Upcycle old socks into face cloths!

There are two sock related tragedies in life… worn-out socks and odd socks!

So here’s a thought!  Why not repurpose your old or odd socks that would usually end up in the bin!

There’s the ones that lurk in the back of the drawer (or for those who are a bit more organised, in the designated “odd sock bag”. Congratulations.). You really hope that you can find the other one so you keep it just in case, often to no avail. Seriously, where do all the socks go? I’m sure there’s a party going on somewhere in the house (probably behind the washing machine or down the back of the chest of drawers?). I’d like to think they’re having a good time out there, all on their own, but what do we actually do with their old mate?

There’s nothing better than wearing a fresh, soft pair of socks and, in my house, January is usually the month of beautifully bright ankles after the mandatory Christmas top-up. But then there comes the day where you feel something is not right in your shoe and you realise you’ve worn a hole through you’re favourite pair. I usually cling onto these pairs if I love them that much, wearing them holes-and-all, but I recently began to think about what I could actually use them for and I feel quite smug about the answer. Especially knowing that soaring statistics regarding the huge amounts of textile waste ending up in landfill, often with “fast fashion” as the culprit.

Old sock with holeOf course, if you happen to be around kids, or just enjoy puppetry, a sock puppet is an obvious choice for said socks. And, if you’re like my mum, you could use them as a duster or cleaning cloth – I grew up with all of our old clothes being used in this way and it eeks a bit more life out of them before the inevitable. After all, ‘J cloths’, the world’s favourite cleaning accessory, are mostly made from non-biodegradable material.

For those who want to feel as smug as I do about their old socks whilst simultaneously enjoying your skincare regime even more (honestly, I swear by Suzie’s potions) than I think you’ll love these easy, recycled face pads. Reusable face cloths and pads are becoming more and more fashionable as people wake up to the environmental impact of our old friends, the [evil] cotton wool pads and the trusty [but also evil] face wipe.

Tips: As you’ll be using this on your face, try to go for soft socks, preferably made from natural materials like bamboo.

All you’ll need is your sock of choice, some scissors and (optional) a mesh bag or two for storing and washing.

  1. Cut the toes off
  2. Then cut the heel out and any other tatty bits
  3. Then cut the band off (those who are really savvy could use this as a hairband?)
  4. Then cut down the ‘tube’ of the sock pieces to make flat square
  5. Depending on the desired size, continue chopping or leave larger
  6. Pop them into your preferred storage vessel. (I have one bag for clean and another for dirty hanging on little hooks in my bathroom where I use them.

how to make DIY Face cloths from old socks

And here’s where the mesh bag comes in. ALWAYS, yes always, wash your face pads in either a drawstring bag (you can now get these everywhere, even for buying veg in the supermarket) or just stuff them into another sock and pop a knot in the end. We had to buy a new washing machine a while back and I’ve since concluded that I think my little sustainable face pads were probably to blame. They easily slip behind the drum and mess with the inside of the machine so this bit is really important.

Mesh bag for washing small clothing like socksAnd there, you have it in simple, Blue Peter terms. Enjoy!

“One way to utilise your odd socks is just to embrace the fashion statement. Go through and pair them up with as much order or clashing pizazz as you wish and wear them with pride and confidence. My brother’s been embracing this ‘style’ for years – although I’m not sure he realises he’s at the forefront of an eco trend.

And other than that, I also like to fill some of the more boring odd socks with a few heaped spoonfuls of dried, (fair-trade obvs) coffee to hide under the seat of my car. This not only makes your car smell delicious but also adds a little extra to your morning coffee hit and makes for a more alert driving experience. Give it a squeeze to refragrance every few weeks and refresh the coffee every few months.

Words & photography by Kate Jellyman