Gephardt: Does Your Washing Machine Eat Your Missing Socks?

Jun 8, 2021, 6:24 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:02 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah — If it seems like your sock drawer has more singles than matched pairs, you are not alone. A study by Samsung estimated the average person loses about 15 socks every year.

If missing socks drive you crazy, you might take comfort knowing they really can disappear in the wash. But how do they vanish?

“I have a sock monster,” said a frustrated Connie Boyde.

Boyde believes something with a voracious appetite has been hunting down the single socks in her wash.

In recent weeks, she said it has left behind one lonely from five separate pairs.

“I think the machine eats them for sure,” said Boyde.

To test her theory, the KSL Investigators asked technician Tyler Murphy of Appliance Repair by Paul if a washing machine can really eat so many socks.

“Honestly, where do the missing socks go?”

“They’re back here,” Murphy answered as he pointed behind Boyde’s washing machine. “They’re behind the washer. They’ll get set up on top, things will get moved around and pushed, and then they fall back behind.”

But he said that’s not always the case. Sometimes, washers really do devour socks — well, sort of.

“So, you have a rubber door boot here that is secured and locked,” said Murphy. “Inside of the actual washer here, the door boot can pull open and you can get a sock that can go down, like into these crevices. But it’s going to go straight down into your drain pump. Then, your washer is actually going to stop draining.”

Boyde’s alleged sock-eating washer is a front loader.

Murphy said on top-loaders, socks can get pushed up over the drum due to overloading.

“With the design of a top-load washer, the more you fill it… the socks can go up over into it, but the same principle applies,” Murphy explained. “As more water goes in the washer, everything goes down to the drain. It’s pretty rare when we go out and pull a washer apart to find a sock in a top-load washer, but it’s a little more possible.”

Many machines have a filter, Murphy said, that prevents stuff from wreaking havoc on drain pumps. But you will not just find socks: We’re talking coins, wedding rings, bobby pins, and over the past 15 months – COVID masks.

“We’ve seen a lot of the fine masks get down in through the washer and then clog a drain pump, so that is super common with the masks,” said Murphy.

Murphy showed Boyde how to access that filter on her washer through a panel on the front in the lower left-hand side and check it for stray socks.

In this case, none were found.

“We don’t have actually anything in the filter itself,” he told Boyde. “But generally, if you get a sock in your washer, it’s going to work down in and stick right here.”

But not stopping there, Murphy opened up the washer to see if one of her five missing socks somehow made it past the filter and he found nothing, not one trace.

“Your washer is spic and span. Nothing down inside of it,” he told Boyde.

No socks. No sock monster, at least not in her washer.

“I still say there’s a sock monster because the socks never show up again,” laughed Boyde. “They don’t show up under furniture. They don’t show up anywhere. They’re just gone.”

Sometimes, socks can slip past a dryer’s filter if it is not pushed in all the way. Another culprit could be static electricity causing an errant sock to stick to other clothes.

One solution to keep socks together is to wash and dry them in a mesh laundry bag.

But the problem with missing socks could have psychological reason, too. An English psychologist did a real study for Samsung on missing socks and among his among his findings is we tend to look in the easiest, most obvious places, and if the sock isn’t there, we just assume it is gone forever.

So, the next time a sock disappears on you, you might consider a thorough search of your home before chalking it up to a sock monster.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

Location data cracks open police cases, but critics say there’s a cost to privacy

Utah police are using controversial search warrants to scoop up large dumps of digital data. They can be critical crime fighting tools, but privacy experts warn they're an unconstitutional abuse of technology.
2 months ago
A bus driver fills up at a gas station in Brooklyn on August 11, 2022 in New York City. While fuel ...
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Ways you can save money at the gas pump

Inflation remains high for several reasons and one of the biggest is tied to gas prices. But you can bring down the price you pay with some relatively simple changes in your driving habits.
2 months ago
KSL’s Matt Gephardt fuels up his minivan to determine how much gas Google Maps’ eco-friendly ro...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Can Google’s eco-friendly routes really save you gas money?

Gas prices have edged down from their record highs, but they are still a far cry from being affordable for many Utah families. So, when Google rolled out a new feature for its Maps navigation app that says it can save you money on gas by using suggested eco-friendly routes, the KSL Investigators decided to put it to the test.
2 months ago
FILE: Back-to-school shopping (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Saving $ on back-to-school supplies with inflation

With inflation running amok this year, parents are tackling big price hikes on top of the stress. Fortunately, there are ways they can still save money.
2 months ago
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

KSL Investigators help bank customer regain access to his money after fraud incident

KSL Investigators help a fraud victim gain access to his bank account after nearly a year of being locked out.
2 months ago
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

What are the rules for airline travel credits?

After canceling a beach vacation to Hawaii, a Utah woman believes she has $1,400 in flight credits. Ongoing flight cancellations have plagued the summer travel season, and a lot of travelers are being made whole with flight credits rather than refunds.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Gephardt: Does Your Washing Machine Eat Your Missing Socks?