9 Practical Things You Can Do With an Orphan Sock

Funny family legs in mismatched socks


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Funny family legs in mismatched socks


There are few phenomena as vexing, perplexing, and widespread as the disappearance of a single sock. Everyone has at least one sock that mysteriously loses its mate. Whatever the cause — spontaneous black holes could be responsible, according to the late Stephen Hawking — it's particularly frustrating because a single sock seems useless ... or so we thought. Some of Reddit's most resourceful and creative members on r/Frugal recently proposed dozens of ideas for orphan socks, and we've compiled the top 9.

Related: 7 Clever Uses For Cheap Vodka (Besides Drinking It)

Pile of old mismatched socks

Use Them For Cleaning

Since they're fabric and the perfect size for your hand, you can easily convert sock orphans into wearable cleaning rags. Redditors recommend using them to dust around your house and clean whiteboards.

Related: Cleaning Myths That Will Ruin Your Things

8 weeks old Pied French Bulldog puppy chewing on sock in the graden

Give Them to Your Dog

Dogs love to chew on socks, especially when they're not supposed to. To distract them from your good pairs, tie a few orphans together to create a cheap dog toy.

Related: 20 Ways People Waste Money on Pets

Man's feet with odd socks

Wear Mismatched Socks

Sock orphans should be a non-issue for non-conformists, rebels, and freethinkers who will gladly wear mismatched socks. And even if wearing two different pairs makes your eye twitch, Redditors have a solution: Fill your wardrobe with identical socks. Even if one goes missing, you'll automatically have a matching pair.

For more money-saving tips and DIY content,  please sign up for our free newsletters.

Half opened door into the cozy home interior

Create a Door Draft Stopper

For those who have a growing pile of sock orphans, you may be able to fashion a makeshift draft stopper. Shove a few mismatched pairs into one long sock, stuff it under your door's frame, and you could save money on your next heating bill.

Relaxing sunday vibes Chilling day asian chinese beautiful woman relaxing in bathtub in summer staycation

Enjoy an Oatmeal Bath

Oatmeal baths have long been known to soothe skin conditions such as acne, dry skin, eczema, and chickenpox. All it takes is a cup of oatmeal powder (put it in a blender) and an old sock to hold the pulverized grain. According to Verywell Family, you should soak in an oatmeal bath for 15 to 20 minutes to enjoy its effects.

Boy using cherry pits heating pad. Cherry stone thermal pillows, cherry pit filled pillow - natural heat pack. Alternative medicine and therapy, pit sack for spa massage, chiropractic care
Iryna Mylinska/istockphoto

Transform Them Into Heating Pads

Fill your stray socks with rice for a quick, DIY microwaveable heating pad. You can even add herbs like lavender to make it extra comforting.

happy snowboarder is standing in the red suit

Make a Winter 'Snot Rag'

Equal parts niche and disgusting, this "snot rag" hack from Reddit might appeal to skiers and snowboarders who need to quickly wipe their noses on the slopes. Cut the toes off, the commenter writes, and wear the sock on the outside of your jacket like an armband. When your nose starts running, you can simply wipe it on the sock and throw it out when you're done for the day.

Wardrobe full of clothes

Create 'Scent Boosters'

Keep the rest of your socks smelling great by filling your orphans with scent booster beads. "It appears to be more effective than using the scent boosters in the wash," one Redditor writes.

Lots of shoes in the shoe box
Toru Kimura/istockphoto

Deodorize Your Shoes

With a handful of (clean) cat litter and a stray sock, you can quickly make a shoe deodorizer. Fill the sock up a little more than halfway with the moisture-wicking, scented clay, tie the ends, and stuff them in your stinkiest pair of sneaks.