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Do Dryers Really Eat Socks?

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“The dryer ate my socks.”

For years, the aforementioned phrase has been more urban legend than rooted in fact, something that’s often muttered tongue-in-cheek when folding laundry doesn’t yield a proper sock match. The reality of this conundrum is that there’s an explanation for why you can’t find a sock or two after doing the laundry – it’s more of just a matter of how much effort you want to put into debunking things and truly discovering where they are. Let’s examine some of the possibilities:

Did Your Socks Even Get to the Dryer?

Yes, you read that header right. We want to know: Did your socks even get to your dryer?

You may recall a 2018 story that generated some buzz when a woman at her housing complex’s laundromat discovered that it was the washing machine that was actually “eating” socks. According to the story, a commercial washing machine was disassembled to reveal socks that had become trapped under the bottom panel. The belief is that these socks slipped through some sort of opening in the washing machine’s gasket and became lodged in the space. It’s also possible for some socks to get stuck in between the tub and the walls that hold the tub, especially if you’re doing a large load of laundry.

Other Explanations

There are a variety of other explanations behind lost socks. Here’s a look at some of them:

  • Through the dryer lint trap: It’s important to regularly clean out your dryer’s lint trap, but it’s also important to replace the screen after you do so. If you don’t, small articles of clothing – like socks – could conceivably find their way into them.
  • In other clothing: If you’re drying socks with other clothes, it’s possible that they find their way up shirt sleeves and pants legs. This is especially more likely in the winter months with heavier clothing or if there’s a high amount of static inside the dryer. Feel for bumps inside of your clothes while folding your laundry if you can’t find a sock match or you’ll likely find those lost socks the next time you go to wear that specific article of clothing.
  • Around the washer and dryer: Still, the most likely reason that you can’t find a sock is probably that they fell around or behind the washer or dryer when you were going to load it. Socks are small, so they’re easy to miss. And if they fall behind or get kicked underneath your appliances, they’ll be a lot more difficult to detect.

No, dryers don’t “eat” socks. Unless you count how they may get caught in the washing machine bottom panel or in the dryer lint trap. Most of the time, all it takes is a little bit of effort to properly locate any missing socks. 

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At Sarah's Appliance Repair, we share various articles with appliance information, DIY tips, and tricks, and maintenance helps to keep your home appliances running!

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