Photo: Shutterstock / Africa Studio
The Case of the Missing Sock has been open in every household since humans have worn socks. Fed up with my own one-sock situation, I wanted to know probable causes—and discovered a laundry trick along the way. The Internet did not fail me on my quest for answers, with numerous (and humorous!) ways of explaining why we always seem to start with two, but end up with one.
The Search for My Missing Socks
At the beginning of my quest, the theories seemed pretty reasonable. Perhaps one of the socks never actually made it to the hamper, or actually into the washing machine. I checked that small space between the wall and my washer and happened to find three lonely, abandoned socks (bingo!). One theory that we would all secretly like to believe is that the dryer simply ate one of the socks and left its mate behind to tell the tale.
Then things in my search started to get weird. I was no longer finding rational explanations, but completely (and literally) out-of-this-world ones—everything from “they slipped into another dimension” to “a rogue troll with an insatiable appetite ate them.” It was then that I realized the possibilities really are endless. But more important than the why, I wanted to know the how: How do I fix it?
How to Never Lose a Sock Again
The trick lies with a handy little tool you probably have in your sewing kit: safety pins. Stainless steel ones, to be exact. When you take your socks off, pin the mates together so they won’t get separated in the hamper (or unknowingly kicked under the bed). The pair will stay together in the wash and because the pin is stainless steel, it won’t rust. The hungry dryer will be deterred from eating both socks as that’s simply not its style, and two perfectly matched socks will emerge clean, fluffy and unscathed. As an added safety measure, you should probably keep the socks pinned together until you’re ready to wear them.
Eaten by the dryer, or eaten by a troll—there are some things we’re just never meant to know. Whatever the case, I hope this safety pin trick helps you as much as it has helped me!