How to Store Hand Knit Socks

It’s nearly summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, a time when many of us tuck away our handknits until the weather cools down enough to wear them. For me, that means making sure my knit socks are safely stored during the summer months when I'm mostly wearing sandals. But how do we store our handknit socks to best protect them?


There’s nothing worse than working 15, 20, or more hours on a pair of socks, tucking them away to wear when fall arrives, and discovering that they’ve been damaged in the intervening months. It turns out, though, that there are three things you can do to help ensure the safety of your hand knit socks while they’re in storage. Let’s take a look at each.

Make sure your socks are clean and dry before storing them.

Pests like moths and carpet beetles love to munch on fibers that have little bits of food, sweat, and dead skin on them. If you put your knit socks away dirty, you’ll be more likely to find holes in them when you take them out again.

If you, like me, have a lot of socks and need to wash and store them all at once, I find that the bathtub can be a great place to soak them all before putting them away. I just dump a basket of socks into the lukewarm water, add a little wool wash, and let them sit for a while. Then I hang everything on a bamboo drying rack in the garden, where they’ll get lots of fresh air to dry them quickly.​

Choose appropriate storage for your environment

Many knitters think that the safest way to store their knits is to put them in an air-tight container. While that works for some locales, it can be a fatal mistake in others. If you live somewhere humid and choose an air-tight storage option, you’ll be trapping moisture in with your knits when you pack them up. Over time, that moisture can cause a musty smell and even mold or mildew on your stored knits. To prevent that, it’s best to use storage baskets with lots of air flow.

If you live somewhere very dry, air-tight storage might be a good option for you. This could also be a good choice if you live somewhere very dusty or sandy, like the desert or the beach, where it’s hard to keep stored clothes clean. In other words: know your home environment. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation.

Add pest control for extra safety

Cedar is an excellent natural pest repellent that also smells pleasant. I like to add a cedar sachet or two to my sock baskets. I also use these cedar disks in my boxes and drawers, and I pop them onto hangers, too. ​If natural materials aren’t strong enough to keep the pests at bay, you can also try mothballs or other pest control methods.

Curious to learn more about knitting or to dig deeper into washing and storing knits? Click on through for tutorials, free patterns, technique tips, and more.

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