You’re not crazy—your socks can really disappear in the wash

You won't believe where they end up

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Tell me this doesn’t happen every time you fold laundry—you end up with some random socks. You know they all were in pairs when you put them in the washing machine. So, where did they go?

Credit: Getty Images / sb-borg

When you know you put two matching socks in the laundry, and only one comes back, don't give up. You may still be able to find its mate.

To answer this burning question, we spoke with a pair of experts from Sears Home Services, Travis Robertson, Knowledge Manager, and Adrienne Berain-Normann, Knowledge Author. They acknowledged that vanishing socks are not your imagination, and they gave us great tips on how your socks got lost, and where you can find them.

Vanishing socks are not your imagination.

Where are your socks?

When your socks go missing, our experts said that any of these things could have happened.

1. Your washer ate them

It turns out both top loaders and front loaders can consume socks.
Top loaders
• Socks can get lodged under the agitator (the pole in the middle of the washer), or get trapped under the wash plate (the central piece in the bottom of the tub).
• If you overload the washer, socks can get pushed into the area between the inner tub and outer tub. Once that happens, you will never see them again.

Credit: Getty Images / Serenethos

If you have a top loading washer, check under the agitator for missing socks.

Front loaders
• Some socks get caught in the washer’s filter. If your washing machine has a clean-out area, open it and look for socks. You don't want socks to get caught in the drain pump.
Credit: Cathy Hinz

You may have seen this image on social media. It shows that socks really can get eaten by laundry machines. Clean out your filters, please.

• It’s possible for socks to get stuck in the door’s rubber gasket. Pull it back gently and look around. By the way, while you're looking in there, you should wipe out the gasket to keep it from getting moldy.
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

If some of your socks disappear after washing them in a front loader, check the gasket. It's possible for socks to get stuck there.

2. Your dryer ate them

• If the lint trap is located in the front of your dryer, pull it out, and look for socks in the space underneath. If you don’t push the filter all the way in when you start a load, socks can find their way there.

Credit: Getty Images / GarysFRP

If you don't put the lint trap back carefully after you clean it, socks can get caught underneath.

Static electricity can cause socks stick to other clothes in the dryer. Also, when you dry socks with fitted sheets, they can end up stuck in the corner pockets. Baby socks tend to hide in the feet of footie pajamas. Check all those places before you consider those socks lost.

How to keep your socks together

Don’t rely on chance to keep your socks from disappearing.
• Get a mesh laundry bag, and put all your socks in. It’s your secret weapon, especially when you have little ones in the family. Baby socks and other tiny items will stay together, and you can move the bag directly from the washer to the dryer.

Credit: Getty Images / FamVeld

Toddlers don't care if their socks don't match, but if you wash their socks in a mesh laundry bag, it's harder to lose them.

• Attach each pair of socks together with safety pins. This may seem like a lot of trouble, but that’s subjective. How much do you love those cozy cashmere socks?
Credit: Getty Images / alfimimnill

If you have a favorite pair of socks, pin them together before you toss them in the washer. That way, you're much less likely to lose one.

Two last hiding places

If you’ve checked your washer and dryer, and you still haven’t found the missing socks, know that their favorite hiding places may still be within reach. Our experts recommend that you look for socks behind the washing machine, and check between the washer and the dryer. Welcome home, lost socks. We missed you.

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