Sock Monster Got Your Socks? Fight Back!

We’re all aware of the Sock Monster. That’s the sneaky beast that gets into our laundry and makes off with just one of a perfectly good pair of socks, leaving us with baskets or boxes of unmatched ones. They’re too good to throw out and we think maybe… just maybe, mind you, the mate will show up out of nowhere.

Won’t happen. At least, not until you throw away the one you have. Then you’re still stuck with a half a pair of socks… and what to do with them without feeling guilty for throwing out something in such good condition?

An old trick is to put the sock on your hand, spray it with furniture polish and detail the furniture. It’s easy to get in all the little corners with your fingers that way and when you’re finished, toss it in the laundry. If you’re like most of us, you have enough replacements to last a week or more – certainly until you do the laundry.

“Ok,” you’re saying, “But what about the rest of them??”

Use Farmhouse Furniture Wax instead and use an orphaned sock to buff the wood. Cotton socks really do a great job of that.

Here are some more ideas:

Cut the sock down the back, cut out the toe so that you have a more or less flat piece of material. Hem it or use a zigzag stitch around the edges. This makes an excellent cleaning cloth that will last a good while. You can use two socks sewn together this way to make a double thickness. They make great dish cloths!

Socks make good mop rags if you happen to use real rags in your mop.

Another housekeeping idea: Use unmatched socks to apply stove black to your cast iron wood stove this fall.

Fill a sock with rice and tie or sew the end, then warm it in a microwave or slow oven and use it for a heat pack. Rice maintains heat for quite awhile and if you don’t overfill the sock, it will conform to your body, getting therapeutic heat just where you need it.

Use a (clean!) sock to cover small bowls or glasses and cups to keep bugs out when you’re picnicking. If you don’t care for the look of a sock sticking on the top of your tea glass, cut it off a couple of inches above the cuff and sew it straight across, or gather the edges with a running stitch and embroidery thread and tie a bow at the top.

Are you a golfer? Socks make protective club covers.

Put two or three socks, balled up, inside another sock, and tie between each one. Your dog will enjoy a game of fetch with this. Got a cat instead? Watch him/her bat it around!

Cut straight across the toe and heel so you have just the straight part of the foot left. Sew one end closed, stuff with fiberfill or old hose, then sew the other end closed. Stitch these together to make a quilt or quilted items like chair pads, pillow covers or pet beds.

Cut off the cuff and use it as a sweatband for cold drinks. Cuffs will stretch to fit almost any glass.

Make a sock doll in a jiffy by stuffing another sock in the toe of one, then tying off this “head” with a length of yarn. Stuff another two or three socks in the remaining body and tie or sew closed. With a large needle, make a running stitch, flattening the body slightly, to make arms and legs. Using appropriately colored embroidery thread, make eyes and mouth. With the same large needle, insert yarn in the head for hair, tying or looping as you would fringe.

Cut the toes out of three or four socks, sew them together into a continuous tube and stuff them to make a draft dodger (also known as a draft stopper or draft snake). Put them under the doors to keep the chill (or heat) out.

Got a big one? Decorate it with embroidery, lace, ribbons or whatever you have on hand and use it for a Christmas stocking.

Put a bar of soap in the toe, tie it off, add a piece of twine or yarn to hang it near an outdoor pump or faucet for quick cleanups after gardening or other outdoor work.

Almost makes you wish you had more half pairs of socks, doesn’t it? Patience. They’ll come along.

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14 years ago

My mom actually used orphaned socks or socks where the heels were worn out and made a blanket out of the tops. Just cut the top portion which is still good, make squares and sew them together. My mom made 2 of them and we used them at the beach, picnic, or on the seat of the car when one of us kids got wet. I’m not sure how old they are, but they are still around and I believe one of them is still in the trunk of her car!

14 years ago

I put a couple tablespoons of catnip in the toe of a single sock, tie the open end in a knot and the cat can lick and kick and bite till he’s silly and when there are enough chew holes in the toe, I throw it out and get yet another lone sock. We call them his ‘stinky socks’ and he seems to be able to identify them (as in, “go get your stinky sock”…I just like to say it!!). Diane’s mother must have been a real ‘happy hands’ person. That seems like a LOT of work, but a great way to recycle, especially if you have quite a few kids who are ripping through socks like a big dog!! How many sock tops would it take to make a blankie??!! WOWIE!! I’m curious about the sock doll in the article. It sounds like it is basically one piece…arms and legs not floppy or free, but suggested by the running stitches?? That sounds kind of neat…but I’m having trouble visualising it. I’m a need-a-picture person. I may give it a try just to see what happens though. Love the Lehman’s newsletters!!

14 years ago

why not cut them into loops and turn them into potholders???
I make them and love them.


14 years ago

I cut off the foot part and use to hold bandages in place on little legs or elbows. Works like a charm.

14 years ago

I cut off the foot part and use the stretchy cuff part to hold bandages in place on little legs or elbows. Works like a charm. They also make great wristbands for wiping sweaty brows when placed on your arms.

Sarah Nussbaum
14 years ago

If you’re the parent of a toddler, two words: make puppets. :)

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