How to Care for Cotton Socks: Tips for Laundering and Washing Custom Socks


Ever lost a sock or two and wondered where they disappeared to?

Caring for our socks might not be at the top of our priority list, but it’s essential if we want them to last and keep our feet comfy.

Especially when these are premium custom socks made in Italy.

As your honorary custom sock experts (Socktologists - if you will), we've got the tips and tricks on how to care for cotton socks or any other garments, so you can enjoy their comfort and durability for years to come.

Who knew taking care of socks could be so intricate? Say goodbye to poorly washed, non elastic, missing and mismatched pairs of socks!

Let's dive in.

Table of Contents

How to Wash 100% Cotton: Washing and Drying Dirty Socks

Hang your pair of socks on a clothes line to increase their longevity.
Knowing how to wash socks can increase the socks lifetime

Proper care for socks, whether they are custom made socks or regular cotton socks, starts with adhering to certain techniques to maintain their quality and longevity.

Adopting these measures will help ensure your high-quality dress socks last for years.

Here are some tips:

  1. Wash socks in the laundry machine on a gentle cycle with warm water, but make sure to turn them inside-out.
  2. Avoid using bleach.
  3. Either tumble dry on low or hang dry to keep your pair of socks in top shape.
  4. Remember, washing socks at high temperatures can reduce their life.

To protect your socks even further in the laundry machine, we will cover the optimal laundry temperature, the choice of cleanser, and the inside-out washing techniques recommended.

Washing Temperature for Cotton Socks

We recommend washing your pair of socks is no higher than 30 degrees in the washing machine.

Cold water is the way to go with athletic socks, as it prevents damage or shrinkage.

Soaking socks in hot water can lead to shrinking, fading, and permanent wrinkling (nobody likes that).

Using cold water helps preserve the quality of your socks by thwarting color fading and fabric fiber shrinkage.

Plus, cold water effectively removes dirt and germs without damaging your socks.

So always opt for cold or warm water when cleaning socks or other clothes and avoid using hot water and dish soap, as they can damage the fabric and set stains on delicate fabrics.

Detergent Selection for Cotton Socks

Hang your pair of socks on a clothes line to increase their longevity.
Knowing which detergent to use is critical, especially for wool socks

Choosing the right solution is a critical decision for getting your custom socks clean and keeping them in good shape.

Adding a mild, enzyme-based detergent to the washing machine cycle is always your best bet.

Tide Ultra Stain Release and Heritage Park Laundry are some of the best available choices for all your socks and other clothes.

Enzyme-based detergents work as an effective stain remover by breaking down certain types of stains and soils that can damage the fibers.

The enzymes target proteins, starches, and cellulose, which are common sources of stains on dirty socks.

Enzyme-based detergents decompose these substances, assisting in stain removal without damaging the sock fibers.

Additionally, enzyme-based detergents prevent color fading and protect fibers from becoming fuzzy.

This way, you are less likely to lose socks due to damage.

Opt for a light detergent to keep your fibers intact and help your missing socks last longer when you find them.

Wash Socks Inside-Out as a Washing Method

Flipping your socks inside-out before putting them in the washing machine is a simple yet effective method to prevent lint accumulation and ensure a thorough wash.

When you launder socks right-side-out, it can cause the outside of the socks to accumulate lint from other clothing and laundry load items, making it difficult to remove.

Flipping your socks inside-out ensures that they get a good clean all over when washing.

Hand-Washing vs. Machine-Washing Cotton Socks

A laundry load in the washing machine
Avoid washing socks in a washer whenever possible

Hand-washing cotton socks has several advantages over machine-washing.

It’s gentler on the fabric, helping your socks stay in great shape for longer.

Plus, it gives you more control over the detergent and water temperature.

On the other hand, machine-washing socks can reduce their lifespan due to the agitation and friction in the machine.

To minimize damage, it’s best to wash your socks on gentle cycles and at lower temperatures.

The upcoming sections will get into the benefits and techniques of both cleaning your white socks by hand and machine-washing socks.

Hand-Washing Benefits and Techniques

Laundry experts recommend washing your garments by hand or using a gentle cycle in a washing machine.
Hand wash socks for best cotton care

We recommend washing socks by hand as it offers numerous benefits. You can:

  • Prevent color fading
  • Keep the fibers from becoming fuzzy
  • Reduce the chances of shrinking or ruining the socks
  • Be more eco-friendly than machine washing, as it uses less water and energy

If you choose to hand wash socks, follow these steps:

  1. Immerse them in warm water mixed with a mild laundry detergent for a maximum of 3-5 minutes.
  2. Gently scrub the socks against each other to remove dirt.
  3. Rinse them off.

Machine-Washing Tips and Tricks

Use a light detergent in the washing machine to clean socks and then tumble dry or hang dry for optimal results.
If you use a washer, always use a gentle cycle on dress socks

Machine-washing socks require specific tips and tricks for proper care. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Use a gentle cycle, cold water, and a mesh laundry bag to keep your socks safe in the wash.
  2. The best temperature for washing socks in the washing machine is no higher than 30 degrees.
  3. Remember to use a mild laundry detergent and follow the care instructions on the label.

Adhering to these washing machine guidelines can help reduce wear and tear on your socks, thereby prolonging their lifespan.

Remember, proper care is key to maintaining the quality and comfort of your socks, especially if they are premium customized dress socks.

Maintaining Cotton Sock Elasticity and Softness

Wash your socks in a low temperature and hang dry to keep them extra soft.
Maintain elasticity for those cute custom baby socks!

Maintaining the elastic and softness of your socks is essential for comfort and durability.

High temps can damage cotton fibers and elastic materials, making your socks less comfortable to wear.

By avoiding heat, choosing the right drying method, and storing your socks properly, you can ensure that your socks, garments or beddings like fitted sheets will remain soft and elastic for a long time.

Next, let's look at how to circumvent high temperatures, the advantages of air-drying over tumble drying, and appropriate storage methods.

Avoiding High Heat

Using rinse or tumble dry cycles that are too hot can detrimentally affect your socks, leading to shrinkage and loss of elasticity.

It can also make the fibers tough and rough, making them less comfortable to wear.

To avoid these issues, it’s best to wash your socks in cold or warm water and avoid washing in hot water.

When drying your socks, steer clear of high heat settings on your dryer.

Instead, opt for the delicate or gentle cycle, which is usually labelled as “Tumble Dry Low Heat” or “Delicate” on the machine.

By avoiding high heat, you can protect your pairs of socks from damage and maintain their softness and elasticity.

Air-Drying vs. Tumble Drying

Hang dry your clean socks after the washing machine inside out to maintain their color, quality and longevity.
You can always wash socks and hang them to dry outside!

The most effective way to preserve the shape and quality of your dress socks is to hang-dry your socks inside out.

When you air dry socks or clothing, it prevents shrinking and reduces wear and tear, making them last longer.

It's important to flip socks inside-out when you air dry to maintain the vibrancy of the color as it offers some protection against color fading caused by the sun.

However, the opposite is true for white socks.

Hang dry white socks and clothing to brighten them.

UV rays can have a bleaching effect which helps white socks and clothing appear brighter.

A tumble dryer, on the other hand, can weaken the clothing fibers and cause them to break down faster, leading to shrinkage, loss of shape, and wear and tear.

If you must use a tumble dryer, be sure to tumble dry low heat or warm setting to minimize damage to your sock pairs and clothing.

Proper Storage Techniques

Store your socks inside out and in pairs to avoid missing socks

How you store and fold your dress socks after you've washed them is an underestimated step in preserving their quality and lifespan.

Proper storage after you wash your socks includes folding lose socks neatly and keeping them in a designated space.

Folding dress socks before storing them has several benefits, such as fitting more pairs of socks into your drawer, making it easier to find the socks you need, and maintaining the shape and condition of your socks.

When you fold and organize all your socks by type, color, and material, you can make it easier to find matching pairs and maintain their quality.

A well organized area, makes it more convenient to fold, put away and grab clean, dry socks from when doing laundry but also helps your socks last longer.

Caring for Organic Cotton and Wool Socks

Sockrates organic cotton dress socks should wash in a cold cycle and air dried for best results

Both organic cotton socks and organic wool socks offered by Sockrates are made from premium quality materials and are designed to last for a long time with proper care - but, that doesn't happen on accident.

Let's go over the appropriate care techniques for organic dress socks, helping you maximize the benefits of your eco-friendly and comfortable sock experience.

Organic Cotton Sock Care

The care routine for organic cotton clothes and socks involves cleansing them in cold water using a gentle cleanser followed by air-drying.

Some recommended non-toxic and eco-friendly detergents for pairs of organic socks include Eucalan, GO by GreenShield Organic, and Tide Free & Gentle.

Wash natural fabrics in cold water to prevent color fading and fibers from shrinking, ensuring your socks maintain their quality and comfort.

By adhering to these sock-care strategies, you'll be sporting the coziest, most long-lasting socks around!

Organic Wool Sock Care

Clothes and socks made with organic wool require a slightly different approach compared to regular cotton socks.

Hand-washing organic wool clothes and socks in lukewarm water with a wool-specific detergent is the best method.

Some good detergent and wash options for organic garments include Sonett’s Organic Olive Laundry Liquid, Nikwax Wool Wash, and Heritage Park Luxury Silk, Wool and Cashmere Laundry Detergent.

Post wash, it’s recommended to lay your organic wool socks flat for drying, as opposed to using a tumble dryer.

This helps maintain their shape and prevents distortion of the wool fibers.

Preventing Lost and Mismatched Socks

Wash socks with our guidelines and see the amazing sock results

Missing and mismatched socks after a wash are common laundry problems, but they can be easily prevented with a few simple steps.

By using mesh laundry bags to store your random socks, dirty socks and clean socks in your laundry room or laundry machine, you can keep your socks together and prevent them from going missing in the wash load.

Let's go over the usage of mesh laundry bags and how to organize socks by type to prevent the annoyance of misplaced and mismatched socks.

Using Mesh Laundry Bags

Mesh laundry bags are a simple solution to prevent losing your socks in the washer.

By placing your socks in a mesh laundry bag, you keep them together during the wash process and prevent losing your pairs in the load.

To use a mesh laundry bag, simply place your delicate socks inside, zip it up, and add it to the rest of your laundry load.

Mesh laundry bags have several benefits when it comes to washing socks:

  • They prevent tangling and snagging
  • They facilitate proper water and airflow for a thorough wash
  • They help socks stay together and maintain their quality during the wash process.

Organizing Socks by Type

Organizing your socks can help prevent lost and mismatched socks. Here are some tips to keep your socks organized:

  1. Sort your socks by type (e.g. dress socks, athletic socks, etc.) during or after a wash.
  2. Sort your socks by color (e.g. black, white, etc.).
  3. Sort your socks by material (e.g. cotton, wool, etc.).

By keeping your socks organized, you can easily find matching pairs and maintain their quality.

A well-organized sock drawer not only makes it more convenient to put away and grab socks when doing laundry, but it also helps your socks last longer.

By incorporating these simple strategies, including using mesh laundry bags for single socks and sorting your socks by type, you can eliminate the issue of lost and mismatched socks, resulting in a well-organized sock drawer and answering the question of “how many socks” you actually have.


In conclusion, proper sock care, including a gentle wash, is essential for maintaining the quality, comfort, and longevity of your cotton, organic dress socks.

Ensuring your cotton socks are properly washed and cared for will keep your socks looking and feeling great for as long as possible!

Now that's a recipe for sock-cess!

And if you would like to create your very own custom socks for your office or upcoming event, you can get in touch with us right here!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put cotton socks in the dryer?

Cotton socks can be washed and tumble-dried without any issues, but wool dress socks should be washed and put in the dryer with the appropriate setting.

For the best results, we always recommend air drying socks inside out after washing them.

How do you make cotton socks soft again?

To make your socks a bit soft again, wash socks with a 1/2 cup (90 g) of baking soda in the load and let it dissolve before adding the other washed clothes.

This will soften them a bit more and reduce odors at the same time.

What are the care instructions for cotton socks?

For best results, hand wash socks in cold water with a mild detergent.

If you must machine wash socks, wash using a delicate cycle with light detergent and cold water to avoid shrinking and dye leakage. You can flip them inside out both when you wash socks and when you air dry your pairs.

To stay updated on all the latest sock styles and tips on how to wash socks, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

Article Written By
Samuel Moses

We offer custom socks of all types and sizes (baby to adult) and lengths (no-show, ankle, crew, knee-high, and over the knee). We pride ourselves on being authentic Italian custom sock manufacturers with the highest level of quality and service for our customers. Try us out today!

Get Started Today with Free Designs