Why Do socks Disappear In The Washing Machine?

Why Do socks Disappear In The Washing Machine
Crazy pair of sucks

Mama said insane people don’t know they’ve gone nuts, that’s why they are insane. Have I gone nuts, or have I not just realized it yet?

Losing your socks in a washing machine can leave everyone a suspect

  • Your failing minds
  • Your neighbor’s kids
  • Black magic,

Everyone but your washing machine.

Why do socks really disappear in the washing machine? There a number of reasons:

  1. Lost among laundry
  2. Attached to drum walls
  3. Drain hose
  4. Impeller blade
  5. Drain pump

Lost Among Laundry

Why Do socks Disappear In The Washing Machine
Socks lost in the mix
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Pick a pen and write on a wall: The primary suspect is always the laundry.  

Sorry, just joking. But whether it’s envy or bullying, the tiny sock is always a victim of lost identity.

Stashed in the midst of several kilograms of laundry, it is not uncommon to find your socks missing at the end of a washing operation.

Time and again, they are simply stuck in the midst of other laundry. A careful search is all you need to locate them… one leg at a time. 

Sometimes they’re even lost before entering the washing machine, often during sorting. But you only discover it at the end of your washing. 

Another possibility is that they get missing enroute. If your washing machine is located in the kitchen and you have to move your clean clothes to the bedroom before ironing or folding, it is not uncommon to drop the poor guy enroute.

In that case simply retrace your step back to the washing machine or dryer.

If this does not work, move to the next step.

Attached to Drum Walls 

What is the layman word for static? Well, whatever it is, that is what happens to your socks during spinning.

At the end of your washing, the socks gets stuck to the roof of your drum, or somewhere difficult to see. This is especially so in the case of front loaders.

So you move your laundry to the dryer, without the socks and that is the beginning of the socks new journey. It joins the next load put in the washer and mixes with them.

If this was someone else’s laundry, he or she will find a strange sock at the end of his/her laundry that he will hardly trace back to you, unless you’re in the same household.

Drain Hose

Now to the technical side of things. Your drain hose is the next destination of your missing socks.

Loose socks can easily flush down the drain and get stuck in the hose. 

If you’re looking for a missing sock and at the same time your washing machine is draining slowly, you’ve likely found the cause of the problem and your socks at the same time. Because often, they are one and the same.

In this case, you’ll need the attention of a technician who will open the washing machine enclosure to locate the hose and remove the stuck socks.

If you own a front loader, then simply locate the drain cover at the bottom front of the washer, and hopefully, it will be there.

Drain Pump

Sadly, a hyper-functioning drain pump does not only drain water, it also drains erant socks. This is closely related to the drain hose.

Except in this case, it is able to pass through the hose to the pump. When this happens, you also experience difficulty in draining water from the drum. Sometimes, your machine will completely stop to drain water. And you get clothes that wash well, but remain soaked at the end of a washing operation.

Impeller Blade

This is relatively easy to find. Your stocks might get stuck beneath your washer’s impeller blade. This problem is peculiar to top loaders.

A quick glance inside the drum of a top loader should identify this. Sometimes though, you might have a hard time removing it, as it might be half flushed inside the drain pump.

If this is your situation, your best chance of removing it is to call a technician, or someone familiar with the techy sides of appliances.

How Do I Stop My Washing Machine From Losing My Socks?

Why Do socks Disappear In The Washing Machine
The happy socks
  1. Carefully select laundry before laundering.
  2. Use a laundry bag/net.
  3. Fold or arrange washed laundry in the laundry room
  4. Carefully check washing machine drums for stuck socks.
  5. Tie several legs of socks together, one to the other.
  6. Open drain hose and pumps

Carefully select laundry before laundering

Many times the real issue is arrangement. Without properly sorting out laundry before washing, it is easy for socks to get lost in the heap of large and heavy garments.

Sort clothes out, not only according to color, but also according to size. I, for one, wash all my small wears together, such as boxers, face-towels and colored singlets. It is easier to locate a leg of socks in small size laundries.

Use a laundry bag/net

This is the ultimate solution to disappearing socks. Have a dedicated laundry net. I learnt this the hard way. After losing several socks to washing machines, I always place all colored small garments in this net. And I’ve never lost a sock ever since.

Fold or arrange washed laundry in the laundry room

I learnt this from a Brit. He always folds all his laundry in the laundry room before heading to his room. Apart from it being a sign of organization, I also realize, it is easier to spot missing items before leaving the laundry room. 

For instance, if you can’t locate a sock, you simply check the washer or dryer again. Oftentimes, they are still there until another person uses them for washing.

This might be difficult at first, especially if you have a tight schedule, but with constant practice, you’ll get used to it. And by the way, it is a good habit to form.

Carefully Check Washing Machine Drums For Stuck Socks

If after a careful search you still can’t find a leg or two of your socks, it’s time to check the washer drum or dryer itself. 

In fact, if you’re close to the washer when you notice a sock is missing, this should be your first point of call, as it is easier to check the washer, than sorting through a pile of washed laundry.

Tie Several Legs Of Socks Together, One to The Other

Why Do socks Disappear In The Washing Machine
Missing leg of sock

This is just an application of common sense. The reason why socks get missing is not because they are socks (there’s no beef between washing machines and socks). It is because they’re small.

So to resolve the issue, simply make them bigger. Joining several socks end to end might affect how effective the wash will be, but it will surely save your socks from going down the drain, or getting lost in the mix.

A word of caution, though. Avoid the tendency to use metals like pins or something similar to join them. You might end up damaging other fabrics during wash and spin cycles.

Open Drain Hose and Pumps

If every other method has failed, then it is time to get your hands dirty. You will need to open the drain hose and pump. Usually, at this stage, you should already be having drain issues, so a technician is in a better position to open up the washer and remove any stuck socks.

Front loaders usually have hose openings at the bottom front of the washer. All you need is to locate this compartment, open it up and remove any entangled socks. This usually takes little technical knowledge to resolve, so you should be fine.


Alright back to our opening question: why do your socks disappear in the washing machine? 

It is not some African voodoo playing out here, neither have you gone nuts (I hope I’m correct). Instead we’re just reminded that after all said and done, science and technology, though powerful, has its flaws.

Hopefully you find your socks quickly and intact, else you might need to visit the store across the street. After all, if socks don’t go missing, how will they remain in business?

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