Why Do We Keep Losing Socks? Scientists Finally Have The Answer

You will lose over 1,200 socks in your lifetime.

25/04/2016 11:48

There are several key mysteries in the world that have yet to be solved and arguably at the top of this list is: Where do all those odd socks go?

One would argue that there probably isn't a person in the country that hasn't suffered the crushing loss of a single sock.

What once was a beautiful pair is no more, permanently resigned to the drawer based on the futile premise that you might one day find the other.

Hemera Technologies via Getty Images

Well it turns out that there is science to all of this and even a formula which can finally help you find out how likely you are to lose your socks.

A team of scientists were commissioned by Samsung to find out the best way of predicting sock loss and their answer?

(L (p x f) + C (t x s)) - (P x A)

Now what that roughly translates into is:

L = Laundry size

Calculated by multiplying the number of people in the household (p) with the frequency of washes in a week (f)

C = Washing complexity

Calculated by adding how many types of wash (t) households do in a week (darks + whites) and multiplying that by the number of socks washed in a week (s)

P = The positivity towards doing laundry

Measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being ‘Strongly dislike doing clothes washing’ to 5 which represents ‘Strongly enjoy doing clothes washing’

A = Degree of Attention

Which is the sum how many of these things you do at the start of each wash check pockets, unroll sleeves, turn clothes the right way and unrolling socks

While you can do the equation yourself what they found was that during our lifetime we will lose over 1,200 socks.

That comes at a cost of over £2 billion every year.

Led by chartered psychologist Dr Simon Moore and statistician Geoff Ellis the team actually asked over 2000 people to be involved in the survey and conducted over 24 in-depth interviews.

So now you know the maths you can see how at risk you really are from what is at best a minor (but expensive) inconvenience and at worst the devastating loss of a Sunday football lucky charm.


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