Scientists Develop A Formula For Why Socks Go Missing

Scientists have unveiled a formula for why socks go missing.

The so-called ‘sock loss index’ has been created by Psychologist Dr Simon Moore and leading statistician Dr Geoff Ellis and takes a variety of sock-related factors into account to calculate the probability of socks going missing.

For the mathematicians out there, it looks something like this:  (L(p x f)+C(t x s))-(P x A)

Samsung commissioned the scientists to promote the launch of its new AddWash washing machine which allows you to add in items mid-wash to ensure everything stays together. Research shows Brits lose 84 million socks every month – costing the nation an estimated £2 billion a year.

Through interviews, researchers were able to pinpoint the common causes of sock loss – including items falling behind radiators or under furniture without anyone realising. Stray items being added to the wrong coloured wash and becoming separated from its matching sock also featured.

Melanie Rolfe, Head of Marketing, said: “We believe this new study has finally solved the age old mystery of the missing socks.

“At Samsung we are changing the way we do laundry with the new AddWash machine.

“No longer will we load the machine with trepidation as we worry whether pairs will be separated forever.

“Now we can add those loose socks, and indeed any other item of clothing you forgot, in mid-wash to ensure everything stays together.”



Sock loss index= (L+C)-(P x A)

The higher the figure, the higher the likelihood of losing socks. For the truly diligent, this formula can also be adapted to work out the probability of losing a sock in a single week by using a calibrated version using statistical modelling software which adds constants as follows:

Prob= 0.38+(0.005 x L)+(0.0012 x C)-(0.0159 x P x A)


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

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