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How to wash nice cotton socks

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by jslade, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. jslade

    jslade Senior member

    Dec 6, 2010
    I purchased a few pairs of cotton Pantharella socks a few months back, and have been wearing them over the summer in lieu of the wool socks that I usually wear.

    My question is: what is the best way to go about washing these socks?

    I don't want to overthink it since at the end of the day, they're socks, but at the same time, I don't want to trash them either. What I've been doing is throwing them in the washing machine with my other clothes and some detergent, and then hanging them up to dry. However, when they come out of the washing machine, they're always very "unpleasant" to the touch. I'm not sure how to describe it. They're just not that soft anymore.

    Any tips?
  2. jerrybrowne

    jerrybrowne Senior member

    Jul 29, 2009

    I always machine wash my cotton and wool Pantharellas on the delicate setting, then throw them in the dryer on low. I know it's bad for them, and the wool socks do pill a bit, but comfort is more important than the longevity of the sock IMHO.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012
  3. Liquidus

    Liquidus Senior member

    Mar 7, 2009
    San Francisco, California
    My marcoliani socks feel fine after washing. Do you still have that problem after they've dried?
  4. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

    Jan 19, 2010
    Air drying makes fabrics stiffer than machine drying. Your problem is that you aren't tossing them in the dryer like everything else.

    Do people really think dryers are evil beasts that shred and destroy clothes after a few washes? They're not the best thing for clothes, but they're really not anywhere near as bad as they're often made out to be on here.
  5. GBR

    GBR Senior member

    Mar 15, 2006
    I fear that you are over-thinking it - I wear cotton socks all the year round but I just toss them in the washing machine with anything else cotton. Whilst they are a little stiff when dried, that is purely natural and they quickly regain their suppleness when you handle them. You will surely find that this with any cotton.
  6. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Senior member

    Mar 26, 2012
    sTeALiN yO cAr
    I wash all my socks (aside from pure cashmeres*) in the washing machine on the gentle cycle, in a protective bag, with a mild detergent like Woolite. I dry them on hangers next to a fan, so they can get a little bit of air circulation while drying. The air flow reduces the crispiness of the socks while drying.

    *Cashmere socks get hand washed in the sink with Woolite, then air dried.

    I never put socks in the dryer, regardless of the socks' composition. If I'm traveling and in a pinch, cotton socks can go in the dryer once or twice without much fear of damage. But I wouldn't make a habit of doing it.

    The dryer isn't some sort of instant death machine for fabrics, but it certainly isn't kind to them. Ever wonder where all that lint that accumulates in the catch in the dryer comes from? That's fiber, sheared off of your clothes. Proof positive that the dryer isn't the best thing in the world for them.
  7. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

    Sep 30, 2009
    The Arena - Centerfield
    One common problem what occurs from machine washing / drying is the 'pilling' that forms on the fabric.Example of pilling.....

    Cotton, wool or other, I will wash my socks in a sink of cold water. Add 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent, stir well, then add socks. Before adding the socks to the water, turn the socks inside-out. This will make it far more efficient to clean and also protect the outer part of the sock somewhat. Let the socks soak for 30-60 minutes, then rinse several times, squeeze out excess water, lay flat and shape them back to their original shape, then hang to dry, still inside-out. Wash her socks too while doing your own, she will appreciate it.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012

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