What To Do With Old Socks: 10 Eco-Friendly Ideas

What To Do With Old Socks: 10 Eco-Friendly Ideas

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every bureau has a drawer overflowing with old socks that haven’t been worn in ages. Then there is the age-old question: what do I do with all these old socks?

It seems like such a waste to toss out a perfectly good pair of socks, just because you never wear them anymore. It also takes quite a toll on the environment to just throw out clothing (yes, even socks), since they will just spend at least five years biodegrading in a landfill

What if we told you that your socks don’t need to continue rotting in your drawer and you don’t have to waste them by throwing them away? Instead, you can repurpose those old socks in a number of eco-friendly ways! 

Keep reading to learn all the clever, sustainable ways you can put your old socks to good use. 

1. Donate Them 

First and foremost, the best course of action for old socks of yours is to donate them! Of course, this suggestion only applies to socks that are in good condition. 

If your socks are stretched out, stained, or covered in holes, you should ignore this suggestion and continue reading for other eco-friendly options. If you have some old pairs of socks that look as good as new, but you know you won’t be wearing them again, donate them to your local Goodwill, shelters, and clothing donation drop box locations. 

This way, you are sparing good garments from taking up space in a landfill, and you can provide warm socks to someone who needs them more. 

2. DIY Dust Rag

If you walk around your living space and inspect the surfaces of your furniture, you are sure to find dust all over. It is nothing to be ashamed of; everyone’s homes collect dust, but you can use your old socks to fix this issue. 

You don’t need to go out and waste money on a specialty rag or any “fancy” feather duster when your old socks will be just as effective in removing dust. Some spritzes of duster spray and a swipe or two with one of your old socks will make your surfaces look as good as new. 

3. DIY Cleaning Rag

You don’t have to rely on your old socks solely for dusting; socks can be a great tool for multipurpose cleaning! 

Instead of wasting paper towels, and collecting more unnecessary cloth that will only end up in a landfill, you can use your stained, ratty socks to get the job done. 

You don’t need to feel guilty about getting your socks dirty; you can scrub and muck up those old garments to your heart’s content. It is a great, eco-friendly way to keep your house spotless without creating more unnecessary waste. 

4. Keep Furniture From Scratching 

Channel your inner Marie Kondo and reorganize your space! Doing so will require some new furniture placements, and now you can repurpose your old socks to help keep your floors from getting scratched up. 

We have all dragged a chair across the room, only to find hideous scratch marks — some of which are impossible to come out of. 

Now you can prop the edges of your furniture on your old socks and rearrange your items without damaging your house at all! 

5. Protect Valuables 

Do you have a big move coming up? Are you going on a trip and bringing delicate items along with you? If this is the case, you don’t have to fret about damaging any fragile items, since your socks can help protect them. 

Store your valuables inside socks while putting them away or transporting them during moves. This way, the socks will cushion your items and create a thick barrier that will make it harder for any delicate belongings to get damaged. 

This can be great for the storage of valuables as well. For instance, if you have fragile holiday ornaments that you want to keep safe, you can opt for a sustainable way of storing them by safely placing them inside your old socks until the next holiday season. 

6. Clean Your Car

No one likes dirty cars, but it can be expensive to get them washed. Plus, traditional car washes result in water waste. You can give your car a quick DIY wash, and use your old socks to get the job done effectively. 

Socks are wooly and soft, which are easy on cars, so they will not scratch the exterior. Plus, using your old socks to wash your car will save some extra money on any unnecessary scrubbers or sponges. A sock will absorb water and soap all the same and can do an excellent job polishing it once all the grime has come off. 

It’s a win-win. You save money cleaning your car at home, and you get to help protect the environment while doing it. 

7. Pet Toys

We all love to spoil our furry friends, but frankly, animal toys can be both pricey and wasteful. Depending on where you source your dog or cat toys, they can come with excessive, wasteful packaging and might be made from materials that are not sustainable. 

Instead, you can save some money and give your pets a toy that they’ll love just by going through your old sock drawer. 

For cats, consider taking one of your old socks and stuffing it with catnip, then either tying it or sewing it shut. Tie some old socks together with knots to create a makeshift rope for your dog to play with, or try stuffing your socks to transform them into a chew toy. 

Get creative with your leftover socks and make something for your pets to enjoy! 

8. Arts and Crafts 

If you are a crafty person or if you have some children in your life that you need to entertain, look no further than your own sock drawer for your next project. 

For different holiday seasons, you can use those old socks to create cute, DIY-themed stuffed animals! Around wintertime when Christmas is approaching, you can take some old white socks and stuff them and then decorate them to look like a snowman! Similarly, if you celebrate Halloween, consider using striped socks or orange socks to create a spooky-themed stuffed animal. 

If you’re a crafty adult, transform your unwanted socks into a drink koozie. Decorate it as you please, and have a comfy spot to carry your beverage. 

9. Arm or Leg Warmers

You might not have any use for your socks on your feet anymore, but that doesn’t mean they can’t keep other parts of your body warm. 

Cut the bottoms of your socks off, and put them to good use as arm warmers or leg warmers instead. We all know those winter seasons can be brutally cold, which is why this can be a clever, sustainable way to keep cozy. 

Whether you just wear them around the house or use them as added layers when you head outside during those cold months, your socks will come in handy to create some cute, DIY eco-friendly apparel

10. Sewing Projects 

If you are a skilled seamstress or want to improve your sewing skills, your old socks are a great outlet to practice and take on some fun projects. 

Whether you want to patch up a thick pair of socks and sew a hole to make them good as new, or want to repurpose the fabric of older socks to create fresh items, like pillows, for example, you have found the perfect outlet to do that. 


There are countless ways to repurpose and find new uses for your old socks, without harming the environment. All of the above ideas are eco-friendly and easy to do! So the next time you see your sock drawer overflowing, consider using those old garments in new, sustainable ways! 



Measuring biodegradability | Science Learning Hub

Water waste in the traditional car washes | Bringwash

Why cats love catnip, according to science | Vox

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