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August 19, 2022  |  Appliances

Do washing machines really eat socks?

It’s laundry day at home and you’ve just finished folding a load, but there’s a lone sock staring at you without its match. It’s one-half of your favorite pair, so you distinctly remember throwing both socks into your washing machine. Considering you fold your laundry by your machines, you know it has to be somewhere nearby. At a loss, you ask yourself if the myth could be reality: Could my washing machine really have eaten my favorite sock? Turns out, yes. Yes, it could have.

Where did my socks go?

A washing machine’s stomach is located in different areas, depending if it’s a top-load or a front-load washer.

  • A hole in the gasket: For front-load washers, your socks most likely slipped through the rubber ring that’s used to seal the door.
  • Over the edge: For top-load washers, your socks most likely got pushed over the barrel’s edge.
  • Under and around: The proverbial second stomach is located in the same place for every type of washer: underneath, behind and to the sides of the unit. The washing machine won’t send socks here — only you can do that. 

Why were my socks eaten?

Your socks can be eaten for several reasons.

Overload

The most common cause of missing socks is from overstuffing your washer. This pushes your clothes forward in front-load washers, making it more likely a sock gets shoved between the gasket. It also makes it easier for socks to get sloshed or spun over the sides of a top-load washer.

If you try to quickly move all the clothes from any type of overloaded washer, you’re more likely to drop a sock into the second stomach.

Batch mix

The kinds of clothes, and especially how many socks are in each load, can make it more or less likely that a sock will be eaten.

Bad luck

No matter what you do, you’re bound to lose a sock at some point and your washing machine will claim its next victim.

FAQ

Q. Can I get my socks back?

A. It’s possible. The easiest to reclaim are the socks found underneath, behind and to the sides of your washer since finding them is often as simple as plucking them from perdition. Getting socks back from inside your machine is more complex, and it requires dismantling it to a certain extent. It’s much easier to simply buy new socks.

Q. Can my dryer also eat my socks?

A. Yes. The most likely reason for a dryer eating a sock is if the lint trap isn’t completely returned. This can leave a space large enough for a sock to be swallowed.

What’s the best washing machine to buy?

Best top-load washing machine

Samsung 5.0 Cubic Foot High-Efficiency Top-Load Washer With Active WaterJet

This washing machine is high-efficiency, which means it takes less water and less detergent than a standard washer to get your clothes squeaky clean. Add the large capacity, 12 wash cycles and ability to customize a cycle, and it’s hard to beat.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot and Wayfair

Best front-load washing machine

Samsung 4.5 Cubic Foot High-Efficiency Front-Load Washer with Super Speed

Another high-efficiency washer, this machine can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and be monitored and controlled from anywhere with your phone. Plus, the Smart Dial system learns your preferences and can eventually suggest options and even change the cycle list order.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Best portable washing machine

Black + Decker 0.9 Cubic Foot Portable Washer

This is the solution if you live in a small apartment without an in-unit washer and hate going to the laundromat. It connects directly to your sink so there’s no need for special equipment, and it comes in three sizes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot, Macy’s and Wayfair

What are the best replacement socks to buy?

Best athletic socks

Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks

These socks are packed with features to keep your feet comfortable on the longest runs, including plenty of sole cushioning, mesh for breathability and seamless closures to prevent blisters. They are unisex and come in more than 20 colors.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Best compression socks

MudGear Premium Compression Socks

Compression socks are a great way to improve blood flow, which helps to relieve swelling and pain. These compression socks can even be worn during athletic activities, thanks to features like ventilated mesh and a padded nonslip heel.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best heated socks

Autocastle Heated Socks

Cold feet can be a miserable experience, and even thick wool socks can struggle to keep feet warm. These heated socks have three heat levels and can be machine-washed, making them excellent replacements.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.