Don’t worry—there are actually a lot of uses for the sock who lost its mate! Find out great new uses for socks and tights or panty hose.
Like me, you probably have a drawer or box where you toss all those socks that emerge from the wash without a mate or with a hole in the toe. You can count on females in the household contributing tights and nylon stockings with runs.
My box never gets too full because after decades of practice, 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!
Uses for Old Socks
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- 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.
- Winter runners and walking enthusiasts: pull a couple of long wool socks over your lighter-weight gloves at the start of 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.
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Uses for Old Tights or Pantyhose in the Garden!
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Just when you thought you were safe from pantyhose! Actually, they be incredibly useful in the garden. (If you don’t have pantyhose, find a stretch material.)
- Since nylon is stretchable, it works for tying tomato and other tall plants or young trees to a stake. Wrap once around the stem, not too tightly, before tying it to the stake. The soft fabric won’t injure the plant stem, and it will expand as the stem grows in diameter. This gardening hack is also useful for other plants—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.
- 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!
See how we use pantyhose in the garden!