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How to Get White Socks White Again With Bleach

We all have a few pairs of dirty socks that never seem to get white in the wash. But while it can take a little work to whiten old socks to their former glory, where there’s Clorox, there’s a way.

More from Clorox experts

White socks, especially athletic socks, can be the hardest garments to whiten in your laundry. Here’s how we recommend getting the most stubborn sweat and dirt stains out of your white cotton socks.

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Before you begin, always check care labels to confirm fiber content before washing; avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, spandex and non-fast colors. Also, test for colorfastness to ensure the fabric doesn’t become discolored.

What you need

Steps to whiten socks with bleach

  1. 1

    Pre-soak before washing

    Pre-soak cotton or polyester socks for 5 minutes in a solution of ¼ cup Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach diluted in 1 gallon of cool water before washing. If your socks contain spandex, use Clorox 2® for Colors Stain Remover and Laundry Additive instead of regular bleach and soak up to an hour.

  2. 2

    Machine wash

    Wash your socks in hot water using 1/3 cup of Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach per load.

    hot setting on washing machine
  3. 3

    Keep your socks clean

    As recommended for cleaning white towels and bedsheets, you should add Clorox Bleach every time you wash your socks.

Frequently asked questions

My socks have spandex, so I haven’t been bleaching them. What should I do to whiten them up?

Presoak your socks with a color safe bleach like Clorox 2® for Colors before washing, and be sure to add Clorox 2® for Colors every time you wash them.