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Uses for Old Socks: Let your Gang's Feet go Green

How to reuse old socksWe’ll probably never solve the mystery of the missing socks, but what we can do is keep the orphan ones out of the landfills. If you have a family of four or five and each person loses an average of two singles per year, then you’ll be dangling approximately 10 mismatched socks above your trashcan annually during your spring or fall cleaning. If the socks you are searching for belong to the little piggies on your precious baby’s feet, this number is probably even higher. Regardless of size, shape, or colour, here are a few uses for old socks:

Get Crafty

  • Have a sock gift exchange for Christmas. Sock monkeys, fingerless gloves, snowmen …use your imagination! Sock puppets are great for the car. Keep a few in your glove compartment to amuse your children during a long road trip or when you’re parked and waiting for someone.
  • Make a catnip ball. Fill the bottom of a small sock with catnip and sew up the top.
  • Make a hot/cold compress. Rice (or flax seed) filled socks can be placed in the microwave and used as heating pads. You can also use them in the freezer for cold compresses. Be careful not to use minute rice, which can start a fire. Find out How to Make a Rice Sock safely here.

Get Silly

  • Have a sock party. Invite your kiddie (and/or adult) guests to bring all of their mismatched socks over for an annual sock hop. Have a basket by the front door where guests can throw their singles in. After everyone arrives, blindfold your guests and have them each choose two. Guests must wear their silly socks throughout the party (trading allowed). After the party remind your guests to add their new old socks to their costume box.

Get Practical

  • Save your pretty socks for crafts and gifts and reuse Dad’s old tube socks as rags and dusters. Why not have a whole family of these? You can personalize each sock cleaner with a name and hang your environmentally friendly friends on your unused paper towel holder.
  • You may also be able to donate single socks to your local SPCA. Animals with sore paws can use them as protective coverings. Teachers might consider this pet bed as a classroom charity project.

Get Frugal

  • How many socks do you and your kids really need? And while you’re counting, how many T-shirts and pairs of jeans are really necessary per person? Less clothing generally leads to less laundry. Consider having one large family dresser in your laundry room and you’ll be forced to downsize and keep consuming to a minimum.

And one final green tip for parents: Stick with one colour and type of sock when you’re buying new. That way you don’t even notice when any go missing.

Related Posts about Reusing Old Socks:

New Uses for Old Socks

What to Do with Old Socks

Ten Clever Ways to Recycle Old Socks

How can I Recycle Old Socks

[This post was written by Tara Benwell.]


  1. Great article Tara, I like the idea of putting rice or flax seed in them!! never would have thought of that. You always have great ideas on how to be eco friendly!

  2. another great article tara, with ideas to make us rethink how we do things :)

  3. Thanks Tammy and Ana! We made sock puppets for the car today. I recommend keeping buttons out of the picture entirely and sticking with markers. It’s harder to sew them onto a sock than you’d think! We stuffed all of our sock puppets into the ugliest sock in our pile and put them in the car for the big road trip.

  4. Great Ideas! Tara, to solve your problem of sewing buttons in socks. Use a small piece of felt (or other scrap of material) to sew behind the button on the underside of the sock. That way you’re not competing with the knit material.

  5. My friend was using an old sock to protect her sunglasses in her backpack today.

  6. Thanks for the tip Liza! Hopefully our next attempt will produce better looking puppets-though the ugly characters are often the favourites in make believe world.
    Jennifer: My daughter just got her first pair of sunglasses. She wouldn’t let us use her carebear orphan sock for anything crafty, but maybe she’d use it for her new cool sunglasses! Fun idea.

  7. What a great idea! Love the post.

    I’m volunteering with the Sierra Club Socks Sockathon on November 1 where we’re inviting people to buy wonderful new socks made from organic and recycled fibers with the Sierra Club brand of quality.

    I’ll write a post linking to your post here for suggestions of what to do with socks people are done with when they get their new socks!

  8. Green AND creative…great combo!


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