8 Tricks to Remove Black Stains from Your Socks

Do you have black stains on your socks that seem impossible to get out? This article explains several tricks to remove them. Don't miss it!
8 Tricks to Remove Black Stains from Your Socks

Last update: 11 April, 2023

There are different tricks you can use to remove black stains from your socks, whether they are cotton, wool or synthetic, white, or any similar color. After all, these garments often tend to darken at the heel and sole.

Usually, you put the socks in the washing machine along with all the clothes. But to really remove the black stains, you should take some special measures from the time of soaking and even when hanging. We’ll tell you more about them in this article.

What causes black stains on your socks?

Often called stockings, socks, or sock liners, you wear these garments on your feet to protect them from dirt, prevent your shoes from rubbing against your feet, and even to reduce sweating, thereby reducing odors.

However, black stains on your socks often appear on your heels or forefoot, which is where you put the most weight. There are several reasons for this:

  • They come in contact with the ground. While it is beneficial to walk barefoot or without shoes, it’s also true that this can quickly stain these garments.
  • You may not have washed and dried your feet properly, so you’re leaving some of the dirt on your socks.
  • It’s also possible that your shoes are dirty inside, particularly in the insoles.

In addition to the black stains, balls or lint may form, the garments may become smelly, or the fabric may wear out and tear in areas where the toes stick out. All this can mean that, sometimes, even in a short time and with a few washes, socks look old and you have to throw them away.

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Tips to remove black stains from your socks

You may not often wonder how you should properly wash your socks. In fact, perhaps you take it for granted: you just throw them in the washing machine and that’s it. Yes, that’s fine. But then why do the black stains persist?

First of all, you should know that, in certain cases, you must take some extra steps to really clean them. Here are some simple tricks to apply to remove black stains from your socks.

1. Separate the stained garments

The first measure to take is to separate the clothes.

Preferably, you should wash the socks together with the garments that are made of the same or similar fabrics. On the other hand, it is also advisable to separate them by color when washing and avoid mixing dark and light tones. And if there are stained socks, they will require special treatment.

Separate your whites from your colors
Separating garments by color and type of fabric also involves socks.

2. Soak them in a bucket with bleach

Once you’ve set aside the socks with stains, you should soak them. If they’re white garments, you can use bleach, also known as chlorine bleach or sodium hypochlorite.

To do this, follow this procedure:

  1. In a bucket or bucket with two liters of cold water, add 20 milliliters of bleach.
  2. Put the socks in the bucket and let them soak for 30 minutes or more.
  3. Then, rinse with cold water and wash as usual.

If you’re going to wash by hand, it’s advisable to wear gloves when inserting and removing the garments from the bucket or when rubbing them, as this may cause allergic reactions or worsen the symptoms of dermatitis.

3. Soak your socks in vinegar

In the case of colored garments, it’s not advisable to apply chlorine bleach, because it would fade. Instead, you can use vinegar combined with detergent and a little salt, which will help you avoid losing their color.

The procedure is similar to the previous one:

  1. In a bucket half full of water, add half a cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of salt, as well as two tablespoons of detergent.
  2. You leave the garment to soak for two hours or overnight if you consider it necessary.
  3. Then, rinse and wash as usual.

The use of vinegar for washing or cleaning is equally effective. And by comparison, it doesn’t carry the same risks as bleach, plus it is biodegradable, according to studies on the subject.

4. Baking soda

You can also use baking soda for linens. This product is considered a good option to help remove black stains from socks.

To do so, follow this procedure:

  1. Slightly dampen the garments to be washed.
  2. Dissolve a tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of water, forming a thick paste.
  3. Spread it over the stains.
  4. Rub gently with a used toothbrush.
  5. Then leave it for fifteen minutes to act.
  6. Finally, rinse it with warm water and put it in the washing machine.

5. Use lemon

There are natural products, such as lemon, that also help to remove stains. This can also be used before washing.

To do this, you must cut the fruit in half. You can apply half a lemon on each previously moistened sock.

With the part of the pulp, rub vigorously where the stain is, impregnating the sock with the juice. Without squeezing, hang the garment in the sun for two hours. Then, rinse with warm water and wash as usual.

6. Hydrogen peroxide

On the other hand, there’s research that indicates that a homemade mixture with hydrogen peroxide homemade mixture with hydrogen peroxide is as effective as bleach and much safer and more cost-effective.

To do this, Pour a little hydrogen peroxide on the stain and let it act for a few minutes.. Then, soak in cold water to loosen the dirt. Finally, wash as usual.

Do not rub or scrub the garment when you have applied the hydrogen peroxide. That would only make the stain spread further.

7. Take precautions when washing

When putting socks in the washing machine, it’s very important to take into account some considerations with socks:

  • It’s recommended to turn them inside out before putting them in (i.e. wash them inside out).
  • Do not wash together with delicate garments or jeans.
  • Use mild detergent in the tub or machine, but no fabric softener.
  • Do not use a tumble dryer, as the heat deforms them.
  • Spinning should be at low revolutions.
  • Use water at 30 degrees Celsius.
  • Program a short wash cycle.
  • Shake a little before hanging.
Washing stained socks
In the washing machine, opt for short cycles with warm water for heavily stained socks.

8. Final tips for hand washing stained socks

If you are going to wash by hand, you should also do it with lukewarm water and avoid the use of softeners and strong detergents. And before hanging them out to dry, shake them a little, i.e. without squeezing the socks.

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How to avoid black stains on socks

Keeping your socks clean should be an important part of your routine as well as your hygiene. This prevents the appearance of bad odors and the formation of fungi that cause health problems in the feet.

However, to extend their useful life and avoid the formation of black stains, it is advisable to take into account some recommendations:

  • Do not walk in socks alone. If you’re going to walk barefoot but you are very sensitive to the cold, you should have special socks for this (preferably dark ones with protective soles).
  • Wash and dry your feet well before putting on your shoes. This is very important not only for your socks, but also for your health.
  • Wash the insoles of the shoes, especially if they’re ferquently worn or sports shoes.
  • In the case of other types of footwear, you should clean the inside well, using a cloth dampened with a little alcohol.

Always wear new socks every day

Along with shoes, socks are garments that are very close to the floor. Therefore, they are very exposed to getting dirty.

Because of this, they need to be washed very frequently.

Luckily, with certain measures, you can extend their lifespan, making them look clean and odor-free. This doesn’t take long and saves you the need to go to the store to buy new pairs.

However, it’s worth clarifying that these tricks to remove black stains from socks may not work in all cases. In fact, everything will depend on how long they have been stained.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.