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Socks don't have labels with washing instructions like other pieces of clothing, so sometimes we just have to improvise. Treating your socks right in the laundry room helps them maintain their shape, bright colors and supple elastic, so they will continue to look great and stay up!

Below we list the brands we carry and the exact washing instructions they recommend for their socks. However, if you aren't sure which brand your socks are, there are also some general rules to follow when washing socks.

How to Launder Most Socks

Washing socks in a washer and dryer is a fairly simple process. One of the biggest questions we get about the best temperature for washing socks. In most cases, cooler is better when it comes to washing machine settings for socks, so use cold water will for the best results.

We also believe you should turn your socks inside out when washing, especially if they are novelty socks with fun patterns like the kind we sell here at Cute But Crazy Socks. For these cute and colorful socks, bleach is not recommended.

To dry your socks, put them in a dryer on low heat, hang them to dry or lay them flat to dry. A hot dryer can cause socks with a lot of cotton or wool to shrink, and when that happens they won't fit as well. So when it comes to socks, remember to stay cool!

Novelty socks with patterns including food and animals hang on a clothesline to dry after being washed.

Washing Instructions for Our Sock Brands

These are our top sock brands and the washing instructions listed on their labels:

Blue Q

Machine wash cold. Tumble dry medium heat. Do not bleach.

Coucou Suzette

Wash inside out. Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Do not iron. Do not dry clean. Do not tumble dry.

Darn Tough

Machine wash in warm water on gentle cycle with socks inside-out. Do not bleach. Tumble dry on low or hang dry. Do not dry clean.

Foot Traffic

Machine wash warm. Do not bleach. Dry low heat.

Groovy Things Co.

Machine wash cold. Tumble dry medium. Do not bleach.

Gumball Poodle

Machine wash cold. Hang to dry.

Hot Sox

Machine wash cold, inside out, only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry low, do not iron.

ModSocks

Machine wash cold, tumble dry low.

Oooh Yeah

Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Tumble dry low.

Primitives by Kathy

Wash in warm or cold water. Do not bleach. Tumble dry or hang. Do not iron. Do not tie your socks, fold them.

Sock It to Me

Sock It to Me socks love being washed with like colors in cold water. Use non-chlorine bleach when needed. Hang to dry. Do not iron.

SockGuy

For best results, turn your socks inside out before washing. Machine wash warm. Tumble dry low. Do not bleach. Do not use fabric softener.

Socksmith

Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Tumble dry low.

Solmate Socks

Machine wash, gentle. Dry on cool. No bleach.

Sock Care FAQs

It is easy to launder socks by hand. First, fill your sink with cold water and a small amount of mild laundry detergent, or in a pinch you can use dish soap, shampoo or another type of liquid soap. Give your socks a good scrunch and swish them around, then turn them inside out and do the same. Is there a cloud of muddy water coming off them? Let's hope not! Next drain your sink and rinse your socks with more cold water until they don't feel soapy any more.

To dry, you can hang your socks over a rack or on a hanger, or set them flat on something like a mesh sweater drying rack or a flat surface that gets plenty of air circulation. They should be clean and dry very soon!

If you are wondering how to wash white socks or black socks, the instructions are pretty similar to our general washing instructions, with a few small differences. To wash white socks in the washing machine, it is a good idea to put them in a load of just whites and add the recommended amount of bleach. This will keep all your white items looking brighter for longer.

Cold or warm water are both OK to use on a load of whites. Some people use hot water for white linens like sheets and towels, but it isn't the best when it comes to preserving your clothing, which has different fabrics, elastics, buttons and other elements that are better off in a cooler washing machine.

Washing black socks on the other hand, should usually be done in a load of either colorful clothes or, if you have a lot of black clothing, an all-black load. Some laundry soaps are designed to keep dark colors from fading, making them perfect for laundering black clothing and black socks.

It is important to use cold water when washing black socks if you want them to stay dark and vibrant. Similarly, tumbling on low in the dryer is a better option than using high heat, and better still is line drying your black socks or laying them flat to dry.

You should wash black and white striped socks in cold water every time to keep the black from bleeding into the white. You can hand wash or use the washing machine, but be sure to pretreat any stains on the white stripes with a stain remover before washing. This will keep the white stripes looking bright without bleach, which you should definitely not use on striped socks — it will make the black stripes turn orange!

It's a common complaint — socks always seem to go missing in the wash! Here are a few solutions to this problem that should help you stop losing your socks when you wash them, ranked from least complicated to most hardcore.

1. Throw all your socks into a mesh bag. One of the most common ways to lose socks is for them to get stuck inside other garments and things like fitted sheets. Delicates bags will help your socks stay together in one place. It will also prevent random socks from flying around the laundry room and getting kicked under the dryer when you change a load. Watch out for bags with drawstrings, though — they can wrap their way around other clothes and tie them up in a big tangle, or even catch on parts of the washing machine itself. Zipper bags are a lot less fussy!

2. Safety pin your socks together, or use binder clips or sock snaps to attach them together before throwing them in the machine. It's a little more time consuming, but it really does the trick.

3. Do a load of laundry with nothing but socks. Is it a little wasteful when it comes to water and electricity? Maybe, depending on how many socks you own. But none of your sock collection will end up stuck inside other garments or fitted sheets, which means fewer lost mates at the end of the day.

Most cotton socks like the novelty socks we sell here at Cute But Crazy Socks should be washed after each wearing. That is because each time you wear them, sweat from the more than 125,000 sweat glands you have on each foot (a higher concentration than anywhere else on the body) works its way into your socks. If it isn't washed out, bacteria and fungi can grow rapidly in the warm, moist environment.

The same is true when it comes to washing athletic socks which are made of mostly synthetic materials like our running and biking socks from the SockGuy brand. These socks wick away moisture and sweat, but when the sweat evaporates it can leave deposits on the socks that need to be rinsed out regularly, or they will weaken the socks' elastic.

For wool socks like the ones from the Darn Tough brand, it is OK to wait a little longer between washes. These socks are made from from merino wool which has natural anti-microbial, anti-stink properties. Darn Tough recommends washing their merino wool socks after 2 to 3 full days of wear, but some may choose to wear them even longer.

We all want our socks to be soft and cozy, but sometimes things can get in the way like hard water, using too much detergent or packing your loads of laundry too full so the dirt and grime doesn't fully rinse out of your socks. Figure out what is causing your crusty socks and remedy it to have the soft, cozy socks of your dreams.

Most laundry experts say you shouldn't use fabric softener on your socks or your towels. This is because it leaves a waxy coating that prevents detergent from penetrating the fibers, so in the future your socks won't be able to get fully clean and might develop bad smells or start to feel even crustier than before.

Drying inside a dryer instead of hanging your socks to dry is another way to keep them soft because the tumbling process makes socks feel fluffier.

Once socks are clean and dry, store them in your sock drawer with some of our helpful sock storage tips.

A cat looks up from a pile of laundry containing many colorful novelty socks.

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