Nothing beats a crisp and classic combination of white socks and sneakers. The only issue is that white socks are notorious for showing wear, becoming soiled, and turning grey very fast. Still, we’d argue that getting white socks is the best bang for your buck. After all, the stains can be removed, and the crisp white color can be restored in a matter of hours.
In this article, we’ll show you how to remove the dirt, the staining, and the greyness from white socks with regular home supplies. After 10 minutes of work and just 5 simple steps, you'll have pristinely white socks.
A hot water bath is the best way to remove persistent stains and greyness from worn socks. You can repeat it every month to revive your socks. The first method we’ll show you utilizes the mild acidity of white vinegar or lemon juice. These mild acids can help dissolve the dirt stuck in the fabric fibers, loosening it from the surface of the socks.
Note: We recommend purchasing 100% cotton socks. These natural fibers are moisture-wicking and odor-repellent, and they can handle hot water much better than plastic-based fibers like nylon or polyester. Cotton socks will easily last you over a year if you wear them weekly.
Learn more about various types of fabrics and how to clean them here: How to Launder and Care For 9 Common Fabrics
Note: This is enough to clean around 6 pairs of socks. You can reduce or double the quantities as needed.
Other whitening laundry products work great instead of vinegar or lemon juice too. Follow the same instructions as before, but add any of the following products instead:
Please make sure to use one cleaning product at a time because mixing any of these ingredients can create toxic fumes and lead to poisoning. Read more on this topic here: House Cleaners You Should NEVER Mix to Avoid Toxic Fumes
1. Never turn the socks inside out before washing. The majority of the dirt is on the bottom of the outside of the sock – the part that gets physical contact with the floor.
2. Avoid overloading the washing machine when loading socks. Giving the socks plenty of room to move and dislodge all the dirt is necessary, otherwise, the stain may stay on the fabric.
3. Develop a habit of presoaking white socks in a mix of hot water and detergent for 20-30 minutes before every wash.
4. When washing socks, make sure to separate them by color. Generally, it’s a good idea to wash solid white fabrics separately. This will prevent whites from turning grey. A little area of light grey is generally fine, but mixing white socks with light solid grey, beige, or light-blue socks will eventually turn your crisp white socks grey.
5. Use hot water and heavy-duty detergent to wash socks. You can also add an enzymatic stain remover, baking soda, or an oxygen brightener to the wash cycle to strengthen the effectiveness of regular laundry detergent.