New Uses for Old Socks and Tights or Nylons | The Old Farmer's Almanac

New Uses for Old Socks, Tights, and Panty Hose

Photo Credit
Margaret Boyles

Recyling Panty Hose in the Garden and Home

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Growing pumpkins or squash? If you have squash pests, covering them with pantyhose, tights, or stockings keeps them safe and lets enough air in to let the fruit mature! This technique works well for apples, too, and storing onions and garlic. See new uses for old socks and nylon stockings.

Like me, you probably have a drawer or box with tights and nylon stockings that you no longer wear. And perhaps you keep all those single mateless socks that emerge from the wash because you hope the other sock will turn up! 

I’ve mastered the art of finding new uses for them. I don’t turn them into rugs, quilts, sock puppets, doll clothes, pet outfits, or anything that requires real work. Below, you’ll find a (very) few of my favorites. Please add some of your own in the comments!

New Uses for Old Socks

Don’t throw out those old or lonely socks! There are many smart ways they can be useful …


Photo Credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

  • Nothing works better for dusting and scrubbing—or gets the job done faster—than slipping both hands into cotton socks and getting to work. Spritz the palms with appropriate cleaning products and use ’em on the floor, the counters, the ceiling fan, the car, the window blinds, the baby, or the dog. Washable, too, and good for many reuses. Check out some of our favorite homemade cleaners.
  • Unmated socks also make good storage bags, especially for organizing a junk drawer. Use them to store loose extension cords, crayons, or pieces from board games and jigsaw puzzles, or to organize toiletries when packing a suitcase. Use a permanent marker to categorize the contents and a rubber band or twist-tie to secure the bag.
  • Hang a sturdy sock from a hook in the kitchen and toss your spare change into it once a week. At the end of the year, add the accumulated change to your emergency savings account or put it towards a special treat. We use ours, usually about $50, to buy some holiday-feast items that wouldn’t otherwise find their way onto our shopping list.
  • As bar soaps shrink to small slivers, collect them in a cotton sock, tie up the end, and use as a soap-in-a-bag for baths and showers.
  • Make a cold or hot pack: Fill a cotton knee sock or tube sock about ⅔ full of dried rice, lentils, beans, or dried corn kernels. Tie it shut with a piece of twine. Place in the freezer for a flexible cold pack. Microwave for 1 or 2 minutes for a hot pack. For a real treat, slip a couple of warm ones under the covers at the foot of your bed to warm up your feet on a chilly night.
  • Cold-weather walkers and runners: pull a couple of long wool socks over your lighter-weight gloves at the start a winter jaunt. If your hands get too warm, pull the socks off and tuck them into your waistband or stuff them up the sleeves of your jacket.

Smart Garden Hacks for Old Tights or Panty Hose

Just when you thought you were safe from panty hose! Actually, your worn-out panty hose can be incredibly useful in the garden. (If you don’t have panty hose, find a stretch material.)

Photo Credit: Gts/Shutterstock

  • Since nylon is stretchable, it works for tying tomato plants to their cages so the growing stems do not become top-heavy. Strong and stretchy, the soft fabric won’t injure the plant stem, and it will expand as the stem grows in diameter. ​​​​Wrap once around the stem, not too tightly, before tying it to the stake. This gardening hack is also useful for other plants and young trees—and a great way to avoid squash vine borers!
  • As melons, gourds, and squashes are heavy, providing support to the stems is essential to keep them from breaking. Use clean pantyhose or stocking to wrap around the fruits. Here are some instructions and pictures.
  • Protect your garden fruits and vegetables from maggots, codling moths, and other insects by wrapping them in the stockings or nylon socks, when they’re immature in size. Due to the stretching ability of nylon, the fruits will not be stressed and gain their size easily, and the fabric will work as a barrier against these pests. 


  • A leg or a whole panty hose makes a good container for stored onions or garlic. Hang it from a hook in a cool, dry place. The air circulation and flexibility of the fabric makes pantyhose perfect!
  • Collect seeds from your flowering plants and vegetables before they cast them down on the ground and become invisible. Just cover the brown ripening pods or seed heads with panty hose.

See how we use pantyhose in the garden!

Find more great tips for reusing, renewing, and refreshing. Also, get fun ideas for upcycling, or repurposing old objects!

2023 Almanac Club