10/17/2011 02:56 pm ET | Updated Oct 11, 2012

Cleaning Tip: New Uses For Old Socks

Flickr photo by alysinwonderland

A cleaning tip from Stylelist Home's cleaning and organizing experts Stacey Platt and Sarah Hayon of DwellWell NYC.

First, try not to lose socks. One method is for each person to put dirty socks in a personalized zippered polyester mesh laundry bag. At laundry time, zipper each bag and toss it into the washing machine and dryer. It not only keeps socks together but also reduces sock-sorting time. Works for underwear and lingerie too.

Inevitably, socks will lose their mates no matter what you do. Leave them in the laundry area either in a basket, pinned to a bulletin board, or clipped to a drying wire. Then, if the missing sock reappears, it can be easily reunited with its mate. If a lost sock never resurfaces, try these novel uses for single socks.

- Sore muscle relief. Put one cup of uncooked rice in a sock and tie off the end with a knot. Heat it in the microwave for thirty seconds, then apply it to sore muscles and joints. Add herbs for added aromatherapy benefit (lavender as a relaxant, eucalyptus as a decongestant, peppermint as an anti-inflammatory). Also provides relief from headaches, sinus pain, and toothaches.
- Stress and neck pain reliever. Tie two tennis balls together inside a sock. Lie on your back with the balls underneath your neck or head, putting pressure on either side of your cervical spine. The pressure creates deep relaxation.
- Dry or chapped skin. Apply olive oil liberally to dry or chapped feet and hands, and then cover them in old socks while sleeping to let the healing happen overnight without staining the sheets.

- Dusting and polishing. Slip socks on your hands to wipe blinds and ceiling fans clean. Also great for washing and waxing the car and polishing silver.
- Defogging. Fill a sock with salt and rub on a mirror to prevent fogging.

- Pet toys. Tie a knot in the middle of an old athletic sock for an instant pull toy, or put some catnip in the toe, tie a knot, and then make a ball around it with the rest of the sock.
- Sock puppets. Decorate using googly eyes, pipe cleaners, markers, and felt.
- Water bottle cooler. Freeze a bottle of water to take to the beach and put it in a sock to keep it cold longer and to prevent condensation from wetting the contents of your beach bag.
- iPod holder. Protect your MP3 player in a mateless sock to prevent it from getting scratched in your bag.

Find more cleaning and organizing tips in What's A Disorganized Person To Do?