10 Clever Ways to Recycle Old Socks

They say that “necessity is the mother of invention.” I think that creativity and resourcefulness also leads to invention. If you clean out your sock drawer like I did, and you end up with a dozen or more pairs of old socks that you don’t know what to do with, the gears in your mind begin to whirl. Here are 10 clever ways to recycle old socks:

1. Dust Rags

I use old socks as dust rags. The absorbent cotton ones are the best to use to clean and care for fine wood furniture. Just pull a sock up and over your hand, spray with your furniture polish of choice, and dust away! Once the front side is soiled, simply turn the sock over and use the reverse side.

2. Muscle Relaxer

My massage therapist gives me handy advice from time to time. One of the best tidbits she has shared with me was how to use an old knee sock to soothe sore, tight muscles. Take a clean knee high sock and fill it with cheap white rice. Tie off the open end into a knot. Then, place the rice-filled sock in your microwave and heat it for two to four minutes. Remove the sock and place it around your neck, on your arm or leg- anywhere you have an aching muscle. When the rice cools down, reheat as needed.

3. Handpuppet

Old socks can easily be recycled into hand puppets for the kids to play with. All they need are some socks and materials such as colored permanent markers, fabric glue, pieces of yarn, plastic eyes, felt material, et cetera. Your kids can be as creative as they want to be! Once they slide a sock over their hand, they can have fun making a face and decorating their hand puppet.

4. Dog Pull Toy

Have you ever seen those rope pull toys for dogs? My dogs love to play Tug of War, so I make them dog pull toys out of old knee-high socks. All you need to do is tie a knot or two in an old sock, and your dog will have hours of fun playing with you and the kids.

5. Tie Up Strips for the Garden

Last summer I needed something to tie up my tomato plants to their support posts. Rope doesn’t give as the stems of the plants grow, so I recycled old socks for the job. Just cut socks into long strips and use them to tie your plants to posts to keep them straight and strong.

6. Moth Ball Bag

Put Moth balls in your attic, and they’ll help keep Asian Beetles, bats, mice and other pests out. But you don’t want to just scatter them about. So, place the moth balls in old socks first, tie the ends shut and place them in various spots around your attic area.

7. Leg Warmers

Another way you can recycle old socks- specifically, warm, fuzzy knee socks- is to cut the feet parts off and use them as leg warmers!

8. Hand and Feet Softeners

Do you have chapped, dry hands and rough feet? Use this simple trick to make them both smooth and soft again: right before bedtime, rub a generous amount of your favorite dry skin lotion on your feet, then your hands. If your skin is real dry, use Vaseline™. Then, put a pair of old socks on your feet. The socks will keep the lotion from getting on your bed sheets. Plus, they’ll keep the lotion on your hands so it can heal them. Also, recycle a pair of old socks by placing them over your hands. Come morning, remove the socks. You’ll be surprised how soft and supple your hands and feet are.

9. Knot Ball for Sciatica

When a family member suffered from Sciatica, their massage therapist told them to use an old sock to help relieve the pain. (Sciatica is basically a pain that often runs down the back of your leg. It feels like a muscle cramp and it can last for a number of weeks.) Tie a large knot- the size of a tennis ball- in an old knee sock. Then, lie down flat and place the knot underneath your leg where you feel the pain. Roll gently back and forth and let the recycled sock apply pressure to the sore area until the pain lets up. Works like a charm!

10. Doll Clothes

Got a daughter, granddaughter, niece or neighbor girl who loves to dress her dolls? Why not show her a clever way she can make more outfits for her dolls easily? Simply cut the upper part of an old sock off. Then, cut a slit in the middle of the end of the foot. This is where the doll’s head will slide into. Also, cut out two holes on each side of the sock foot for the doll’s arms. Slide the sock over the doll and, presto! She’s got a whole new outfit!

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