Finally, an explanation for why your socks always go missing in the wash.

The disappearance of socks through the laundry process is one of life’s great mysteries.

It’s estimated the average person will lose more than 800 socks in their lifetime. This is a frightening figure — how is it even possible?

Wonder no more — psychologist Dr Simon Moore and statistician Geoff Ellis have come up with a magical mathematical formula that explains why your socks vanish in the wash. Behold:

(L(p x f) + C(t x s)) – (P x A)

OK. Maths is hard. Let’s break this down.

The probability of sock loss equals: the laundry size (calculated by multiplying the number of people in the household and the frequency of the wash) plus the complexity of the wash (how many ‘types’ of wash are done in a week, multiplied by the number of socks washed in that time).

Then, subtract from this the level of attention being paid to the task, multiplied by the person’s attitude towards doing washing. (Post continues after video.)

So simple, right? Basically it all comes down to how ‘complex’ your wash load is and how much attention you pay to the cleaning process. Start focusing, people — there’s nothing more thrilling than spending your Sunday afternoon watching wet clothes slosh around.

So now you know how to keep your sock buddies together, I bet your next question is, “but where the Dickens did all my socks go in the past?”

Samsung was wondering this too, so they conducted a study for you.

Watch: Those Two Girls have some, ah, interesting laundry hacks to impart. (Post continues after video.)


If your sock is lonely, their findings suggest you should examine the following places for its soul mate:

  • Behind heaters or under furniture.
  • In your white wash pile.
  • In the neighbour’s yard, having been blown off your clothesline by the wind.

Alas, maybe you haven’t found your missing socks in any of those places. There is yet another theory that might explain this.

According to urban legend (and… Wikipedia), the Bermuda Triangle lies somewhere in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean. But we all know there’s another, smaller Bermuda Triangle that’s a little closer to home. Incredibly close to home, in fact.

It’s inside your laundry. And rather than aircraft and ships, its victim is your beloved socks.

One Imgur user has somewhat confirmed this theory, and provided a visual to help us understand the magical disappearing act of odd socks. (Post continues after gallery.)

They’re inside the dryer, having been sucked into the vortex edges during the spinning process.

Go on, check your own machine — you may well uncover a hidden collection of lost socks and undies.

Oh, to think how many socks have met their demise in the laundry. We dedicate this post to them.

Do you have any theories as to why we lose socks in the wash?