5 Surprisingly Useful Purposes For An Old Sock

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

That old sock is clean but it has holes in it. So it’s good for nothing but the trash now, right?

Wait a minute now. I’m able to repurpose an old clean holey sock in several different and actually very useful ways. That way the old sock gets several more uses before it’s finally destined for the trash.

5 simple ways to repurpose an old sock. Kitchen Scrubber, cast-iron care, ponytail holder, and MORE! #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)

Repurposing In New Ways Is An Eco Win!

I’ve found repurposing is super simple to do and often requires no sacrifice at all. All you have to do is keep your eyes open for opportunities.

Take that old, clean sock for instance. Once socks get a hole in them are they really any good for anything but the trash?

Well as it turns out, surprisingly, YES!

Come see the 5 different ways I’m able to repurpose that old sock to actually fill helpful needs at the Homestead. And in some cases it even replaces things I used to have to buy!

Cutting Apart An Old Cotton Sock

First I lay the clean, holey sock out flat. There are a few cuts I’ll make to be able to easily repurpose that old sock to various different uses.

First I cut off the toe section. Then I cut off the heel section. And the elastic band at the top is also cut away.

Who knew there were so many handy ways to repurpose an old sock to replace what you used to buy??!! #TexasHomesteader

The pieces I’m left with are the main sock portion that includes elasticized ribbing, a thin elastic band, and a small section of both the toe & heel.

Repurposed Sock For Kitchen Scrubbing Rag

First I’ll tackle that main sock portion. I need to open it up so the cloth is a single-layer square.

So I’ll cut it along the back, along where the heel used to be and all the way to the toe section. Now I’ll open it up flat. The main sock portion is now a square of absorbent terrycloth fabric.

I don’t usually fuss too much, but I do try to trim it into a square-ish shape. The tiny trimmings that result from this trimming are added to my compost bucket since they’re made of cotton.

This small absorbent square of cotton is used as a cleaning cloth for scrubbing in my kitchen. No more buying special kitchen cleaning dishcloths for me!

Whether washing dishes or cleaning surfaces, it’s a good size since it’s not overly bulky like I’ve always felt full-sized purchased dish rags were. 

And the added texture of that elastic ribbing at the top really helps me to scrub countertops, the stove and the kitchen sink.

Repurpose Sock For Grimy Cleaning Jobs In The Shop

When it’s done hard duty in the kitchen and is stained beyond my comfort level, I’ll send that repurposed-sock cleaning rag to RancherMan’s shop.

There he’ll use it for the most grimy of homesteading jobs, whether wiping away grease or cleaning tractor grime.

An old sock is cut into a square and used as an absorbent cotton terrycloth cleaning rag. #TexasHomesteader

He used to buy disposable shop rags for these purposes, but no more. I always have a steady supply of these repurposed sock rags for his use. So here’s yet another thing we don’t have to buy.

When it’s covered in grease & grime, he’ll finally throw it away. I don’t mind, it’s served many purposes already!

From sock, to kitchen cleaning, to shop rag. That’s quite a bit of use for just a sock, yes?

Free Elastic Ponytail Holder From Repurposed Sock

But we’re not done yet. What about those other pieces I cut away? Well that elastic band is turned into a Homemade Ponytail Holder. Yep, yet again something I no longer have to buy. (I’m seeing a trend here…)

 I have several elastics in different colors that I’ll tuck away in various places so I always have one handy.

Repurposed elastic from old sock into ponytail holder. 5 simple ways to repurpose an old sock. Kitchen Scrubber, cast-iron care, ponytail holder, and MORE! #TexasHomesteader

I leave one in the glove box of both our car and work truck. I’ll tuck one into our suitcases in the event I find myself away from home with nothing to tie back my hair.

They actually fit quite neatly into my Repurposed Pill Minder that I use when I pack my suitcase.

Repurposed Ponytail Holders. 5 simple ways to repurpose an old sock. Kitchen Scrubber, cast-iron care, ponytail holder, and MORE! #TexasHomesteader

I suppose you could also tuck one in your gym bag or in your desk drawer at the office. They take up very little space.

I use these hair elastics all the time. And they’re FREE! Who knew this one tiny section of an old sock could so easily replace something I used to buy??

Elastic Sock Band To Secure Packages In The Freezer

And that’s not all. Some of these handy elastic bands are used to hold packages of dry goods closed while they’re stored in the freezer.

 I used to try to use clips to keep packages closed. But oftentimes those clips would come loose while I was rummaging around in the freezer. Ugh, what a mess.

But using these small elastic bands? Problem solved!

 I strap one of these elastics around a small opened package of cornmeal, yeast or other dry goods. These bad boys won’t slip off and it helps keep things much more compact in the freezer.

Securing packages of food in the freezer. 5 simple ways to repurpose an old sock. Kitchen Scrubber, cast-iron care, ponytail holder, and MORE! #TexasHomesteader

No more unexpected spills. And no more digging at the bottom of the freezer for a clip that’s once again popped loose from a package. 

Repurposed Cotton Fabric To Season Cast Iron Skillets

What about those toe and heel sections we cut away from that sock? Well believe it or not, they’re not wasted either.

They’re just small sections of clean cotton terrycloth. So I tuck them away in a small drawer in my kitchen for their final use.

When I’m coating my clean cast-iron skillet with oil, these pieces come to the rescue.

Many people use paper towels for this step, but I haven’t purchased paper towels in decades.

When I clean my cast iron skillet I’ll place it on a hot burner to evaporate any moisture that may remain on the surface.

When it’s dry (and while it’s still warm) I use this piece of cloth to rub oil over the inside surface of my skillet. Oiling Cast Iron Surface. 5 simple ways to repurpose an old sock. Kitchen Scrubber, cast-iron care, ponytail holder, and MORE! #TexasHomesteader

Any time you’re dealing with hot pans you need to use caution. But I’ve found if I’m mindful, the thick layers of the typically double-reinforced toe & heal sections keep me from burning my fingers.

While it’s true that oil’s not a beneficial thing to have in your composter, mine is a *Tumbling Composter so I don’t worry too much about it attracting pests.

And since it’s such a tiny amount of oil anyway, I typically toss this small cotton cloth into my compost after I’m done oiling my skillet.

Done & done!

My compost tumbler keeps composting materials enclosed. #TexasHomesteader

So there ya have it. That old sock has filled many a need for our homestead. And that’s AFTER it had lived its useful life as a sock.

Y’all know what I always say:

Use whatcha got, y’all!


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Tagged in  A list of all our eco-friendly posts. #TexasHomesteader    All our favorite eco-friendly posts about repurposing. #TexasHomesteader

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4 thoughts on “5 Surprisingly Useful Purposes For An Old Sock

  1. Sari

    What a fantastic post! We have always reused socks as rags but we never reused the elastic. I am so happy I know what to use the elastic for now. Thank you!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I was surprised to find the many ways the elastic band on a sock can be used to solve a problem. Score one for #UseWhatchaGot! ~TxH~

  2. Sharon Hickerson

    Cut the toe off and have an elbow protector or even arm protector if the sock is long enough. If you have a dressing on your elbow it will protect it and your bedding.
    Put your hand through the sock using whichever end you choose. Pull it up over your arm with the heel on your elbow.


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