Don’t Throw Out Your Old Socks Until You See This Genius Reuse Idea

We all have that drawer full of orphaned socks – the ones that have lost their mates in the laundry abyss or developed holes from too much wear. Instead of throwing them out, there’s an incredibly simple yet genius way to give those old socks a new life.

Make Heating Pads

raw rice.
Image credit boommaval via Shutterstock.

All you need are some old socks and uncooked rice or wheat berries to create reusable heating pads. The process is easy:

Fill The Sock

Filling sock with rice.
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Take a clean sock and fill it about 2/3 full with rice or wheat berries. Make sure to use a natural filling material, not plastic beads.

Secure The Open End

Ball of string.
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Tie off the open end of the sock tightly with a knot or piece of string.

Heat It Up!

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Microwave the sock for 1-2 minutes until heated through.

How Does It Work?

wonder thinking.
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That’s it! The rice or wheat berries will retain heat for 20-30 minutes, providing soothing warmth to sore muscles or for keeping hands and feet toasty on cold days. You can even add a few drops of essential oils like lavender to the filling for aromatherapy benefits.

You Can Reuse

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These homemade heating pads are completely reusable – just reheat them in the microwave when needed. They make lovely gifts, especially when decorated with fabric markers or embroidery floss. Best of all, you’re giving new purpose to those lonely socks instead of sending them to the landfill.

 Other Clever Reuses

woman holding finger up. Understanding.
Image credit Damir Khabirov via Shutterstock.

Heating pads are just one ingenious way to repurpose old socks. Here are some other ideas:

Dust Rags and Cleaning Mitts

cleaning products.
Image credit New Africa via Shutterstock.

Old socks can be used as dust rags or cleaning mitts. Simply slip a sock over your hand to dust furniture, baseboards, and even ceiling fans. They are perfect for quick cleaning tasks and can be washed and reused.

Draft Stoppers

Thumbs up.
Image credit Wazzkii via Shutterstock.

Stuff old socks with other socks or fabric scraps and place them at the bottom of doors or windows to prevent draftsand keep your home warm.

Pet Toys

Cute dog.
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Fill a sock with catnip or a tennis ball and tie it off to create a fun toy for your cat or dog. This is a frugal and easy way to entertain your pets.

Garden Ties

OK. Agree.
Image credit Cast Of Thousands via Shutterstock.

Cut old socks into strips and use them to tie back plants or train them up a trellis. The stretchy material is gentle on plants and can be reused multiple times.

Shoe Deodorizers

stinky smelly shoes.
stinky smelly shoes. Image credit goffkein.pro via Shutterstock.

Fill the toe of a sock with baking soda, tie it off, and place it inside shoes to absorb odors. Leave it overnight for best results.

Packing Material

Christmas ornaments.
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Use old socks to pad and protect fragile items when packing for a move or storing delicate items like Christmas ornaments.

Hair Ties and Scrunchies

Image credit Jan Cieplik via Shutterstock.

Cut the ankle section of old socks into rings to create soft, stretchy hair ties. These are gentle on hair and can be made in various sizes.

Sock Puppets

sock puppets.
Image credit New Africa via Shutterstock.

Transform old socks into puppets by adding facial features with markers, felt, or yarn. This is a fun craft project for kids and can provide hours of entertainment.

Ice Pack Covers

Injury sprained ankle.
Image credit KseniyaK via Shutterstock.

Place an ice pack inside a sock to create a soft, comfortable cover. This prevents the ice pack from slipping and makes it more comfortable to use on injuries.

Reusable Swiffer Pads

Swiffer mop.
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Use old socks as reusable covers for Swiffer mops. They can be used wet or dry to clean floors and can be washed and reused.

Plant Pot Covers

terra cotta pots.
Image credit sanddebeautheil via Shutterstock.

Cover plant pots with colorful socks to add a decorative touch to your indoor garden. This is an easy way to upcycle socks and add some flair to your home décor.


pin cushion.
Image credit Tyler Olson via Shutterstock.

Fill a sock with rice or fabric scraps and sew it shut to create a pincushion. This is a handy tool for sewing enthusiasts and helps keep pins organized.

Arm and Leg Warmers

dancer. ballet. leg warmers.
Image credit Nejron Photo via Shutterstock.

Cut the foot section off long socks to create arm or leg warmers. These can be worn under clothing for extra warmth during cold weather.

DIY Dryer Balls

Thumbs up. OK. Agree.
Image credit Roman Samborskyi via Shutterstock.

Roll up a sock and place it inside another sock to create a DIY dryer ball. Add a few drops of essential oil for a pleasant scent. These help reduce static and wrinkles in the dryer.

Soap Pouches

Taking a shower.
Image credit Ground Picture via Shutterstock.

Place a bar of soap inside a sock and tie it off. Use this in the shower or at the sink for a convenient and exfoliating soap pouch.

Christmas Decorations

Sock Christmas toys.
Image credit Alina Reynbakh via Shutterstock.

Create Christmas decorations like sock snowmen or ornaments by filling socks with stuffing and decorating them with fabric, buttons, and other craft supplies.

Coin Purses

Sock coin purse.
Image credit Nancy Beijersbergen via Shutterstock.

Transform baby socks into small coin purses by sewing the open end shut and adding a zipper or button closure. This is a cute and practical way to repurpose socks. You can even find fancier closures, as shown above.

Potpourri Sachets

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Fill socks with potpourri or dried herbs and tie them off to create sachets. Place these in drawers or closets to keep them smelling fresh.

DIY Bean Bags

playing with bean bags. Corn hole.
Image credit Space_Cat via Shutterstock.

Fill socks with beans or rice and sew them shut to create bean bags. These can be used for games or as stress-relief tools.

The Takeaway

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Repurposing old socks is a creative and sustainable way to reduce waste and give new life to items that would otherwise be discarded. From practical uses like cleaning rags and heating pads to fun projects like sock puppets and Christmas decorations, there are countless ways to upcycle your old socks. By incorporating these ideas into your daily life, you can contribute to a more eco-friendly lifestyle while enjoying the benefits of these versatile and handy creations.

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woman cleaning refrigerator.
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  • Dede Wilson

    Dédé Wilson is a journalist with over 17 cookbooks to her name and is the co-founder and managing partner of the digital media partnership Shift Works Partners LLC, currently publishing through two online media brands, FODMAP Everyday® and The Queen Zone.

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