Emergency Uses for Old Socks

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Some of the most commonly thrown out items of clothing are old socks.  Even if you are careful about keeping them together, invariably, one will get lost.  Don’t throw them out – there are some good emergency uses for old socks.  I keep a bag of clean, mismatched socks for cleaning.

Here are a few more ideas:


Instead of using paper towels, save a few tube socks and use them for dusting. Put your hand inside the sock and dust your surfaces.  Even the ones with holes can be salvaged for dusting.

 Warm your hands

Put socks over your hands before putting on gloves to give you an extra layer of warmth.

Prevent Door Drafts

You can also fill up the sock with other materials such as rags and use as a barrier under doors or windows to keep draft from entering your home.

Layer up

Of course, you can wear old socks under other socks as another layer of insulation for when it gets really cold. No one is going to see them nor care if they are mismatched.

Heating pad for aches and pains

Fill up and old cotton sock (must have no holes in it) about 1/2 – 2/3 full with rice and sew the edge shut. You now have an instant warmer.   Microwave the rice sock for one to two minutes and apply it to the affected area.  Or, use it to warm yourself up in the winter.

Ice pack

Similarly, you can use an old sock when you need an ice bag:  Fill a baggie with ice, zip it shut and place inside a sock.  The sock acts like a barrier between the ice and your skin.

Hiding Place

I sometimes hide extra cash inside an old sock and throw them among others. Just make sure the sock does not have any holes and remember where you stashed it.


A large handful of coins inside a sock with the open end tied together can be used as a makeshift weapon in an emergency situation if you are being attacked.

Filter for Water

If you are desperate, use a clean sock to strain out solids from water.  You will still need to boil or purify the water, but at least you can remove rocks and other debris.


A single sock can be used instead of a sponge or scrubber.

Shoe Polisher

You can use an old sock to polish old shoes.  See Basic Shoe Care for tips and use your old socks as rags.

Cushion for Packing

I’ve used old socks to pack away fragile items such as Christmas ornaments, porcelain etc.  You can also use them to wrap shoes before placing in your luggage.

Prevent Scuffing

When moving furniture, wrap old socks around chair legs and other furniture parts that may scuff the floor or walls.

With all these multiple uses, you’ll want to give your old socks a second chance before throwing them in the trash.

Please share in the comments your favorite uses for old socks.

© Apartment Prepper 2015




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  1. Use whole or cut off socks to put around canned jars of food. Just slip the sock half over the jar or slip the jar inside. By cutting off the toe, the foot part can be used on a pint or half pint jar.

  2. More than one person has kept themselves alive by putting a rock in a sock and lowering it down into a deep well or bore-pipe to access water, bringing it back up to suck the moisture. Also a sock can be used as a pressure bandage or to simply stop spare rounds jiggling around in your pockets. And lets not forget using your old socks for toilet paper!!! 😉

  3. when I was in the Navy, Guys Painting Railings would put on rubber glove, then a Sox, dip it in Paint, wrap your hand over the rail you get a nicer paint job than with a brush.
    another thing;
    washing your rims on your car so as NOT to get cut from sharp metal, wash the rim with a sox on your hand.

  4. I use old socks to keep electrical cords on power tools tidy. Also, to keep lengths of rope from getting tangled.

  5. I cut off the toes and use the old socks around my canning jars too. I live in earthquake country and want to minimize damage to my canning food storage. Won’t be much help if there’s a 9.0 magnitude quake but might save some of my stash in a 7.0 or so. Worth a try.

  6. Fill sock with new cat litter sand and located to your car. It suck moisture and winter time helps to keep car windows clear from inside.

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