FunDay of the Lost Socks: The Mystery of the...

Day of the Lost Socks: The Mystery of the Lost Socks in the Washing Machine

The thing about the socks and the washing machine is a complete mystery that none of us have managed to solve . We put them in the washing machine, and when we take out the laundry to hang it we discover that some have disappeared as if by magic. Where are they? Well, as incredible as it may seem, a team of scientists have carried out a study to find the answer to this question. And they have found it!

According to a survey carried out by Samsung, 84 million socks disappear every year in the United Kingdom alone , representing an economic loss of 2,000 million pounds, about 2,367 million euros to change.

Psychologist Simon Moore and statistician Geoff Ellis have created the Sock Loss Index . It is a very complex mathematical formula that is calculated as follows: (L (pxf) + C (txs)) – (P x A).

  • L: wash size.
  • p: number of people living at home.
  • f: frequency of washes in a week:
  • C: complexity of washing.
  • t: different types of washing that are done in a week.
  • s: number of socks washed in a week.
  • P: the degree of ‘positivity’ towards doing laundry, from 1 to 5.
  • A: degree of care, including the number that socks are unrolled and garments are turned around appropriately.

According to this study, there are four main factors why socks get lost in the washing machine : the optical illusion they have, our disinterest in not looking for them beyond the washing machine, we do not like having to do the laundry and we do not pay attention to what we do and, if we live with more people, we tend to confuse socks when making pairs.

Finally, it is worth noting the conclusion of the statistician Victor Nierdhoffer, published in an article in ‘Dayly Speculations’. If we have 20 socks, 10 different pairs, after losing the first sock, the chances that the second one will undo another pair is 18 out of 19, compared to 1 out of 19 for a sock of the same pair. If we do not buy new socks for a long time, it is very likely that we will end up with a drawer full of mismatched socks, which is what usually happens to most of us .

It is advisable to pair the socks before doing the laundry to prevent them from getting lost . We can put them in mesh bags or use tweezers that are sold for this.

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