Sock It to Me: 15 Uses for Old Socks

by Mikey Rox on 22 May 2012 19 comments
Photo: Craig Morey

As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, so too will the dryer eat one of your socks. What can you do with the lonely leftover? Of course you can make a puppet — but if you’re not nine years old, these ideas will suit you better. (See also: 15 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Old T-shirts)

1. Make a Potpourri Bundle

Want your undies to have the fresh scent of apples and cinnamon? Stuff an old sock with potpourri, tie up the end with a rubber band, and pop it into the drawer. You can put the potpourri-filled socks wherever you want. For instance, I have very smelly shoes because I rarely wear socks; the potpourri helps make my stinky sneaks a bit more bearable.

2. Wash Your Baby

If you’re all out of clean wash clothes, grab a single sock, slip it on your hand and wash your bundle of joy until he or she is squeaky clean.

3. Dust and Polish Furniture

Forget those expensive Swiffers; you’ve got a whole drawer of makeshift dust rags at your disposal. Spray a bit of furniture polish on the sock, put it on your hand, and dust away.

4. Level a Table

Have a wobbly table? I hate that. To eliminate the shakes, cut off a few small pieces of an old sock and stuff them under the leg until the table is level.

5. Apply Heat to Sore Muscles

When you’ve got a pain in your neck — or any other part of your body — fill a sock with dry beans or rice, and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to create an instant, no-cost heating pad.

6. Keep Game Pieces Together

It totally annoys me when I’m ready to play a game and set it up just to discover that some of the pieces are missing, rendering the game unplayable. To make sure that happens never again, the next time you pack up the game, put the small pieces in a sock so they all stay together. This is an especially great idea if you have kids.

7. Soothe Skin Irritation

When I was about three years old, I got chicken pox. Just a few of them. When I was 14, I got chicken pox again. A lot of them. It was one of the worst experiences of my life because my family and I were away from home, staying in a hotel, to attend a wedding. To help calm the itching, my mom put oatmeal in a sock and told me to take a bath with it. Afterward, I had to put dry socks on my hands so I didn't scratch myself to death. I also had shingles at age 25 — basically adult chicken pox. My body seems to reaaally love that virus.

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8. Create a Pet Toy

For a cat, fill it with catnap and decorate it to look like a mouse. For a dog, take a long sock and stuff the sewn end with a tennis ball, then play tug-of-war with your buddy.

9. Cover an Ice Pack

You shouldn’t apply an ice pack directly to your skin because you could inadvertently get frostbite. Instead, stuff a plastic baggie with ice and pop it in a sock so you can have a buffer between you and the cold.

10. Polish Shoes

You can use all manner of old fabric to polish your shoes, and a sock is no exception. Dip, shine, stroll. 

11. Protect Your Valuables When Moving

You wrap large breakable items in bubble wrap or newspaper, but what about those small items? Rather than wasting valuable supplies that you’ll need for other items, put the small stuff in socks to keep them safe in transit.

12. Donate to Pet Charity

What use does your local ASPCA have for old socks? For starters, they can cut them up and make nice, soft beds for lonely, homeless animals. Helping those cuties out will make you feel fuzzy inside, I promise.

13. Slip on Golf Clubs

This isn’t the most attractive way to protect your clubs, but if you’re in a pinch an old sock will do the trick.

14. Avoid Paint Stains on Shoes

This is another thing that really burns my muffin. I always kick myself when I’m painting and I get the paint someplace I don’t want it. To keep the paint off your shoes — although you should be wearing your worst shoes for this anyway – slip an old sock over the shoe so it won’t matter if you make a mistake.

15. Clean Dry Erase and Chalk Boards

I wish I had thought about this in college, because the eraser for my dry erase board disappeared quite often. If that happens to you, just find an old sock to clean the board. You can be sure that nobody will steal the sock. And if they do, you might want to keep an eye on that guy.

Have other cool uses for old socks? Let me know in the comments below.

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Meg Favreau's picture

When I was little, my mom would take scissors to my dad's old socks and create wrist warmers for my sister and I to wear when playing outside in the winter. We layered them under our coats and mittens, so if snow snuck between the two, our wrists would stay mostly warm and dry.

Mikey Rox's picture

That's a brilliant idea - especially since I hatehatehate the snow!

Guest's picture
Guest

A canoe sometimes takes a ride on the top of my car. There's a strap that goes around it to secure into position. At high speed, that strap vibrates and makes loud noise. I tie old socks around the strap in strategic locations to dampen the vibrations and eliminate the noise.

Mikey Rox's picture

LOL. I wasn't sure where you were going with that story. :)

Thanks for sharing the extra tip!

Guest's picture
Kay

Saw a really awesome article on using mismatched socks to make Holiday wreaths using a foam circle. (Not old worn out/stained socks.) Can't find the article but did find this one on Blue Cricket Design using new socks. http://www.bluecricketdesign.net/2010/07/sock-wreath.html
I think they are pretty cool. And, I think a great idea for the huge box of mismatched socks I have!

Guest's picture
Pollyanna

I use a worn out sock to do quick mop in bathroom around baseboard then toilet...make it serve another purpose before I toss it!

Guest's picture
FrugalCat

I put some baby socks on the legs of chairs to keep them from scuffing my hardwood floors.

Meg Favreau's picture

I love this! It's a good idea, and it sounds like you have the most hilariously cute chairs.

Guest's picture

Socks are one of those items that (clearly) can be used for so many things around the house. When I was younger, during the winter my hands would get unbelievably dry; my mom would lather them in vaseline before bed, and then slip socks over my hands to prevent it from getting all over me and my sheets while I was sleeping. I would wake up with silky smooth hands! Also if you're a girl wanting nice wavy curls, cutting the toe off of an old sock then turning it into itself like a ring, then folding your damp hair through by rolling it down a ponytail, will leave you with amazing curls without the heat tools!

Guest's picture
Guest

I just used some to finish cleaning off the oven after using those stingy oven cleaning products. I jst rinsed it a few times to complete the job and then I threw it away. Much better than using paper towels or killing one of my dish towels.

Guest's picture
Cheryl Joyce

I use a clean fuzzy sock over my water bottle or large covered cup with straw to keep it from sweating on my wooden furniture as I take it from room to room in the summer. It works wonderfully!

Guest's picture
J. Strong

When traveling, I use socks to put my shoes inside of so they don't touch my clothes.

Guest's picture

My mom always used old torn socks (the heels always seem to wear off) for storing limes and lemons. She would snip off the sock from the heel, removing the tear along the cut and that's it. I do this too. I have one sock for limes and one for lemons. This makes them stand easily in the front corner of the veggie drawer and I can pull one out at a time whenever I am cooking..

Guest's picture

What great uses! Love how they range from relieving sore muscles to storing game pieces!

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Mtmama

When my grandson was a baby and learning to feed himself I used the leg portion of old celan socks to protect the sleeves of his clothing. Bibs are great for the front of the shirt but with 'learners' even the sleeves get dirty. The old sock is not too tight but stays put and cuts down stained baby shirts. I've also used these 'leg' portions as extra warmth under the baby's sweaters when it gets a bit chilly but is still too warm for a coat.

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FrugalCat

Any time I carry my husband's new iPhone in my purse, I put it in a sock to protect it from key scratches.

Guest's picture
Guest

I put old socks over the end of my ladder (0one pair over each side ) to avoid marks , scratches or damage to walls / paintwork or wallpaper. You don't need to change them as they last for ages.

Guest's picture
Cheryl

Store candles in clean old socks. It helps to keep them from getting broken or scratched, and they don't roll around.

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Gayle

Cut off the ribbed top of a sock, roll it into a donut shape and you have the base for a sock bun.