How to Whiten Socks: 7 Clever Hacks for a Brilliant Clean

Whether you want bleach-free ways to whiten dingy socks or you're down with using all the bleach, our methods will make your socks white again.

Updated April 24, 2024
Dirty white socks

At the risk of sounding like a 70s TV commercial, how awful are dingy, dirty white socks? Your socks do a lot for you, and by the nature of hanging out close to the dirt on your feet, they can get pretty grey and dirty-looking, even when they're clean. Great news tho — you can get them clean and white again with our tricks for how to whiten socks. 

How to Whiten Socks Without Bleach

Have a pair of dirty white socks (or clean white socks that still look dirty)? Yeah... us too. Or at least we did until we learned all kinds of ways to make our socks white again and keep our white socks white.  We have several methods to help. 

Related: Find Methods to Brighten Even Your Dingiest Whites Without Bleach

How to Whiten Socks With Baking Soda 

Baking soda will work on even the grossest socks. And hooray for that. Discover how to get your socks super white with baking soda.

Whiten Socks With Baking Soda

You'll Need

  • Warm water
  • 1¼ cup baking soda, divided
  • Laundry detergent
  • White vinegar


  1. Fill your sink with warm water.
  2. Add ¼ cup of the baking soda and agitate to mix.
  3. Add the socks and allow them to soak for a few hours.
  4. Wring out the socks and throw them in the wash.
  5. Add a cup of baking soda with your normal detergent.
  6. Add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse for softening.

Related: Why Ankle Socks Are the Y2K Trend GenZ Should Get Behind

How to Get Socks White Again With Boiling Water & Lemon Juice

Boiling your socks? With the right ingredients, trust us... it'll get them super white again with no bleach. The lemon juice will help whiten the socks, while the Dawn dish soap will get out all the other grime.

You'll Need

  • Large pot
  • ½ cup of lemon juice
  • Dawn dish soap
  • Water


  1. Add the lemon juice, a squirt of Dawn dish soap, and water to a large pot.
  2. Add your socks.
  3. Bring the water to a boil.
  4. Allow the socks to boil for 20 minutes.
  5. Wash socks as normal.

How to Whiten Socks With White Vinegar

White vinegar is kind of a miracle natural cleaner. The acetic acid in the vinegar (or use cleaning vinegar) works great to break up and remove dinge from your white socks. 

You'll Need

  • Large pot full of boiling water (heat turned off)
  • 1 cup white vinegar


  1. Boil several cups of water in a large container. Turn off the heat.
  2. Add your dirty socks.
  3. Add one cup of white vinegar.
  4. Soak the socks overnight.

Related: 10 Ways to Use Vinegar in Your Laundry You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

Whiten Dirty Socks With Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide 3% is a great whitener for socks. Grab your dirty socks and get ready to have a laundry rumble.

You'll Need

  • 1 gallon warm water 
  • 1½ cups hydrogen peroxide, divided


  1. Add 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of warm water.
  2. Add your socks.
  3. Soak them for 30-60 minutes.
  4. Throw your socks into the washer.
  5. Add ½ cup of peroxide to the bleach dispenser.
  6. Wash as normal.

How to Whiten Socks With Laundry Detergent

dirty and clean socks

Pretreating socks with laundry soap and lemon juice soak can also get them super white.

You'll Need

  • Warm water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • A few drops of laundry soap


  1. Wet the socks with a bit of warm water and lemon juice.
  2. Add a few drops of laundry soap and work it into the socks.
  3. Focus on the filthy areas.
  4. Put the socks in a plastic bag and tie it shut.
  5. Let them sit overnight.
  6. Wash as normal.

Whiten Socks With a Dish Detergent Tab

You might think that dish detergent tabs are just for your dishwasher, and they do a good job on yellowed plastic containers, but they can also do an amazing job whitening your socks.

You'll need

  • Warm water
  • 1 dishwasher tablet


  1. Fill a sink or bucket with warm water.
  2. Add your socks.
  3. Submerge the dishwasher tablet and allow it to dissolve.
  4. Allow socks to soak for a few hours to overnight.
  5. Pull them out of the mixture.
  6. Wash as normal.

Using Bleach to Whiten Socks

Bleach always works to get socks white again. When it comes to whitening socks, most people reach for the bleach. Pre-soaking makes the bleach even more effective.

You'll Need

  • Warm water
  • 4 tablespoons bleach
  • Squirt of Dawn dishwashing liquid


  1. Fill the sink or a pan with warm water.
  2. Add 4 tablespoons of bleach to the water.
  3. Add a squirt of Dawn. Agitate the water to mix.
  4. Add socks and allow them to soak for 10-15 minutes — longer for really dingy socks.
  5. After the soak, wash as normal.

Learn How to Whiten Socks With Ease

If you're into super-white kicks, don't degrade them with dingy socks. From bleach-free methods to a bleach-based pre-soak, our methods will make your socks dazzling white to complement your whiter-than-white shoes. 

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How to Whiten Socks: 7 Clever Hacks for a Brilliant Clean