The mysterious disappearance of the socks in the washing machine has an explanation … scientific!

The mysterious disappearance of the socks in the washing machine has an explanation … scientific!

Who has not happened? Pants, shirts, shirts, interiors … You’ve done the laundry, but when you get ready to take it out, there ‘s everything but a sock , which does not match your pair.

Indeed, it is already a constant in our lives that this garment is lost every time it is washed and science has clarified why.

According to a study, there is a mathematical formula to predict the probability that it disappears that has nothing to do with mechanical errors of the device (in fact, there is the possibility that a washing machine swallows the odd sock, but not at the same pace as the mysterious and constant disappearance of these garments).

Thus, according to this study by Samsung , the British lose an average of 1.3 socks per month, or 15 per year. That made a total of 84 million socks abandoned each month in the United Kingdom .


The main factors of the loss of the socks are several, such as the complexity of the load , the way in which the lots are divided and the amount of socks that are introduced.

But, in addition, the disappearance of the socks is the result of a cognitive bias – “things that give the illusion that they occur, but in reality they do not happen”, in the words of the study-.

Similarly, there are psychological cues that contribute to losing socks in the wash.

One of them is the diffusion of responsibility . “These are things that give the illusion that they happen, but they do not really happen.” As an example, we find a correlation between the disappearances of socks and the size of a family. The more people there are in the home, the greater the diffusion of Someone in charge of turning on the washing machine will wait for someone else to download it correctly, so if they notice that a sock is missing, they can assume that another member of the family will find it, “explains the study.

Another is visual awareness . “People tend to look only at the most obvious places before they give in. The best way to find a sock would be to deliver things systematically, but we do not do it We are weak Instead of looking behind radiators or under beds , we accept the remaining sock as a singular entity, we experience a brief process of affliction and we continue with our lives “.

Seeing the domestic task of washing clothes as a pleasant activity or not as a duty is another key. “People who had a positive attitude about the whole process, who liked to do it, actually had less lost socks, they just paid more attention to the details,” the study says.