Six Everyday Uses for Your Mateless Socks

It happens all the time. Socks go in the wash together and come out alone. Sometimes they reunite with their mates, and sometimes they are destined for a single life—that may sound bleak, but the truth is they can be quite useful on their own around the house. Here are six ways you can use those clean but mateless socks to enhance your everyday life.

1. Sock Bun
This cute hairstyle is simple and elegant, and can be achieved with a single sock! Cut the toe off a clean sock and roll up the remaining sock into a doughnut. Pull the tip of a ponytail through the center and tuck the ends around the sock. Then roll the sock gently up the length of the ponytail, making sure the hair is rolling with it, until you reach the scalp. Spread the rolled-up hair evenly around the sock so that none of the sock shows, and voila! Finish off with a spritz of hair spray.

2. Storing Holiday Cheer
Socks make excellent storage for holiday ornaments when you’re ready to take down the decorations at the end of the season. Wrapping those delicate baubles and curios in clean socks provides both padding and dust protection, so your favorite decorations can be just as shiny and festive when you take them out next year.

3. Pet Pals
There are a lot of things you can do with socks for the benefit of your furry friends. Stuff the base of a sock with some catnip and a jingle bell and tie off the top for an instant cat toy, or pop a tennis ball in a sock for a fun dog toy. Additionally, your used socks can provide comfort to pets when they are alone or scared, because they smell like you (especially if they’re not washed!). Put an old sock in a dog crate or cat carrier when heading to the vet or leave one on your pet’s bed when you are out during the day.

4. Clean Machine
Just like old shirts and other types of used fabrics, socks can make great cleaning cloths. Whether it’s dusting, waxing or polishing, a sturdy old sock gets the job done, all while fitting conveniently over your hand like a mitt. When you’re done, throw it in the washing machine and use a strong dirt-busting detergent.

5. Keep the Change
If you had a nickel for every nickel you rescued from a pocket before throwing clothes in the laundry, you’d have…a lot of pocket change! Stash your winnings in a spare sock while you’re doing the laundry to keep them safe. Pin it to the wall or keep it on a shelf. Count it up after a few loads and spend it on a new pair of socks! Or save it up for a rainy day.

6. Sock Puppets
Get the kids involved in this fun, creative way to make use of old or unmatched socks. You can also repurpose other abandoned household items like those buttons and appliqués you may have lying around. Using some glue or simple sewing techniques, you can create a cast of characters that will bring down the house!

Keeping Your Kids’ Toys Clean

Has your child’s teddy bear attended one too many tea parties? Could those muddy action figures use a bath before returning to combat? Different playthings require different kinds of care, so follow our tips to prolong the life of your child’s favorite toys.

Stuffed animals. When your child’s favorite lion, tiger, or bear gets dirty, place it in a lingerie bag or pillowcase that’s knotted shut and wash on gentle with a liquid laundry detergent in a fun, invigorating scent. If hand washing is recommended, wet a washcloth with water and mild soap, rub the fur gently, and wipe clean with a damp cloth. Tumble dry at medium heat, or allow to air-dry in the sun. And be sure that the stuffed toys dry completely, to prevent mildew from forming.

Wooden toys. Avoid soaking wooden items in water. Instead, wipe all trains, pull-toys, play fruit, and dollhouse pieces with a damp cloth, then dry well with a soft cloth. For stubborn marks, add a drop of dishwashing liquid to the cloth and rub gently before rinsing with a clean, damp cloth and drying.

Action figures. Gather action figures, pretend tools, and other plastic toys in a sink or tub filled with warm water and a few squirts of fresh-scented citrus liquid dish soap. Submerge toys and agitate for a few minutes, then rinse well and dry with a soft cloth or towel. Keep an old toothbrush on hand for scrubbing hard-to-clean crevices.

Vinyl dolls. To clean vinyl baby dolls and fashion dolls alike, gently rub with a damp cloth. Wash dirty tresses with shampoo, and tackle tangles with conditioner and a fine-tooth comb. For marker or crayon smudges on a doll’s skin, rub with a paste made from baking soda and a few drops of water, then rinse well and dry.

Tub toys. Every few weeks those rubber duckies and plastic submarines may need a scrub of their own. In a sink or tub filled with warm water and a few squirts of liquid dishwashing soap, agitate the toys and rub clean with a soft cloth, then rinse well and allow to air-dry. If mold is present, scrub the toys with kosher salt and a bristle brush, then soak overnight in a bucket filled with water and vinegar. In the morning, simply rinse and dry the toys in preparation for their next splashdown.

How to Wash Your Favorite Things the Right Way

Most people are guilty of playing favorites with their garments, so when it comes to keeping them clean, there’s a lot at stake. Laundry tips and secrets can be super helpful, but also dangerous if they don’t provide the desired result. Read on as we debunk several popular myths—and show you how to wash your clothes the right way.

 

Myth: You can refresh unwashed jeans by freezing them.

Truth: The act of freezing a garment simply makes the bacteria on it lie dormant. So beware, once your jeans thaw out, they’ll be just as dirty (and smelly) as they were before.

The right way: To reduce fading and shrinking, wash jeans inside out in cold water with a detergent made for that a cold cycle, then line dry naturally. (Always check care labels first to confirm that a garment is machine washable.)

 

Myth: You can’t put bras or lacy lingerie in the washer.

Truth: If you throw underthings into the washing machine, they’re likely to get tangled and stretched out, and lace detail can fray from rubbing against other clothes. But hand washing isn’t the only solution…

The right way: Use a mesh laundry bag to protect bras and delicate lingerie in the wash cycle, and hang dry after. Yes, it’s that easy.

 

Myth: Silk blouses are dry clean only.

Truth: As long as the label doesn’t say “dry clean only,” hand washing is safe for silks.

The right way: Fill a clean sink with lukewarm or cold water and a small amount of delicates-friendly liquid detergent. Lightly agitate for three to five minutes, rinse well, and dry flat.

 

Myth: Sheepskin boots can go in the washing machine.

Truth: This will make them shrink, lose their soft texture, and look misshapen.

The right way: Spot clean as needed. With a lightly wet sponge, dampen the surface of the boots, apply a sheepskin cleaner with the same sponge, and gently scrub. Rinse lightly with cold water (don’t allow the fabric to get soaking wet), then stuff paper inside the boots so that they hold their shape while drying. Once they’re dry, lightly brush the surface with a suede brush to soften the texture.

4 Reasons to Love Your Bed (Psst, It Loves You Back)

Your bed is such an inviting place, isn’t it? It doesn’t judge you, it’s always available, and its sole purpose for existing is to make you comfortable. So why spend so much time blowing it off? Here, a few examples of the benefits of your bed’s unconditional love for you.

It can make you more beautiful. Yes, beauty sleep is a real thing! Your skin renews itself while you’re sleeping, so be sure to get seven or eight hours a night. Try to sleep on your back to avoid getting creases or fine lines on your face as a result of being pressed against your pillow. If you have sensitive skin, you might opt for crisp white linens rather than dyed sheets.

It’s an opportunity for aromatherapy. Who doesn’t love falling asleep swathed in sheets with a fresh scent? Indulge in calming scents like lavender and vanilla at bedtime. To achieve olfactory bliss every night, launder your linens with an in-wash scent booster.

It can help you shed pounds, or at least maintain your current weight. That doesn’t mean you should skip the gym for extra shut-eye every day, but hear this out. The body produces a hormone called leptin that helps the brain know when you’re full. When you don’t get enough sleep, your leptin levels drop, which can make you feel hungrier and more likely to overindulge. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can play an important role in your healthy diet and exercise routine.

It gives you time to reflect. Use the quiet moments before you go to sleep at night and just after you wake up in the morning to your advantage. When you’re lying in bed it’s the perfect time to think about what you accomplished during your day or what you’d like to do tomorrow. Use the period before going to sleep at night to unplug from your ever-connected world. When you wake, don’t reach for a device first thing—stay present in the room as long as you can and collect yourself as you get ready for your day.

6 Ways to Keep Clothes Looking Great — Wherever You Go

Tip 2: Double-bag your liquids

No matter how tightly you think the top of that shampoo bottle is screwed on, it’s better to be safe than sorry. While packing, separate your liquids from your clothes by putting them in two plastic bags.

Tip 1: Roll your clothes

Rolling instead of folding your clothes not only prevent wrinkles, it also saves space. And you know what that means—more room to bring home souvenirs!

Tip 3: Pack a to-go stain remover.

Traveling with kids? (Or do you have a knack for spilling yourself?) Don’t forget to bring along a to-go stain remover. Ice cream meltdowns and ballpark mustard stains don’t stand a chance against a quick application of stain remover, meaning you won’t suddenly find yourself down a pre-planned outfit.

Tip 4: When you don’t have an iron, take a hot shower

You don’t need an iron to stay wrinkle-free. Simply hang your clothes up in your bathroom while you take a hot shower and let the steam get rid of unwanted wrinkles.

Tip 5: Don’t forget detergent pods

Detergent pods are compact and easy to travel with, so bring them along to ensure that you have the detergent you love while traveling.

Tip 6: Use dry-cleaning bags

Dry-cleaning bags can be a useful tool when traveling. Pack small stacks of clothes inside a single bag—this will help prevent friction and therefore wrinkles. As you near the end of your trip, tie a knot at one end of a bag to use it as a dirty clothes hamper.

 

How Sleep Savvy Are You?

Can you catch up on lost sleep? Will a cup of warm milk send you to la-la land? Are naps only for babies? Brush up on your shut-eye smarts below.

1. Warm baths help.

True. The warm water raises your core body temperature, and as you cool down the drop in temperature puts your brain in sleep mode. (And yes, a shower works too.) Try it an hour before bedtime for the best results.

2. Sleeping in makes up for hours lost.

False. You may temporarily feel more rested, but chronic sleep deprivation and its detrimental effects on health can’t be reversed by catching a few extra hours of sleep on Sunday. Aim to get seven to nine hours every night for optimal health and mood benefits. To ensure you get the best night’s sleep, keep your space tidy, cool, and as dark as possible. And, of course, be sure your bedding and pjs are super-soft and sweet smelling by laundering them with fabric softener and a scent-booster in a luxurious, layered scent you find soothing.

3. Naps are for babies.

False. They won’t make up for chronic sleep deficits, but research shows that a 20- or 30-minute siesta can improve alertness, mood, and performance.

4. Counting sheep is a crock.

False. Focusing on a mundane task like counting helps block out mental distractions that may be keeping you awake. Try counting backwards by threes. It takes more focus than counting up, and it’s so boring that you’re likely to fall asleep in no time.

6. Warm milk is a natural narcotic.

False. Moo juice offers tryptophan, an amino acid that’s touted as a natural sleep aid. But scientists agree that there isn’t enough of it in cold or heated milk to cause drowsiness—any benefits are more likely derived from the comforting feeling of a warm

5. Beauty sleep is real.

True. When you sleep, the body can focus more on cell repair (skin included) as opposed to other “daytime” functions, such as digesting that hamburger you ate for lunch. And who doesn’t look better after a full night’s sleep? A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that well-rested individuals were rated as more attractive than those who skimped on sleep.

7. Aromatherapy can encourage ZZZs.

True. Studies have shown that certain scents, such as lavender, can promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. An easy way to bring the scent to bed: laundering your sheets with lavender-scented fabric softener sheets.