What to do with old socks? Top reusable tips to keep them out of landfill

How to reuse old socks

We’ve all had that ‘I really should throw out these old socks with holes in’ moment, or the even more frustrating ‘where is the pair to my odd sock?’ thought (and scramble through the sock draw to find the other one!). It’s not an ideal way to start the day and can often leave you in frustration wanting to throw away your worn or mismatched socks. But since you’re here, you’ve made a conscious choice to make an eco-friendly decision to reuse them, helping reduce the usage of landfill.

So, let’s get to it and go through some ideas of what to do with old socks..

  • Painting or gardening gloves – if you’ve ever had to paint the walls of your house or you’ve upcycled old furniture with a fresh coat of paint, you’ll know the pain of getting paint on your hands and struggling to wash it off (especially awkward if you have to go into the office or school the next day with paint hands). Similarly, gardening throws up the same issues when repotting plants or digging flower beds and you can’t seem to clean the mud from your fingernail (not to mention getting attacked by stinging nettles or thorns). Well, old mismatched socks are the perfect glove solution.
  • DIY ice pack holder – whether it’s a sore knee, back pain or tennis elbow, fill up a (clean) sock with ice, tie it at the end, and use it as pain relief. What’s that acronym the physio uses…RICE…rest, ice, compression & elevation. Let the sock help with the ‘I’ part of it.

Read more: What is Sustainable Fashion? 5 Eco Friendly Brands You’ll Love

  • Cover shoes before packing them – when going on holiday, we often take a spare pair of shoes with us, meaning they have to travel in your suitcase or bag. To prevent dirty soles of shoes touching your clean clothes packed in your bag, cover the spare shoes with your socks and it’ll keep everything around them safe from spreading dirt.
  • Use them as car rags – put them in a sustainable bag and either store them in the boot or glovebox of your car, ready for the next time you get condensation on the windows. You’ll be surprised how effectively they can clean the windows of any damp spots, and you can use any others as a back up if you spill any liquids in the car and have run out of biodegradable wipes. Some people just don’t get it;
  • Repair clothes with patches – if you’re not ready to part with an old jumper or gym t-shirt, and it’s looking too worn for donating to charity shops due to holes, then use your old socks to patch it up. It’ll give both the old item of clothing and the socks a new lease of life… you never know, you could start a fashion trend!
  • Pan holder cover – have you ever made egg shakshuka, and after putting the pan in the oven to get the top of the eggs perfectly cooked, you grabbed the baking hot handle and burnt your hand? No, just me? Well, anyway…you may have done it with a skillet and steak – in both cases a handy old sock is an ideal cover for a hot handle (double them up if needed).

Read more: Best eco-friendly gym bags that are sustainably made

  • Make a mug hug – keep your hot drinks warmer for longer by cutting a sock in half and cutting a small hole (if your old sock hasn’t already got holes of its own) in the side, then place it around a mug. You can show it some extra love by sewing the seams nice and neatly if it looks a little rugged. Janine here did a fine job with hers;
  • Umbrella holder – often small umbrellas come without a cover (or you may have lost the one it came with…easily done), so repurpose socks as the solution. They fit perfectly over the umbrella once it’s been used and can help mop up and droplets before you put it back in your bag or pocket. Double win for the sock.
  • Make a blanket – admittedly you will need quite a few old or mismatched socks to make a big blanket, but you can start small by sewing together two socks at a time until you have enough material to cover a corner of your sofa, bed or donate it to a local charity shop. Don’t forget to give the socks a good wash to ensure they smell fresh!

If you have any eco friendly content ideas, or a sustainably made, environmentally friendly product that you would like us to feature on the site, email us with your details: hello@ecofriendlychange.com

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