The Sock Monster Revealed

The Sock Monster Revealed

If you’re not familiar with the sock monster, it’s the name of an internet phenomenon that refers to all the socks that seem to disappear in the laundry cycle. Even though you meticulously separate each pair of your socks, one will inevitably get lost in the wash and never be seen again – until you reach down into your hamper and find one lone sock with one foot missing, which leads you to believe that some sort of monster took it from you as punishment for not separating your socks like you said you would. But what if the sock monster isn’t so scary after all?

Washing Machine Size

For example, if you have a large load of clothes to wash, opt for an agitator with extra space to accommodate bulky items. If you’re on a budget, consider investing in front-load washers which can cut down on water and energy usage. Most importantly, don’t be tempted by a low price tag; look for an agitator model that comes with all of your must-have features. Just because you paid less doesn’t mean it’s going to do its job any better or last any longer than a more expensive machine! After all, what is your time and money worth?

Washing Machine Speed

If you’re not careful, your washing machine can essentially create sock monsters. If you wash your clothes at too high a temperature (or use bleach or fabric softener), socks will get damaged and start to fray—making them look like they were attacked by a monster (hence Philosockphy). To avoid these monsters in your laundry: Use cold water; lower temperatures are gentler on fabrics than higher temperatures. And try using less detergent. With less soap, there’s less suds to weigh down socks as they spin around inside of your washing machine during a cycle. For an extra-crisp clean, dry them in a dryer after they come out of the washer.

Detergent Type

If you use regular detergent, your socks could be disappearing because it contains optical brighteners. Optical brighteners make whites look white by attaching to dirt and turning it blue-ish. They’re effective but can have some unintended consequences—one of which is that they’re not good for sensitive skin (yours, or your socks). A better choice would be a detergent designed for sensitive skin. Since you’re also trying to save money, another idea is to switch to a free or natural detergent; many of these don't contain optical brighteners but do just as good a job as their mainstream counterparts—and at least in theory, save you money on energy costs since they're made from plant-based ingredients and aren't chemically processed.

Sort by Color, Fabric Type, or Price

Even if you already have a system in place for keeping your socks together, it might not be ideal. If your socks aren’t piling up in stacks, they could very well be lost somewhere within your pile. To find out whether that’s true, sort all of your socks by color and then layer them neatly into piles on top of each other. If you have 10 black pairs and 1 red pair left after sorting, look for a red pair at the bottom of one of those piles—or you might want to consider leaving them on their own so they don’t get buried under all those black ones.

Hangers (Cardboard? Plastic?)

I’ve been doing some work around a house we own up in North Carolina. One of my employees put all his clothes on hangers for storage in our closet, except for one pair of socks. He came back a week later and could not find them anywhere. I came up with a hypothesis that these socks were kidnapped by an entity from another dimension that feeds on socks and only leaves behind two empty circles hanging in space as evidence of its existence. My research into this phenomenon led me to discover that Philosockphy is used as a word to describe entities that feed on large quantities of clothing, but prefer socks.

Laundry Room Location

The location of your laundry room is important to prevent silly monsters like Philosockphy from happening. If possible, keep your laundry area close to a main door to help minimize time between dirty clothes and clean clothes. Keep in mind that you don’t have to have a dedicated laundry room; if it makes sense, you can put a small hamper near wherever people drop their clothes as they take them off. This helps minimize the distance from dirty clothes (and its potential Philosockphying) and clean clothes. And it also means you’re more likely to notice when someone needs socks—or realizes he’s lost one!

Space Near Your Washer/Dryer for Piles

Keep an extra hamper or basket close to your washer and dryer. Every time you take a load of laundry out, drop in all socks before taking it to your room. That way, every day you'll be reminded that those socks still need to be paired up. If they don't get paired up right away, there won't be a pile on your floor that could develop into sock monsters! It's also smart to have some empty baskets on hand for when you do find a pair and just want to toss them into something until laundry day.