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Come to think of it, why does one sock always go missing in the wash?

The lonesome lost sock is a phenomenon we’re all familiar with. Before you do your laundry, you’ve got both socks on. After, there’s only one left to hang up. While possible that the other one was «eaten up» by the washing machine, there’s another, much more likely theory.

«Beep, beep, beep!» My washing machine lets me know that 95 minutes are up and my clothes are clean. I throw them into my laundry basket and lug them over to my bedroom, where I’ve got my drying rack. Sleeve by sleeve, I hang them up to dry. And come to realise a single white sock is missing.

Here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose my marbles and randomly decide to put on just one sock. So, it must have got lost somewhere between my taking it off and hanging it up. This is a recurring affair.

Come to think of it, why?

The machine has a weak point

Is the myth about sock-eating washing machines really true? «Washing machines have a wide rubber rim between the drum and the door. Between this rubber rim and the drum, there’s a recess,» explains Roman Berther, PR Manager at the washing machine manufacturer Miele. Theoretically, it could be that a sock slips through this recess to the other side of the drum during a washing cycle – especially if the machine’s overloaded.

But, as Berther told me, the last known case of this happening with a Miele machine was decades ago. «With our products, this scenario can be ruled out because our designers have long made sure to keep the recess very small.»

This scenario can also be ruled out in my case – for reasons of space, I have a top load washing machine. And yet, I’m no stranger to the phenomenon of the single sock. And according to experts, it’s probably my own fault.

Probably human error

«Maybe one sock slipped into your bedsheets after you accidentally loaded them into the same wash cycle. Perhaps it didn’t even make its way out of the laundry basket. Or it’s still hidden under your sofa,» Berther speculates.

Marco Serratore, Head of Marketing and Communication at Sanitas Troesch, is used to this question. Customers often ask him for tips on how to stop socks from disappearing. He recommends using sock clips. «This ensures your socks are paired from the get-go.» If that seems like too much hassle to you (like it does to me), you can simply tuck the socks together. Or keep living on the edge.

Brabantia Sock Clips Black, 2 pieces
Drying racks
Quantity discount
5.70per piece for 3 units

Brabantia Sock Clips Black, 2 pieces


In addition to what I’ve heard from the experts, the explanation in «South Park» seems quite plausible, too. Mind you, the dwarves there steal underpants and somehow turn them into profit – but I’m sure the concept is just as applicable to socks.

Why does the second hand of the Swiss railway clock pause before a new minute? Why is popcorn served at the movies? And why don’t beverage glasses go in the same bin as other glass? Everyday life is filled with intriguing questions, the answers to which I’m determined to find. If you have a burning question of your own but no time to research it, shoot me an e-mail. I like doing the dirty work.

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My life in a nutshell? On a quest to broaden my horizon. I love discovering and learning new skills and I see a chance to experience something new in everything – be it travelling, reading, cooking, movies or DIY.

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