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The Ultimate Kids’ Smelly Sock Solution

There isn’t much I find more irritating than completing a load of laundry only to find that the clothes still stink. And the culprit is usually smelly socks! If your household includes active kids and teens involved in sports the stinky sock dilemma is probably a familiar one to you. As the barrier between sweaty feet and shoes, socks tend to absorb a lot of unpleasant odors. Odors that don’t always wash out with the usual laundry routine. So, in order to get rid of smelly socks once and for all here is the ultimate kids’ smelly sock solution.

How to De-Stink Your Kids’ Smelly Socks

There is more than one way to get the stink out of smelly socks. And fortunately, most methods use household products you already have on hand.

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a well-known deodorizer. And it’s not just for refrigerators. Baking soda can remove unpleasant smells from the laundry as well. Add half a cup of baking soda to your washing machine once it has filled with water. And allow the baking soda to absorb the socks’ unpleasant smell during the wash cycle.

2. Vinegar

Adding a cup of vinegar to the washing machine along with your detergent when you wash a load of socks is a simple way to freshen smelly footwear. For truly bad cases of malodorous socks, consider soaking the socks in the sink in a mixture of one gallon of water and two cups of vinegar for a half hour. Then laundering normally.

3. Lemons

One of my favorite methods for getting the smell out of gym socks is with lemons. You can add one ounce of laundry detergent to a half gallon of water. Then squeeze a lemon’s worth of juice into the mixture. Scrub your smelly socks with this solution before washing. This can be used on other stinky clothes as well to remove a sweaty or otherwise unpleasant odor.

4. Enzyme Cleaner

Enzyme Cleaners are designed specifically for eliminating odors and stains by breaking down molecules. There are a variety of enzyme cleaning products on the market both for laundry and household cleaning. For smelly socks, you will typically mix the cleaning product with water and allow socks to soak for a couple of hours. Review specific product directions before using any enzyme cleaner.

 

For White Socks Only

For white socks, there are a few additional household products that can be effective in removing odor from smelly socks.

5. Bleach

Similar to the vinegar solution, with white socks, consider adding a cup of bleach to your laundry once the washer is full. The bleach will eliminate odor causing bacteria. Overuse may put holes in your socks over time so use with caution. And please note, do not mix bleach and vinegar together as the combination creates toxic fumes.

6. Hydrogen Peroxide

A mixture of one part hydrogen peroxide to four parts water can be used to soak unpleasant smells out of socks. The solution may bleach out the color so is best with white socks only. Allow socks to soak for an hour in this solution before washing normally.

Other Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Wash sweaty socks immediately after wearing. It likely doesn’t surprise you that sweaty socks get more stinky the longer they sit in a damp ball in your hamper. Not to mention they spread their scent to other laundry in the hamper.
  • Dry socks thoroughly before wearing or putting away. Damp socks worn or in a drawer will smell musty.

Prevent Smelly Socks by Preventing Smelly Feet

This wouldn’t be the ultimate kids’ smelly sock solution if we didn’t discuss preventing smelly socks in the first place. Is deodorizing your kids’ smelly socks adding time and inconvenience to laundry day? Or are their smelly feet causing embarrassment or frustration for your kids? Consider trying some of these smelly feet prevention tips.

  1. Use spray antiperspirant on your feet or in your shoes.
  2. Purchase deodorizing insoles for shoes, particularly athletic shoes or favorite shoes worn daily.
  3. Buy moisture wicking socks that wick sweat away from the foot.
  4. Go barefoot at home to air out sweaty feet.
  5. Consider a deodorizing foot soak.

Fresh Smelling Socks

Smelly socks are one of a mom’s great laundry challenges. I hope the tips from the ultimate kids’ smelly sock solution have your family’s footwear smelling fresh and clean again.

About the author

Elizabeth Voyles

Elizabeth Voyles (@evoyleswrites) is a freelance writer and blogger specializing in parenting and organization topics. In between writing gigs, Elizabeth loves hanging out with her husband and their two young daughters, binge watching shows on Netflix and reading trashy romance novels.

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