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Socks and Small Items In The Machine

Socks and Small Items In The Machine

We've all had those days when we go to empty the washing machine, sort the laundry, and then realise we're missing a sock.

When your washing machine has "eaten a sock", the first thing to check is the cliff. This is the rubber seal around the door. When worn, it is easy for a sock or something else small to slip between while the machine is running. So it is good to carefully check under this to see if any socks are hiding just underneath.

If a sock does slip further than you can see/reach, this usually isn't a major disaster, and probably happens without you even noticing (if you don't keep track of your socks). Most of the time, the turning of the drum will wear the sock away, disintergrating the material into small pieces that are then washed away. This will not harm your machine.

However, the occasion when a lost sock can cause damage is when the sock moves further into the machine and jams components. This could result in your drum not being able to rotate. A sock could also find it's way into the drainage system, clogging your machine and causing potential draining issues.

The Case Of The Disappearing Sock

It seems our socks always disappear after every laundry session, but most of the time, it isn't the fault of the machine. The most common reasons for disappearing socks are:-

  • The sock is overlooked in the laundry basket, or dropped when moving the laundry.

  • Socks can remain in a leg of a trouser, or tangled up with other laundry, so get separated from their partnet.

  • Another family or household member has "borrowed" the sock to complete and off pair of their own, meaning you are left with an odd one.

  • Sock draws can also be filled with orphan socks, if getting dressed in a hurry has resulted in grabbing any two socks. Then after laundry loads, you are left with plenty of odds and ends, making it seem like they've gone missing in the machine.

So what are the best tips to keep your socks from going astray, leaving you with a mass of orphan socks or mismatched pairs?

Keep Them Together

Before putting socks in the washing machine, attach pairs toghether. You could use safety pins, crocodile clips, or even simply fold the tops together, or tie each pair together. The best solution is a sock clip, which is specifically designed to keep socks together without damaging your socks or machine while they wash.


Doing a load of only socks can help avoid them getting lost in the bustle of all your other items. To keep them all safe, you could also use a pillow case and wash them inside that, or a special laumdry bag to keep all the small items together in the machine.

Keep Track

Keeping track of the socks can help you from ending up with millions of odds and ends. Before you wash, pair up all the socks, then do the same at the end. This means you can know exactly what goes in your machine, and can see if something doesn't come out.

Mind Your Step

When collecting your laundry, it easy to drop a sock, or maybe leave one behind under the bed, or at the bottom of the laundry basket. A helpful task kids could do is pair socks before putting them in the laundry basket so none get lost.

Check The Machine

At the end of the cycle, socks can sometimes get stuck to the sides of the machine, or - like mentioned earlier - slip behind the cliff. Make sure to thoroughly check your machine when emptying your load, otherwise something could get left behind just to get lost in the next load of laundry, or slip further into the machine and get lost forever. Another thing to consider is how socks can get stuck in amongst clothes, sheets, or towels. So make sure to shake out all items before folding and putting them away, so you won't lose any stray socks.

Keep Odd Socks In One Place

Collecting the unmatchable socks in one place will allow you to pair them if their partner turns up once again. They can also be used for other purposes, or paired up with other odds as long as you don't mind the mismatched look.

How To Get A Sock Out The Machine

If you know the sock has slipped into the tub, and you would prefer to move it, then you could try these techniques to pry it out.

First try the heating element:

  • Turn the washing machine around as you will need access to the back of the machine.

  • Loosen the hose on the back of your washer.

  • Also loosen the screws of the top cover of the machine and remove it.

  • Next, remove the heating element so that this hole is released. This may be in different positions for various makes and models, but usually is at the bottom of the tub. Make sure to take photos of the electrical connections so that you don't get mixed up when putting it back.

  • Now, through this access, you can try to locate the item of clothing, and then remove it with some kind of hook (maybe a wire coat hanger).

What To Do If The Sock Has Entered The Draining System?

This is definitely a more challenging task, as clothing that has entered the system can block pipes, or worse clog the pump. If the washing machine is no longer draining properly, then this can be one of the causes. Follow our repair article on diagnosing and fixing drainage issues to find out what could be causing your machine to not drain properly.

Get In Touch

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If you need any help finding the part that's right for your machine, then feel free to get in touch with us via the email above or our contact form here and our customer service team will try and help you find what you're after. Make sure you know your type (model) number when searching for parts to see all compatible with your particular appliance.

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