Sockology – The study of the migration patterns and breeding habits of socks in their natural habitat.

Real science is happening here people! I have yet to see studies published about this in the American Journal of Medicine, National Geographic, or Target’s Christmas Flyer. I’m on the cutting edge of sock research.

Armed with a cool test tube and eye goggles that were completely unnecessary props, I have been busy researching a ongoing problem I am experiencing. Perhaps you can relate to my dilemma.

Odd Sock Collection – Evidence Sample #A244P-33

These sock may appear dirty as the lighting in the laundry room is not optimal.
I will just wait and let professionals from National Geographic photograph them for the May 2011 cover.

There were 19!!!! My laundry room has transformed into a dating service for lonely footwear, and nineteen unmatched socks sit atop my dryer waiting for their “Sole Mates”. On any given day that number can be plus or minus 5.

I approached my research in a logical series of investigative steps:

Fact 1: Pairs are placed in the laundry bin

I know they go in here in pairs. That is because I, personally, have to pick them up from strange locations such as the kitchen floor and always make sure I have both.

Fact 2: Pairs go in the washer together

No odd socks were found lurking behind the bins, so they are making it to the washer.

Fact 3: Advance to the dryer

Since none are left in the washer I must assume they all made it to the dryer still in pairs.


The evidence clearly leads me to the conclusion that something is happening in my dryer amidst the spinning and tossing.

Analysis of conditions:
1) Warm air
2) Freeing feeling of being tossed in the air
3) Close quarters of left socks mixing with right socks

Sock Breeding

I can make no other conclusion but the socks are breeding in the dryer

Based on the average drying time of a load of clothes, I estimate the gestation period to be around 40 minutes. The mixing of sock DNA is producing genetically-altered hybrid socks. My sister, PhD in Genetics, can surely confirm the validity of this extensive research.

For example:

A grey sock and a white sock would produce: a dirty gym sock.

A white sock and a white sock produce: a baby white sock.

This logic explains how a load that included little one’s pink, purple, and blue socks produced this interesting specimen:

Evidence #WTH2011-EGADS

Am I the only one breeding socks?


  1. Holy Anklet, Catwoman! You may be on to something.

    Prior to this ingenious research, I had always assumed there was an escape hatch in the dryer.
    The little buggers were jealous of the lint filter, I suppose.

    The only other explanation – and this only works if you’re NOT checking the bin – my younger boys have learned the art of the two -second strip, wherein every stitch of clothing below the belt remains in the pantaloons.

    Great detective work!


    Mitchell Allen recently posted..Solid Gold SupportMy Profile

  2. Too funny Melinda ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a mystery and there is only me here! I have a couple of socks missing and it seems to be the thing. In go all the pairs and then some go MIA ๐Ÿ˜‰ Where to; I know not??!!

    But as you are onto it; I’m sure there will be a continuing study of sockology and you will definitely come “Top of the Class” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Patricia Perth Australia
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  3. From a scientific point of view, you’ve done a good initial sockology study, but there are other questions that need to be addressed, such as “Is there a critical number of odd socks needed in a load of laundry to yield a sock monkey?” I suggest you repeat your experiment with larger numbers of socks to see if this occurs. It could be quite the breakthrough. LOL
    – Marianne

  4. It never occurred to me that they were breeding! Melinda, that’s genius! I’m impressed with your innate genetic skills. Quite impressive. The only place in my house where we can take pictures because of the lighting is the bathroom. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Jessica Sieghart recently posted..I Struck Gold with โ€œThe Benefactorโ€My Profile

  5. I suggest that you submit your study to the federal government right away. I’m sure you could get a huge grant to continue these studies at least until your children are through college.

    As for supportive evidence from this quarter; sorry – our population tends to decrease with each load. I suspect a troll lives in the drier and dines on sock tossed salad.
    Allan Douglas recently posted..A Twist of FateMy Profile

  6. I think you may have finally found the answer! I have even found socks in the dryer that don’t seem to belong to anyone in the family, this always confused me. Now I know the answer, they’re breeding! It’s nice to know that it’s not some strangers sock in the dryer.

    Your science experiments always amaze me, and they shed light on some of life’s most frustrating mysteries!
    Saber recently posted..ShadowsMy Profile

    • Me too! I ask my kids friends if they are theirs, and no one claims them. Makes you wonder if someone is breaking into the house simply to drop off some odd socks. Maybe they can’t take the stress of finding the match and have to pass them off to someone else.

  7. Excellent post! That last photo made me hoot.
    Margaret Reyes Dempsey recently posted..Chocolate Gelt- Bobbleheads- and Hormonal Women- A Recipe for DisasterMy Profile

  8. That’s exactly the kind of innovative thinking that makes your blog so great. You see the things that are right there in front of everyone’s eyes. Like most of your other readers, I’d always assumed socks were disappearing. But now the answer seems so obvious. It isn’t just a laundry room; it’s a nursery, too. And to think all these years we’ve been leaving the unmatched socks alone, waiting and hoping for their mates to show up. You’re a genius, Melinda, and a true hero.

    Oh, and could you tell Mitch not to use the word pantaloons anymore? That really shook me up.
    Charles Gulotta recently posted..Paradise CostMy Profile

    • I was crying laughing at the last sentence. You know Mitch likes to use unique vocabulary even if antiquated. Mitch did you get that memo regarding “pantaloons”?

      I will clean the laundry room more now that I know there are babies in there.

      • Hi Melinda,

        The remonstrative missive has been duly noted. LOL

        Charles will get used to it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t help it.

        I love how everyone has embraced your brilliant discovery. Surely, a Nobel Prize is in your future? Or at least an appearance on Ellen.


        Mitchell Allen recently posted..BrainquakeMy Profile

  9. OMG! This is what’s happening! I don’t want to think about the wild parties going on in my dryer, but still. It can be the only explanation!

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  10. HILARIOUS! I seriously think about this all the time. I don’t get it. It’s like a laundry room epidemic. And the sole mate analogy? Brilliant! Found you from Kelley’s Breakroom โ€” Kelley is one of my homies on my blog. We are a collaboration of genXer moms from all over the map who talk a lot about guilt, dirty little secrets, our love for Ryan Reynolds and sleep deprivation at it’s finest.
    Here’s a sample:
    Great post!
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  11. You have no idea how hard I laughed at the “Sole Mates” comment, man, I’m a sucker for puns apparently.

    When I was a kid my brother told me that the dryer was eating the socks, so that way it had the strength at night to terrorize children. What a jerk eh? Though I do like your theory, and it is much more scientifically proven than mine, I’m still hoping that the dryer is some sort of wormhole or stargate type of portal that will transport me to like Narnia or Middle Earth or something. You never know, those pesky hobbitses may be stealing our socks!
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  12. You aren’t alone in this phenomenon, although I do think the sex drive in our socks is out of control. I actually think some have resorted to adoption.
    Greg – Telling Dad recently posted..My Wifeโ€™s Gramma Bit It –My Profile

  13. Melinda, you post made me smile – I got loads of positive emotions! I have never heard about such science (why not?) and I have never imagined that socks can breed ๐Ÿ™‚
    Your creative thinking is impressive – you can see funny things in very simple things that can make other people angry and disappointed!

  14. What an interesting would-be contribution to our science! I usually worry about identical pairs of socks getting mixed up, and when they are ready to be used again, I waste minutes trying to decide which the correct pairs of socks are. Hmmm, how many unidentical socks are required to make sock monkeyโ€™s partner? LOL!
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