• Remove ads on the forum by becoming a donating member. More here.

Search 69,459 Camino Questions

How to get the soap residue out of socks

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I typically wash my clothes by hand with a bar of Lagarto soap. It’s non-chemical and is the soap I was introduced to back in Spain in the 70s.

When you wash clothes by hand, you typically rub the soap directly onto the fabrics you are washing. I find that this has made my smartwood socks stiff, so I’m assuming that the soap has somehow attached to the fibers of the socks. I’ve put them through several cycles on the washing machine, and no change. Does anyone have any good ideas about how to get that residue out?
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
It might not be residue. It might be wear and tear on the wool fibers, even to the point of mild felting.

This sock company has a substantial webpage on sock care, washing (by hand and machine), drying and storing.

Looks like @C clearly knows what is going on; here's a snippet about mistakes to avoid from the webpage:
  • Aggressive Rubbing or Scrubbing: This can damage the wool fibers and cause pilling or felting. Always handle your wool socks gently, especially when hand washing.
  • Using Harsh Detergents: Harsh detergents can strip the natural oils from the wool, making it feel rough and dry. Always use a mild, wool-friendly detergent.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Do they still have ‘stretch’ in them or have they thickened as well as become almost impossible to stretch width-ways? Do they soften up on wearing?

They may have ‘felted’.
This happens to my socks if I use water that’s more than lukewarm - or if they get spun in the washing machine.

If the rinse water no longer feels soapy, then I think it’s not the soap. And if it’s bar laundry soap, then that’s probably pretty natural and OK for wool.
 
Here I am speaking with no knowledge - that is allowed here on the forum, isn't it? 🤪
Notwithstanding your emoji and status as a moderator, and as I have no say on what is allowed, I find there is too much "no knowledge" on the forum. :-( There are threads where people want information, and there are other threads where "no knowledge" is obviously part of the banter, or slightly intoxicated ramblings (like they probably do whilst on a Camino) of people filling in time before their next Camino, et al.
 
I use savon de Marseilles -- and I've never had this problem.

If it's just the socks and no other clothing, I'd say it's possibly either some consequence of wear and tear on the socks, or some weird interaction between those particular socks and that particular soap.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Notwithstanding your emoji and status as a moderator, and as I have no say on what is allowed, I find there is too much "no knowledge" on the forum. :-( There are threads where people want information, and there are other threads where "no knowledge" is obviously part of the banter, or slightly intoxicated ramblings (like they probably do whilst on a Camino) of people filling in time before their next Camino, et al.
I think that’s harsh, @Sirage. I threw out a question whose answer I could not find on google, and people threw back some theories that might explain what was going on. No harm done here, it seems to me - no one is advocating illegal or immoral action, no one is tellling me I’m stupid, no one is violating any forum rule that I can think of.

And in the end, my guess is that those who are suggesting that it was “felting” going on are right. As I stayed in private places this camino, I had access to hot water to wash my clothes, and I should have remembered that hot water and wool do not mix well. I am going to try some of the other suggestions since they can’t hurt, though!
 
I should have remembered that hot water and wool do not mix well.

This winter I bought a nice, thick 100% pure wool Norwegian sweater. It came with extensive instructions on how to care for it and wash it. I also always thought that hot washing and wool were no-go, so what surprised me was that the instructions said, that if needed it can be washed at 60 C and even hotter as long as you do not rub or scrub or wring it or in general expose it to ‘rough handling’. That is why washing machine wool-cycles only moves the wool clothes very slow and gently. After warm washing, it should be ‘flat dried’ and gently pulled into shape. This indicates that it is the ‘rough handling’ and not the heat that is the problem.
 
You might also try rinsing a few times in soft water. That may reduce any soap residue. I know my clothes, hair and skin always feel better and softer after a few days at my Dad's house where they use a water softener.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
I use savon de Marseilles -- and I've never had this problem.

If it's just the socks and no other clothing, I'd say it's possibly either some consequence of wear and tear on the socks, or some weird interaction between those particular socks and that particular soap.
I second the use of Mareilles soap. Bought every time we visit France, along with bleach tablets, (but that's another story)
 
I also always thought that hot washing and wool were no-go, so what surprised me was that the instructions said, that if needed it can be washed at 60 C and even hotter as long as you do not rub or scrub or wring it or in general expose it to ‘rough handling’.
Makes sense.

From filzfelt.com

Felting (Filzen)
The outer skeleton of each fiber is made up of the overlapping scales. When heat and moisture is introduced, the scales on the fibers raise and open up. The agitation then interlocks the fibers as the scales hook into one another to form a strong, resilient bond.
 
Train for your next Camino on California's Santa Catalina Island, Oct 27 to Nov 2
Have you ever tried a post wash soak in straightforward hair conditioner followed by a rinse?

Serious suggestion, it rescued a (very expensive) cashmere sweater that was machine washed by mistake. Apparently it "relaxes" the fibres.

Worth trying anyway.
 
I typically wash my clothes by hand with a bar of Lagarto soap. It’s non-chemical and is the soap I was introduced to back in Spain in the 70s.

When you wash clothes by hand, you typically rub the soap directly onto the fabrics you are washing. I find that this has made my smartwood socks stiff, so I’m assuming that the soap has somehow attached to the fibers of the socks. I’ve put them through several cycles on the washing machine, and no change. Does anyone have any good ideas about how to get that residue out?
Try rinsing them in hair conditioner.
 
I typically wash my clothes by hand with a bar of Lagarto soap. It’s non-chemical and is the soap I was introduced to back in Spain in the 70s.

When you wash clothes by hand, you typically rub the soap directly onto the fabrics you are washing. I find that this has made my smartwood socks stiff, so I’m assuming that the soap has somehow attached to the fibers of the socks. I’ve put them through several cycles on the washing machine, and no change. Does anyone have any good ideas about how to get that residue out?
Been wearing smart wool socks for years and hand wash every night with any liquid hand soap, shampoo, dish detergent available. After scrubbing, I hold each sock on the faucet and rinse full blast, then wring the S…t out of them. Never had an issue
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
I was interested in your question so I check the SmartWool website and they mentioned that one should never wring or twist the socks when attempting to get the water out. If hand washing, I am assuming that is how one would get the water out. It can contribute to a felting of the socks.
I am so thankful to Read this
 
There is wool, and there is wool - a big variety of fibres and processing methods. In general, I am cautious as I test the washability of an item. However, for camino items I only want items that can withstand camino washing, so I prequalify them by throwing them into the washer and dryer, all colours mixed. If they survive OK, they can come on the Camino with me. Of course, eventually they will succomb to wear and tear.
 
Hi Laurie
Maybe this will help ?! It's worth a try !

 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
A salesperson at REI advised me to always turn the socks inside out before washing in the machine. I always put them in a lingerie bag and I don't put them in the dryer. I wash them in the machine with regular laundry (warm water).

On the Camino, I also use Lagarto soap - I use it here at home for all hand washing. I brought a few bars back with me - my idea of a Camino souvenir 😜.

Treat yourself to a nice, soft new pair of socks.
 
Hi @peregrina2000 , you have assumed that the stiffness is caused by soap residue, the stiffness could also be caused by a lack of the natural lanolin that has been washed out.

The hair conditioner posts are probably on the right track but that would add artificial oils.

Personally, I would try adding natural lanolin as that is what the Merino wool had in it from the beginning and is the oil responsible for the waterproofing, softness and ability to not get stinky with lots of use.

Look for natural lanolin on the Internet.

One possible source is https://www.nznaturally.nz/products...8mSb4MAbhq73SoisK9GWF70e-MwMaFSQaAtOWEALw_wcB
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
If you are in a private room with a towel, wringing out can be accomplished by rolling up wet clothes in the towel and squeezing to reduce the Wringing.
As a knitter. This is the recommended way of drying wool garments. Water pressed out in a clean towel and then lain flat to dry.
I also always thought that hot washing and wool were no-go, so what surprised me was that the instructions said, that if needed it can be washed at 60 C and even hotter as long as you do not rub or scrub or wring it or in general expose it to ‘rough handling’.
It is generally a no-go. But if your instructions say it's ok, it's ok. It's possible the wool used in your sweater is "super wash" wool in which the wool/yarn fibers are cleaned and treated to be more washable once knit up.

That being said, I have never treated my Smart Wool brand socks with care and they go in the wash and dryer with everything else. LOL! But I would NEVER do that with my hand knits.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I typically wash my clothes by hand with a bar of Lagarto soap. It’s non-chemical and is the soap I was introduced to back in Spain in the 70s.

When you wash clothes by hand, you typically rub the soap directly onto the fabrics you are washing. I find that this has made my smartwood socks stiff, so I’m assuming that the soap has somehow attached to the fibers of the socks. I’ve put them through several cycles on the washing machine, and no change. Does anyone have any good ideas about how to get that residue out?
Ingredients in the soap is:
Sodium Tallowate, Aqua, Glycerin, Parfum, D-Limonene,Phosphoric Acid, Tetrasodium Dicarboxymethyl glutamate, colorant, [nitrilotris(methylene)]trisphosphonic acid, potassium salt.

So main ingredient is Animal Fat and Lye-
Animal fat can easily build up a residue, especially on wool and natural fibers-
Hard to remove unless you find something that can cut animal fat without effecting the fibers.
The soap says “all natural” because it is- ….natural animal fat that has been used for centuries-
A modern glycerine soap is better- of you want to stay true to tradition then Use Castile soap-
Developed in Spain in like the 12th century- made from Vegetable- Olive, coconut, etc
Less residue with plant based soaps-
You can use any acid like lemon juice to break down any residue from Castille soap-
Anyway, good luck and pass it on 😜
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Laurie, if your socks are dead, then, lucky for you, there are all sorts of sales going on right now. Darn tough are damn good and you could send them back for proper burial and they would send you new ones.
Edit: perhaps it’s the 🦎 soap.😜
 

Most read last week in this forum

I'd like to know about people who has flown drones on the Camino. I'm planning on doing the Camino, only in Spain. Thinking about taking with me a drone with camera that weights less than 250g...
Firstly, Hello and thank you for welcoming me to the group; I will be travelling to St Jean Pied De Port on July 2nd with view to starting my own journey to Santiago de Compostella throughout...
I had plans to get my walking stick to the Camino. I'm having problems getting a shipping tube or container for it. The walking stick is 60" tall. If I can get it there and ditch the long tube do...
Hello beautiful people! I am planning to walk my first Camino (French way) this September and have a question. After reading threads about walking in sandals, I decided to walk the Camino in my...
Is there a shop to buy trekking poles in St. Jean Pied de Port and if so, estimate of cost?

❓How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2024 Camino Guides
Back
Top