Skip to main content

Mystery solved: Your washing machine actually could be eating your socks

Americans have been losing socks for generations, accepting it as one of life’s unknowables. It turns out there was no mystery after all, Today Home reports. Washing machines have been eating our socks for at least 110 years.

Social media, a twenty-first-century invention, helped spread the news of the solution to a problem that likely began in the twentieth century with the invention of the electric washing machine.

Last year Bored Panda user Cathy Minz posted details of what happened when her husband tried to repair a commercial washing machine in the laundry room of a mobile home park. The short version: the bottom of the machine was packed with socks.

In mid-April 2018 Twitter user Sarah Rose tweeted one of the photos from Minz’s original post with the comment, “sooo, I no longer feel like a crazy person for losing random socks…”

soooo, I no longer feel like a crazy person for losing random socks… pic.twitter.com/EElcrcKnfB

— Sarah Rose (@1SarahRose) April 20, 2018

And now we know what happened to our own missing socks.

It’s likely that sock-eating washing machines aren’t a recent phenomenon. Chances are good the problem began in 1908, or soon after. That was the year Chicago-based Hurley Machine Company introduced The Thor, the world’s first fully electric-powered washing machine, invented by Alva J. Fisher.

The history of the washing machine

Today Home consulted with GE Appliances quality engineer James Darmstadt to validate the possibility of a washing machine secretly hoarding dozens of socks.

Darmstadt confirmed that laundry appliances consume socks. He also explained how it happens.

According to Darmstadt, the front-loading commercial washing machine in the laundry room probably had a hole in the washer door’s rubber ring gasket. When the washer door is closed, the gasket seals the space to prevent water from leaking around the door. During a washer spin cycle, a sock could get sucked through a small crack or hole and fall into the space below the washer basket.

In further testimony against sock-grabbing washing machines, Darmstadt told Today Home both front and top-loading washers are prone to capturing socks.

“While cleaning, feel the surface and look for any tears or holes,” Darmstadt said. “Tears, slits, holes would be bad. This could lead to disappearing socks as well as water leaks.”

Dryers can also steal socks if lint screens are missing or damaged.

Editors' Recommendations

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
How to save Ring Doorbell video without a subscription
Ring Doorbell mounted outside a front door.

Take a walk through any neighborhood, and you're bound to see a few Ring video doorbells installed next to front doors. The brand is increasingly popular, thanks to an ever-growing product lineup that makes it easy to find a device for all budgets and security needs. But one of the peskier features of Ring is the need for a Ring Protect Plan -- a monthly subscription service that unlocks the majority of the camera's most useful features.

One such feature locked behind a Ring Protect Plan membership is the ability to save Ring doorbell videos. Without a plan, you'll really only be allowed to view a live feed of your video doorbell. The plans are pretty generous, with the Basic plan costing $5 per month and offering video history for up to 180 days, making it a worthwhile investment for homes worried about their security.

Read more
Amazon’s Echo Pop smart speaker is 43% off, and it’s not even Prime Day
The Echo Pop sitting on a countertop.

Usually we see the best Amazon Echo deals around Prime Day or other Amazon sales events. However, today, you can buy an Amazon Echo Pop for a super low price of $23. It normally costs $40 which is already pretty reasonable so being able to snag one for just $23 is pretty great. A useful addition to any room in your home, let’s take a look at what to expect.

Why you should buy the Amazon Echo Pop
One of the best smart speakers around when it comes to value and functionality, the Amazon Echo Pop is a great little addition to your home. Available in different colors to suit the aesthetic of your home, the compact smart speaker offers full sound that’s particularly well suited for bedrooms and small spaces. It’s small enough to blend in while still being pretty loud.

Read more
Blink sale: Up to 42% off home security cameras and video doorbells
blink mini indoor camera white set in a living room blurred in the background

To make sure that your family is safe at all times, you should think about investing in video doorbells and security camera deals. If you're thinking about buying them right now, you're in luck because Amazon just launched a sale for discounts of up to 42% on various Blink devices. As one of the most trusted names in the home security space with their compatibility with Amazon's Alexa, we don't think stocks will last long for these offers, so it's highly recommended that you choose what to purchase and proceed with the transaction as soon as possible in order to pocket the savings.

What to buy in Amazon's Blink sale

Read more