. Read on for 10 ways you can use your mismatched socks.

1. Find the Match

"Give a sock a few weeks before condemning it to singlehood forever."

If one of your socks recently became single, you may want to give it a few weeks before condemning it to singlehood forever. Socks often turn up later, whether one is stuck between the hamper and the closet wall or another found its way into your roomie's drawer.

Need a cute way to hold onto recently mismatched socks? Pick up or DIY a small bulletin board, hang it in your laundry room or closet, and use thumb tacks or clothespins glued to the board to display socks that lost their matches. Have a little fun with the project by decorating the board with paint or decals first. Then, if a sock's match does turn up, you'll be able to reunite the pair!


2. Keep Your Drawers Smelling Great

Smaller and thinner mismatched socks work really well as drawer fresheners. All you have to do is stuff one with potpourri up to the ankle, tie the top closed with a piece of string, and stick it in whichever drawer needs some freshening up.

This works especially well for covering the smell of mothballs, so if you use the bug repellants in linen drawers or clothes storage bins, add a sock as well.

3. Clean Up

Any old piece of clothing can be recycled as wash rags or dust cloths, including old socks. Keep the sock intact and wear it like a mitten over your hand to dust all of the surfaces in your house. Or, cut it down the middle to make a larger piece of fabric you can use to wash windows or a bathroom sink.

4. Make Toys for Fido

If you're renting with a dog, you can never have too many toys for him. If Fido can play with something specifically made for him, he's less likely to chew up one of your shoes or scratch your landlord's precious hardwood floors.

Cut a sock into small strips, and stuff them inside a tennis ball (just cut a slit along the slide) along with some dog treats to keep him occupied for hours. Or, stuff those strips into a longer mismatched sock along with some squeakers (you can buy these at pet stores and online), and tie a few knots. Voila – DIY dog toy!

5. Style a Sock 'Do

Sock buns are all the rage, and they work perfectly with actual socks (hence the name). Cut off the toe part of a sock, then roll the tube of fabric into a doughnut shape. Use this as your sock-bun base!

6. Tackle Your Smelly Shoes

Smelly shoes are pretty common, but if you have the problem, your mismatched socks can save the day. Just fill two socks with baking soda, tie off the ends, then push them into the pair of shoes you're trying to de-odorize. Leave them there overnight, and the baking soda should soak up some of the smell.

7. Cover a Drink

Another easy way to make use of your single socks? Create cute cozies out of them. Knee highs and tube socks work well around plastic bottles to insulate the water. Plus they soak up condensation, so if you're tossing your water bottle in a backpack or purse, you'll save everything else in it from possible water damage.

Choose a sock with a design you like, cut off the toe part of it, and slide it around your bottle.

8. Move Safely

If you're moving into a new apartment, packing can be pretty stressful. Enter socks. Use them to keep valuables safe – just tuck whatever you're packing inside of them, and roll the rest of the sock around it. Sure, you'll still have to deal with other packing stresses, but at least you won't have to worry about your fragile belongings!

9. Donate Them

"Ask homeless shelters to see if they take sock donations."

Believe it or not, there are a few places you can donate socks – even if they aren't paired off. Ask homeless and youth shelters to see if they take mismatched sock donations. Many homeless people go through socks quickly, and the clothing item isn't often donated – for that reason it's often in high demand.

It's not just shelters that can use these garments – a variety of charities make use of them. Do some research online to see if there are any charities that want your socks. If you find one, check with your friends and roommates to see how many you can round up to donate.

10. Rock Them With Confidence

Let's be honest: Who among us hasn't gone to work or school while wearing two different socks? If you have a selection of loners, pair a couple together and rock the mismatched style with confidence. It's far better than tossing them out!



About The Author

Lindsay Smith is a Chicago-based freelance writer who uses her deadline-oriented writing skills for clients like Apartment Guide,, Womensforum Media Group and Brafton.