How to Make Crusty Socks Not So Crusty in the Laundry


Imagine buying a pair of socks, but you notice they’ve become crusty after washing them. It gets you worried because you don’t remember using harsh detergents. For starters, socks become crusty when your washing machine doesn’t wholly remove dirt. Another reason is that you might have used hard water, leading to a buildup in its fibers. According to the Hunker, crusty socks are not only uncomfortable to wear but also become less durable. Fortunately, you can reverse the mess by ensuring there isn’t any buildup from the detergent and hard water.

Step 1: Unfold them

Your socks should be flipped before putting them in the washing machine. When left unfolded, the swirling and turbulence from the washing machine might not eradicate the dirt. These actions further roll the socks, making them difficult to clean effectively. That may result in crustiness.

Step 2: Put the socks in the laundry machine

Every laundry machine has a load limit. If the clothes you’ve placed inside it are beyond the limit, some of them might get disturbed. This is the step where you place unfolded socks inside, ensuring there isn’t an overload.

Step 3: Kickstart the washer

While cold water can also clean socks effectively, you will get better results with warm or hot water. Now is the right time to hit the “normal cycle” button.

Step 4: Adding detergent and baking soda

Fill the washer with water, ensuring it doesn’t overflow. Next, add machine wash detergent and a ¼ cup of baking soda to the water. The baking soda softens the socks’ fiber and removes any dirt that can perpetuate the crustiness.

Step 5: Rinsing with water and vinegar

After the “normal cycle,” set the machine wash to the “cycle.” Now, add ½ a cup of vinegar to the clean water to remove the soap, baking soda, and remaining dirt. The vinegar cleans out the detergent and residue in hard water from the socks.

Step 6: Drying the socks

This is where a fabric softener comes in handy. Add a thin layer of fabric softener to the socks before setting the dryer and tumble-dry. If you don’t have a dryer, hang them out to dry. However, the dryer produces better results than the hang to dry method.

What’s the rationale behind socks’ crustiness?

According to Answers To All, socks become crusty when dirt doesn’t come out entirely during machine washing. Another reason is buildup due to hard water colliding with the fabric’s fibers. The best way to prevent crustiness is by using hot or warm water with detergent and baking soda. After that, you can rinse them off with lukewarm water and vinegar before drying them with a fabric softener or conditioner for the best results.

Which method works best between leaving them intact and turning them inside-out?

The best way to clean your socks is by flipping them inside-out because bacteria from sweat builds up inside there. Start by washing the white-colored socks before proceeding with other colors, then turn them inside out. Finally, turn them right-side-out before tumble drying or hanging them to dry.

Is cold water suitable for washing socks?

No. Soil and hard-water buildup are best removed with warm or hot water. Higher temperatures in water kill bacteria and germs. Remember, colored socks are prone to shrinkage in hot water. So, it’s best to use hot water for whites and warm water for colored ones.

Is it necessary to wash socks immediately after removing them?

Yes. If you wash your socks immediately after removing them when there are fresh bacteria, the issue of crustiness will be less predominant. Alternatively, soak them in cold water with detergent and baking soda or chlorine as soon as you take them off if you don’t have time to clean them.

Is dry-cleaning the best method for cleaning socks?

No. dry-cleaning is a recipe for reducing your socks’ longevity. Also, the method is pricier than other methods, making it a bad idea.

Can you iron socks?

According to No Cold Feet, ironing your socks is the worst form of abuse because it makes them weaker, aggravating wear and tear.

Does wringing of socks reduce their durability?

Yes. Socks are made from fabrics that stretch over time when frequently wrung. The wringing also makes them stretch out of shape, looking unsightly.

Storing flat or folding in balls, which is the best?

It might scare you to lose one side of the pair, so you decide that folding them together in balls is the best method of storing them. In the real sense, you’re making them stretch out of shape. The best storage method is flat. You can insert one side of the pair inside the other and store them flat.

Does inadequate grooming reduce socks’ longevity?

People with long toenails are more likely to experience excessive wear and tear of socks than those with shorter nails. The long nails are likely to scratch the inner fabric, reducing its longevity. Also, if you have sweaty feet, consider getting talcum powder and rubbing it on your feet before wearing them to prevent excess buildup.

Do good-quality socks last long?

Yes. No matter how broke you are, it’s advisable to invest in high-quality socks to reduce your chances of frequently going to the store to buy a new pair. The cheaper the socks, the poorer the quality; hence you won’t enjoy the perks of high-quality socks.


Whether you wear your socks to keep warm or protect your shoes from sweat, they are an essential must-have in your wardrobe. That’s why it’s critical to know how to wash and dry them to prevent crustiness. By following these steps for washing, you will reduce their deterioration. Also, make sure you dry and store them well to make your feet warm and happy, and enjoy your collection.

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