Dear Kay, and sock knitters the world around,
What a stunning response: more than 2,300 of you shared your experiences with the art and craft of sock laundering. Today, we share with you the results of what we confidently declare to be the world’s most comprehensive sock-laundering online survey in recent memory.
Question 1: How many pairs of handknit socks do you own or have the responsibility for the laundering thereof? (Remember: all answers are for socks made of superwash yarn.)
1 pair: 3.20%
Under 6 pairs: 23.93%
6-12 pairs: 32.38%
12-365 pairs: 40.40%
Question 2: Do you launder your socks?
Question 3: How often do you launder your socks?
After each wearing: 46.99%
After a few wearings: 50.60%
Once a year: 0.36%
Question 4: Do you machine-wash your socks?
Question 5: If you machine-wash your socks, what setting do you use? Choose the setting that is closest on your machine.
Regular wash: 49.27%
Question 6: If you machine-wash your socks, what type of machine do you use?
Old-fashioned top loader: 49.48%
Newfangled front loader: 48.20%
Obscure European brand that is only large enough to wash 3 pairs of socks at a time: 2.32%
Question 7: If you machine-wash your socks, what temperature setting do you use?
Hot ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND: 0.36%
Question 8: If you do not machine-wash your socks, how do you wash them?
I don’t ever wash them: 1.63%
I hand-wash them: 98.37%
Question 9: Whether you hand-wash or machine-wash your socks, what kind of detergent/soap do you use? Check all that apply.
Regular detergent that I use for Nonprecious Laundry: 55.38%
Special wool wash: 43.51%
Head & Shoulders Shampoo: 0.49%
Question 10: Do you ever, under any circumstances, dry your socks in the dryer? (Notice to people who answer yes: please hold while we send someone to your house to confiscate your socks.)
And Question 11? We left room for knitters to share any further information about their sock-laundering habits.
We don’t have room to publish the 1,100 comments, mini-essays, confessionals, and tips, but suffice it to say that sock knitters have a lot of opinions about what it is to care for a handknit sock. The carefree throw-it-in-the-dryer folks. The I-wear-them-in-the-shower-to-wash-them people. The potions and lotions that come into use. And the lingerie bags—there is a widespread use of lingerie bags.
We applaud all the good folks who took time to share their sock-laundering experiences. Whether you’re a hand-washer or machine-washer or neverwasher, thank you for your answers. We can all learn from each other. Knowledge is power!