Laundry mystery solved

Note: This is another installment of my earth-shatteringly-important series about my laundry.

You know how socks sometimes go missing in the laundry? How you wind up with one sock of a pair and never see its mate again?

People often talk about how “socks disappear in the dryer.” But I’ve discovered that the washing machine, not the dryer, is where they go AWOL—at least in my house.

We have a front-loading, high-efficiency machine. The compartment where the clothes go is a horizontally-oriented drum that’s open on one end. Surrounding the open end of the drum is a huge, flexible, rubber ring that creates a tight seal with the porthole-like door.

While fishing wet clothes out of the machine recently, I happened to push my hand against the rubber ring…which moved aside to reveal the gap beneath it…which contained eight missing socks. I kid you not. Granted, some of them were toddler-sized socks. But eight—wow. And some of them had been missing for at least a year and a half.

Since then I’ve been checking the gap regularly. And of course I’ve found nothing. Now that I’ve discovered their secret, my socks are looking for a new hiding place, I’m sure.

8 Responses to “Laundry mystery solved”

  1. Chrison 23 Jan 2008 at 11:17 am

    Wow! I bet their next hiding place won’t be so easily discovered…

  2. Laurenon 23 Jan 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Ah, well, the last time one of my socks escaped local trajectory it was conveyed to Lost Sock Planet via my husband’s pant leg. I negotiated successfully for its extradition, and it reappeared on the dining room floor one morning, ostensibly via the same conveyance. I informed the Bureau of Missing Socks of its recovery, and war declarations were retracted and tentative peace restored. Evidently they have quite an aggressive response team.

  3. Frankon 23 Jan 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Hmmm…. we have a circa 2000 Maytag HE with the rubber ring…. now we’ll have to check.

  4. Deborahon 23 Jan 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Isn’t that something?!?! I never would have imagined a washing maching eating socks up like that. I would have been totally surprised to find those babies in their hidey hole, especially since some have been missing for so long. They probably were wondering why you didn’t hear their cries for rescue.

  5. Leaon 23 Jan 2008 at 9:08 pm

    That’s hilarious. I am finally resorting to mismatched socks, even wearing one neon green and one red the other day. Sad, but true.

  6. Marshaon 23 Jan 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Chris: You’re right, I’m sure! Now every time I do laundry I check the gap and find nothing. No doubt the socks starting to hide in a new place…

    Lauren: Does the Bureau of Missing Socks work on toddler-sock cases, too?

    Frank: Did you find anything there?

    Deborah: Considering there are toddler socks scattered all over the house (Sylvia likes to remove them and leave them everywhere), it’s no wonder I didn’t hear the cries of the ones in the washing machine!

    Lea: Hey, I’m with you on the mismatched socks. I own three sets of these socks, and let me tell you, having these suckers around makes getting dressed in the morning just a bit easier!

  7. Mary Bethon 30 Jan 2008 at 10:54 am

    My old top-loader bit the dust a few years back. When we took it apart to see what was wrong it was filled with toddler socks & undies that had spun out over the rim of the tub over the years. It took 10 yrs. to finally be ruined by that. I have a front loader & had the same problems. I do check it periodically & haven’t found any socks lately. The big thing to worry about is change left in the pockets. I had a $300 repair done (it’s past the warranty) because a quarter & nickel made it past the rubber ring & into the pump. It efficiently blocked it up & blew it up. Check those pockets!

  8. Marshaon 30 Jan 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Mary Beth: Pocket change, eh? I’ll have to be mindful of that…