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Life Hacks

10 Brilliant Uses for Orphan Socks

From dog toys to vacuum attachments.


We’ve all been there: you finish folding your laundry, only to notice there’s a single sock remaining who doesn’t match with any of others. What to do with this poor, abandoned piece of footwear? Don’t throw him away! There are plenty of ways to put him to use around your house; he can vacuum up lost jewelry, entertain pets, and even protect breakables. Here are ten clever uses for orphan socks.

1) Dust window blinds with ease.

The simple way to remove dirt and dust from your window blinds: Slide a clean sock over each end of a pair of kitchen tongs and secure each with a rubber band. Then spritz your favorite cleaner on the socks, grab each slat with the tongs, and slide them across the blinds. The tongs make reaching between each blind a cinch so the socks can grab and remove any dust!

2) Help shoes keep their shape.

You have a few pairs of suede pumps on hand for special occasions, but since you don’t wear them regularly, they tend to lose their shape. To prevent this, roll two socks into a ball and place inside each shoe. The sock balls will ensure the sides of the shoes don’t cave in while stored.

3) Avoid wrist pain while typing.

Lately, whenever you’ve spent more than a few minutes typing at your desk, you end up with wrist pain. Instead of splurging on pricey wrist rests, make your own for pennies. To do: Fill a tube sock with a few handfuls of dried beans, tie closed and place in front of your keyboard. The bean-bag sock will elevate your wrists as you type to sidestep aches.

4) Give Buster a chew toy.

On dreary days when your energetic pup is cooped up inside, keep him out of trouble with a simple toy. To do: Slip an empty 20-ounce plastic drink bottle inside an old, clean tube sock and tie the sock closed. When chewed, the bottle will make a crunching sound that dogs love, but the sock will keep the plastic contained so Buster won’t accidentally swallow any broken pieces.

5) Nix umbrella puddles.

Eek! Whenever you get into your car on a rainy day, your wet umbrella makes a soggy mess inside. The solution: Keep a long tube sock in your glove compartment. Then when you get in the car, close the umbrella and slip the sock over it. The sock will soak up any excess water. Problem solved!

6) Lather up in no time.

Rather than letting small slivers of bar soap go to waste, try this: Put the soap bits in a clean sock, then tie the sock closed and use like a loofah. Not only will you get an all-in-one sudsing washcloth, the soft fabric will be perfect for gentle exfoliation.

7) Get relief for sore muscles.

After a day of spring cleaning, your back is rather tired and achy, and you don’t have any hot packs on hand. The save: Fill a tube sock with 1 cup of uncooked rice, tie closed and heat in the microwave for about 1 minute, then place on sore spots. (Note: Keep an eye on the sock in the microwave — overheating can pose a fire hazard.) The rice-filled pack will offer pain-easing warmth for over 15 minutes.

8) Quickly find lost items.

Oops! You accidentally dropped an earring on the carpet, and now you can’t seem to find it. To the rescue: an orphan sock! Slip the sock over your vacuum’s hose attachment and run it over the carpet. The vacuum’s suction will retrieve the item, but the sock will “catch ” the earring so it can’t get sucked up.

9) Keep any breakables safe.

The cute trinkets you found at the indoor flea market will look great for the Easter holiday season. To keep them safe in storage after the holiday is over, slip each item into a clean sock, then carefully place them in a storage container. The soft fabric will protect each trinket from getting scratched, plus it creates a buffer so items don’t bump into each other in the box.

10) Ensure a phone is safe in transit.

Whenever you slip your phone into your purse to head out for the day, you worry about the dev ice getting banged up — especially when the purse doesn’t have an interior cellphone pocket. To protect it, try tucking the phone inside a clean orphan sock for protect ion. The soft sock will serve as a makeshift pouch to ensure your phone stays free of scratches and dings.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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