Creative Hacks Sustainable Living

Making Useful Cloths out of Old Socks

Do you have some old socks that are worn down, have holes in them, or the elastic has gone? If they have reached the end of their lifespan as a wearable sock, don’t throw them away! You can make them into useful cloths.

How to make cloths out of old socks

Simply get a sharp pair of scissors and cut along one side, all the way from the top of the sock, down through the middle of the heel, and along to the toe, ending at the point that allows the sock to open flat. If there are any holes in the sock, align the path of the cut to include those holes, so that there are no holes in the finished cloth. There you have it – a cloth that you can use for many purposes, including:

  • Use as a handkerchief
  • Use as a face cloth
  • Cleaning
  • Dusting
  • Wiping surfaces
  • Mopping up spills
An old sock, before and after being cut open.

How to look after your sock cloth

When it gets dirty, you can put it in with the rest of your washing and re-use it again and again. As well as saving socks from the dustbin, you are also saving on the use of disposable cleaning cloths and tissues. If you want to, you can use certain sock-clothes for dirtier jobs, and others for less dirty jobs. It is easy to colour code them, assuming you have owned a variety of coloured socks and not just all-white or all-black! I tend to use darker coloured cloths for dirtier jobs such as cleaning, and lighter ones as hankies or face cloths, for hygiene reasons. Stains don’t show up so badly on dark socks. Not that it matters if I am using them for dirty jobs anyway!

Socks with different textures may be suited to different purposes. For example, embroidered socks with textured insides are good for dusting because they catch dust better. You could also cut socks into smaller pieces if you need a smaller piece of cloth.

3 'sock cloths' in various colours and patterns.

Sometimes, only one sock out of a pair has a hole in. When this happens, I make a cloth out of the holey sock. Then, I pair up lone socks that are similar in style and colour scheme to make ‘adopted’ pairs. It’s fun making new combinations, and gives a little extra life to these lone socks whose original partners have gone on to become a sock cloth!

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