Introduction: 37+ Unusual Uses for Lonely Socks
Socks are great. They keep your feet warm and they come in fun and colorful designs. But, sometimes one of your socks goes missing or you get a hole you just don't want to sew. So, what do you do with all of those lonely socks? Well, here are 37 different things you can do with all of your lonely and holey socks.
Sometimes you will be able to use a sock with a hole in it (if you are just using the tube), but other times it will be better to use an abandoned sock that is still whole. I'll try to point this out when necessary.
For all of these unusual uses you are going to need 1 or more socks. Sometimes you can use ankle socks, but most of the time a normal sized sock will be best. I used a lot of knee high socks because I went through a time (very recently) where I really liked wearing them, but I always got a hole in at least one of them. I couldn't get myself to throw them out at the time and now I finally have a use for all of them!
Step 1: Dusting + Blinds
Socks are great for cleaning up around the house. Just slip one on your hand and you have a quick and easy dusting mitt. You can just throw it away when you are done if you want, or throw it in the laundry and use it over and over again.
This is really great for blinds!
Step 2: Sock Puppet
Sock puppets are a classic kids toy. They are really easy to make and fun to personalize. You are going to want a normal sized sock or a knee high sock will also work. Ankle socks will probably be too small.
You can make yours as simple or as complicated as you want.
I decided to just use googly eyes and yarn for hair!
Step 3: Can Koozie
Pop cans and other beverages can get too cold and sweaty or warm to hold. One way to protect your hand is to use a can koozie. There are many up for sale, but you can easily make one by cutting off the foot of a sock.
The can koozie can be decorated or left with just the fun design on your sock.
Step 4: Draft Stopper
Cold weather can find its way into your home under doorways especially if there is a gap. One way to keep the cold weather out and warm weather in is to use a draft stopper. They are really easy to make if you have extra socks, rice and/or stuffing, and sewing supplies (you can also use tape if you really don't want to sew).
First, decide how long it needs to be. Cut off the feet of your socks until you have enough to cover the full width of your door.
Turn your socks inside out and sew one end of your first sock tube shut. Sew together the tubes leaving them open so you have one long tube.
Stuff your sock with rice, stuffing, popcorn kernels, or some combination of these. I have decided to use both rice and stuffing.
I started with putting in about a handful of rice and letting it settle to the end of the sock. Then, I grabbed a handful of stuffing and stuffed that all the way down the sock until I reached the end where the rice was. Then I repeated this until I reached the end. I ended on stuffing because I didn't want the rice falling out as I sewed the tube shut.
Once it is stuffed as much as you want it, sew the other end shut and you are done!
Step 5: Vacuum Small Items
It can be quite a pain to pick up tiny items when you spill them all over the floor. Instead, stick a sock on the end of a vacuum hose and use a rubber binder to hold it in place. Now you can vacuum the small pieces without losing them inside your vacuum.
Pull the sock tight for best results. Otherwise the sock is going to get sucked into the vacuum hose.
Step 6: Ice Pack Cover
Ice packs are great, but they can be quite code right against your skin. Use an old sock to cover them up for a nice barrier from the sharp coldness and for the comfort of the sock fabric.
You can also put a couple socks together and put ice cubes right in them.
You can use the sock as it is (like I have) or you can cut off the foot of the sock for a little nicer ice pack cover.
Step 7: Hot/Warm Pack
For the opposite feeling, you can use an old sock as a quick and easy hot pack.
Put rice in your sock. I only used about a cup or so. To transfer it easily into the stretchy sock, put the rice in a small bowl or, even better, a cup. Then you can stretch the sock around the lip of the cup and easily dump the rice right in the sock. You don't need to fill your sock to bursting. I found it nice that there was space so it could mold to my shoulder.
For a permanent hot pack, you can cut excess and sew it closed once the rice is in. If you just want a temporary pack or just don't want to sew, tie the sock in a knot to hold the rice in.
Stick it in the microwave to heat it up. It only took me 30 seconds to get it nice and warm.
Jessyratfink also suggests making a couple of these, heating them up, and sticking them in your bed on cold nights.
Step 8: Dryer Ball
Dryer balls can help keep your laundry soft without using dryer sheets or fabric softener.
You can buy them from the store, but a tennis ball will work just as nice. To keep the tennis ball from hitting your clothes (especially if it is used), just cover it with a sock. You can cut and sew the sock to fit or just tie it off.
Step 9: Chair/Table Leg Cover - to Prevent Scuffs and Scratches
Cover your chair and table legs to avoid scratches and scuffs on hard wood floors.
Use rubber bands to get them held in place.
You can cut and sew one sock into multiple covers if you'd like.
Step 10: Arm Warmer & Leg Warmer
Socks are the perfect leg and arm warmers. All you need to do is cut off the foot of the sock and you're set. If you have knee highs, you can use them as is. If you only have shorter socks, it can be helpful to take multiple socks (minus the foot part) and sew them together until it is as long as you want it.
Cut a little snip near the end of one of the ends of the sock for a handy thumb hole.
Step 11: Shoe Freshener
Just fill a sock's foot with baking soda and tie it off (or sew it closed) for a handy shoe freshener. Just leave them inside your shoes when you are not wearing them.
Step 12: Headband
This one was new to me and it worked really well. You can use old socks for a handy and quick headband.
If you aren't interested in sewing, just take the toe end of the sock and stick it into the sock opening. Use safety pins to hold the headband together.
If you have a knee high, 1 sock will do it, but you can also use 2 normal sized socks (or as many as you need).
If you want a permanent headband, cut off the foot of the sock and sew as many tubes together as you need for a comfortable headband. Remember, the headband should be just slightly tight so it stays on your head.
Step 13: Scarf
This is another great sock wearable. Cut off the feet of a few socks and tie them together for a nice and easy scarf. Attach as many socks together as you want to get the length you want.
If you want a more permanent, nice looking scarf sew them together instead of tieing. Flatten the socks and sew them so you get a nice flat long scarf. I stuck the cut end of one scarf into the top of the sock end of the next sock. I thought this gave me a nice pattern.
Sew as many together as you need for your scarf. I sewed together 5 knee high socks, but I probably could have done 6.
- Needle and Thread
Step 14: Ponytail Bands and Sock Buns
Socks can be handy for different hairstyles.
If you have longer hair, you can fancy up your bun with a sock. I don't have long enough hair for this anymore, but check out bekathwia's awesome Instructable to learn how to make an easy sock bun!
You can cut off just a small (or larger) section of the tube of a sock for a handy ponytail band. Just use the section of sock just like you would use a regular hair band or scrunchie. I thought it was pretty nice because it was soft and didn't catch on my hair!
Step 15: Jump Rope
This is really easy, but you are going to need quite a few socks.
Depending on how fancy you want this, you can do this differently.
For the most permanent, fanciest jump rope, I suggest cutting the feet off the socks and sewing all your socks together until you have a jump rope that is long enough for you. I would suggest sewing these together so they are bunched up, making the jump rope nice and rope-like.
For an easier jump rope, you can cut or not cut the feet off the socks and then just duct tape them all together. The tape will also add some weight to the jump rope.
For a temporary jump rope, take your socks (do not cut them) and using some string or yarn, tie the socks together. This is easy to take apart when you are done.
Step 16: Hacky Sack
You only need the toe of a sock to make a hacky sack.
I put rice in my sock to decide how big I wanted my hacky sack to be and then removed the rice to trim the sock. Once I had the hacky sack the size I wanted it, I started to sew across but stopped before I reached the end. You need to leave an opening to add your rice to the sock. Leave a bit more room than mine if you can. Mine was a tight fit.
Use a funnel to fill your hacky sack with rice (or another material if you choose). Once you have as much rice in it as you want, finish sewing it closed. I sewed in the ends a bit to make it a bit more round. I also sewed back across to add some extra strength to my stitches. If you want to really make sure it doesn't come apart, use another sock end and cover the hacky sack with it.
I am horrible at hacky sack, so my husband tested it out and said it worked well :)
Step 17: Cover Plants / Pots / Vases
For something a little fun and different around the use. Cut off the foot of a sock, and use the tube to cover skinny pots and vases.
Mix and match different socks for a splash of color around the house.
Step 18: Organize Game Pieces
Keep your game pieces organized with socks!
You can keep them all together in one sock, or if you have pieces for multiple players, use a different color sock for each person.
I just used an ankle sock and tied it off, but you can also cut and sew little pouches for something fancier. Or use a safety pin to hold it closed.
This can be great for camping and trips/vacations.
Step 19: Cover Golf Clubs
Socks are great golf club covers. Just use a sock as normal, or write on the foot in permanent marker to identify what club is covered.
Step 20: Foot Roller - Back Roller
Put 5 or more balls in a sock for a handy foot or back roller. You can just tie the sock closed and remove the balls when you are done to reuse the sock.
Step 21: Wrist Rest
Wrist rests can help when using keyboards for long periods of time. You can easily make one from a sock.
Start by cutting off the foot of your sock. If you have a knee high sock, 1 sock should be fine, otherwise you might need two sock tubes to make your wrist rest.
Turn your sock inside out and sew one end shut. If you are using two socks, sew the second (inside out sock) to the first one.
Turn your sock right side out and fill it with rice. You don't need it bursting full of rice; test it out and add and remove rice until your wrists feel comfortable.
Sew the sock closed and you have your wrist rest.
Step 22: Store Glasses
Socks can be good for storing glasses to prevent them from getting scratched up.
Use the sock as it is, or cut off the foot of the sock and sew it shut (inside out). Then just use it as a pouch. You can just fold it over or safety pin it shut.
This can also be helpful for the workshop. Leave your safety classes in a sock to avoid them getting covered in dust (when you aren't wearing them for safety, of course).
Step 23: Whiteboard Eraser
Not much too it. You can use an old sock as a whiteboard (or chalkboard) eraser.
It isn't the best option, but it's nicer than using your fingers or sleeve. You can always throw the sock in the wash after if you want to be able to wear it again.
If you are going to want to wear the sock again, I suggest using a black sock to wipe off black marker just to make sure you don't' stain your white socks.
Step 24: Cover Bottles - in the Cupboard
You can use a sock to cover some of the bottles you keep in the cupboard. This is good for bottles that may get sticky when exposed or are a danger to spraying on other containers.
This can also be good for things you keep around the stove as oils can get in the air and coat bottles. This will keep them from getting gross.
Step 25: Cover Wipers to Avoid Ice
Use socks to cover your wipers on your car to avoid them getting covered in ice in winter.
I don't get ice where I live, but we do have trees around that drop cherries and they harden on my car and on my wipers. Leaving your wipers covered can protect them from cherries smearing and hardening on them.
Step 26: Wash Car
Use an old sock instead of a rag to wash your car. You can throw the old sock away when you're done or throw it in the wash to use it again.
Step 27: Phone Cover
Like for glasses, a sock can be used to protect your phone. Simply cut off the foot and sew it shut.
You can do something to make it easier to close, but I found with my knee high sock that I could easy fold over the end of the sock and then stick the phone in the opening. It made for a nice pouch that was easy to open.
Step 28: Cover Pant Legs/Protect Knees and Pants
Cut off the foot of a couple socks and use just the tube to either protect your pants or your knees when you are going to kneel a lot. Great for gardening and other yard work.
Fold over socks or use multiple sock tubes for extra cushioning.
Step 29: Pin Cushion
Use a portion of a sock for a pin cushion! I cut off the foot of a sock and then cut up by the heal for a small pouch (make sure your sock doesn't have a hole in it).
Fill your pouch with stuffing and rice (you can use just stuffing, but I thought rice was nice to give it some weight when it is sitting on the table). If you use rice and stuff, put the rice where you want the bottom to be; I decided I wanted a long pin cushion so I used the bottom of the foot side as the bottom of my pin cushion. Then, I added stuffing until it was as full as I wanted it.
Close up the sock and sew it shut. I kind of folded in the sides so it would sort of match the other end of the pin cushion which was the toe of the sock.
When it is all sewed up, it is ready to be used as a pin cushion.
Step 30: Dry Hands Cover
For those that have really dry hands, it can be helpful to have lotion or vaseline on them overnight.
To keep the lotion on your skin at night, just cover your hand with a sock. It won't cut off circulation in your hand and will keep the lotion on.
Step 31: Soap Pouch
A sock can be used as a handy soap pouch. It can be nice to have your soap in a pouch to keep it relatively clean when you need to wash really dirty and gritty hands. It will also help scrub off the dirt that the slippery soap might not be able to get off your hands on its own.
You can put it in and tie off a knee high sock to get a nice hanging soap.
As suggested by my husband, this is great for using up all those small slivers of soap leftover. Just collect them in a sock and you have one soap blob!
Step 32: Protect Valuables (when Moving)
Socks can be helpful when you're moving. You can use them to cover and help protect different items when you're traveling. Just stick the valuables (that are the right size) right into a sock.
Step 33: Potpourri Holder
You can store potpourri in socks and then put them wherever you want. Put it in a sock as normal, or cut off the foot (I know I say this a lot) and sew one end closed (turn it inside out before sewing for a nicer outside seam). For this pouch, I decided to sew a hair binder to the opening and this allowed me to fold over the sock and use the binder to hold the pouch closed.
You can also use coffee grounds in a sock to put somewhere as a deodorizer.
- Needle and Thread
- Hair Binder / Rubber Binder (optional)
Step 34: Protect Shoes
Old socks are great for protecting your shoes. You can do this around the house or do it when you travel. It also keeps them compact in your suitcase so they don't roll around and get all of your clothes dirty.
For smaller shoes, you can probably stick them both in 1 sock. Otherwise, you might have to use a sock per shoe.
Also, you can put on a shoe and pull a sock on over it to protect your shoe from getting dirty. If you are going to be outside doing something particularly gritty, you can cover your shoe with a sock and either throw it out when you're done or throw it in the wash. Alternatively, you can cover a shoe with a sock when you go into a house and have to walk around. I've seen the Comcast people do this when they came over to a friends house to get something set up. They used actual booties, but you can use old socks just as easily.
Step 35: Polish Shoes
Use an old sock to apply polish to your shoes. Just toss it out when you're done and you don't have to worry about dirty polish covered rags.
Step 36: Coin Purse and Weapon?
Socks can really be used to store most small objects. You can store coins just in a regular sock, or cut off the foot and sew a little pouch for a more permanent coin purse. Also, if you just put your coins in an old sock, you can also use it as a weapon if the situation occurs where it becomes necessary.
Step 37: Spigot Insulator/Protector
Tie a sock on an outdoor spigot using twine to help insulate it in the winter. Use multiple socks on top of each other for extra insulation.
I can't test this since it doesn't get that cold where I live, but it seems like this would work the best for facets that come straight out of the house so you can cover the whole thing.
Step 38: More Ideas?
I found a lot of ideas out there and didn't get to try them all (some were pretty specific or weird), but please share any additional ideas you have in the comments to share with the rest of the community! If you try anything out (listed in this Instructable or not) share your images so we can all see how it turned out!
Some things I'd like to see people try:
- Sock Chia Pet? - This one sounded weird, but I'd love to k now if it works. Take a sock and put grass seeds in it, try to spread them out in the sock. Fill the sock with potting soil and close it up. Decorate the sock to make it look like some kind of pet if you can. Water the sock on regular basis and it should sprout grass!
- Bird Feeder - I didn't think this would work because of the tight knit of the sock, but all you have to do is fill the sock with bird seed and hang it outside. Birds could eat from the top for a while if you leave it open, but eventually, it will be hard to do this.
- xaenon: Protect bandages and tubes on arms and legs.
- Dandytroopermagoo: Shoulder pads on crutches
- Hold tent pegs.
- Store and hide emergency money in your home.
- grannyjones: Protect pant legs while riding a bike.
- Holding stuff together including electric cords, xmas lights, and tomato plants.
- blueangelofmercy: Cover/protect doorknobs and faucet handles while painting.
- jvandeyacht: Polish fine flatware or chrome and aluminum parts on a motorcycle. Throw out when done.
- asitnik: Stuff a sock with silica gel crystals (or moisture absorbing cat litter), tie the open end, and put it under a car seat or in between seats. That silica will absorb humidity and make for easier winter days with less condensation on the inside.
- Alastra: Keep a sock with your motorbike or bicycle to sponge it off when it gets wet.
- didactable: Put socks on the wooden legs of a heavy bed to make it easier to slide on a wooden floor.
- To pull out poison ivy, wrap your hands in several layers of plastic bags and hold them in place with arm sleeves made from old socks. All the plastic bags and socks get thrown out with the poison ivy.
- Jimbodie: Make a dog toy. Take an empty plastic water bottle with the cap on and put it in a few socks and tie off the end.
- cpollio: Tug of war dog toy. Take long sweat socks and put a knot in the middle.
- jig10: Stick a sock on a long stick, fastening the end with an elastic band, and use it to dust down the backside of radiators.
- johng419: Use two socks for ladder mitts. Put them on the ends that lean against your house to prevent scratching.
- LesB: Wear mismatched leftover socks for a fun new look!
- Catley: With socks, a bit of stuffing, and a few stitches you have quick and easy shoulder pads.
- DanT4: Ball up one old sock and put it inside another. It makes a great applicator for applying protectant to a car dashboard or applying tire shine to tires.
- OneBirdieMa: Make a mini pillow. Take one or two and roll it or them together as if they were going to be put away. Tuck this into another sock and fold it over so it's smooth. Repeat until you have a size that might be of use.
- e-beth: Make a cat toy by filling a sock with catnip and tying off the end.
- MaryS186: Use socks to replace knit cuffs on coat sleeves.
- deacon57: Use the tube of socks for arm protectors while out doing yard work.
- CherryM2: Use a sock to wash dishes.
- Aunti Jan: Put several layers of socks over an old rectangular mop head and use to clean outside windows.
- MosesShuldiner: Anti-snoring device or even treatment for sleep apnea (supine variety). Tie a tennis ball in a sock. Pin the sock to the back of your night shirt. Whenever you roll onto your back the ball digs in causing you to roll on to your side, but not wake up.
- Robyn1850.: Use old socks to protect and store fishing reels that you don't plan to use soon.
- Use old socks to protect small tools that will rust if left out unprotected, like a cast iron nut splitter and impact ratchet.
- 1bruce: Put 2 white socks over the open ends of a split toilet seat in winter.
- KarolineS2: Use to clean your shower and tub. Just use your favorite soap or shampoo on them and scrub away.
- Also good for cleaning hardwood floors.
- goaskal: Store and protect jars of jam and other breakable items when traveling.
- mudthomas: To make homemade poi, just put a (preferably soft) ball each into two socks.
- agabpardo: Sew together to make a quilt.
- jacquelinebardou: Use a large sock to make a tiny sweater for a tiny dog.
- susan_k: Cut socks open lengthwise and use them to add a stretchable panel to the underside of dog clothing to make them easier to put on and take off barrel-chested pups.
- MaggieG9: Put salt in the sock, tie it closed or sew them to make salt ear pillows. Warm the salt pack and apply to the ear, you can lay on it or lay it on your ear.
- Use socks to cover fermenting bottles. They keep bugs out but let air in so vinegar, kombucha, and jun can still get air. They also keep the light out of the vinegar.
- bblack6: Slip old (slipper) socks over worn office chair armrests.
- InetiaC: Cut the foot of the sock to the length of your cell phone and sew it inside the waistband of your pants that don't have pockets. Helps keep my phone close and secure.
- The Awesome Inventor: Try using a 100% cotton sock as an emergency oil lamp wick or a fire starter!
- Emergency/last resort homemade tea bag by filling a sock with tea leaves.
- Put a sock over the end of your rifle with a sock to prevent mud and other stuff from clogging your barrel.
- ConnyJ1: Make a bottom pillow and sew the socks for the sides onto the edges to make a fun doggie bed.
- brennawalters: Stretch a wire hanger downwards in the middle to form a diamond shape, and hold it by the hook, put a sock over it to make a good skimmer for small pools and strainer for liquids. You can clean under and around objects with the same thing.
- A great freshening wig or hat stand can be made by stuffing the toe of a tube sock firmly with balled newspaper and inserting a small coffee can or big jar for a base.