Acorn Slipper Socks are a footwear classic with a 40-year-plus heritage. The Original Slipper Sock design combines genuine wool socks with suede soles and sidewalls for outstanding warmth, comfort and durability. One drawback of the Acorn Slipper Sock's wool and suede materials is that they are both tricky to wash but in different ways. Wool can shrink and turn to felt if you wash it with too much heat and agitation, while suede is easily damaged by water and unsuitable cleaning products. While it does take a careful approach to wash Acorn Slipper Socks without risk of damage, it can certainly be done with success.
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When to Wash Acorn Slipper Socks
Acorn Slipper Socks might resemble regular socks, but that does not mean they need to be washed with the same frequency. Genuine wool is naturally stain-resistant and odor-resistant, so it doesn't need frequent washing nor do the suede soles, which are designed to withstand regular wear. Only wash your Acorn Slipper Socks when you can see visible dirt or stains on them.
In between these necessary washes, occasionally hang the slipper socks in a well-ventilated spot, such as an outdoor washing line or next to an open window, to freshen them. Further, you can remove lighter dirt and debris and refresh the suede by brushing the soles and sidewalls with a suede brush. If you don't have a suede brush, substitute any other stiff-bristled brush, such as an old toothbrush or nail brush. Be careful while brushing around the stitching.
Acorn’s Cleaning Advice
The official cleaning advice from Acorn, the makers of Acorn Slipper Socks, is to wipe them with a damp cloth and then air dry. This advice applies to both the suede and wool parts of the socks and should be followed when your slipper socks are visibly grubby. Use a soft, light-colored cloth, soak it in cold or lukewarm water – never hot – and squeeze out the cloth so that it's damp but not dripping. Blot the wool parts gently without scrubbing, as agitation can cause the wool to pill and felt. For the suede parts, you can rub a little harder but be sure not to let the suede get too wet.
Leave the socks undisturbed in a dry place away from any heat sources and let them dry completely before wearing them. This might take 24 hours or more.
A More Thorough Cleaning
While Acorn doesn't recommend anything more thorough than wiping with a damp cloth, there are several time-tested techniques for cleaning wool and suede more thoroughly. Treat the wool and suede parts of the slipper socks as separate cleaning tasks since they require different products and techniques.
Wash the Wool Uppers
For the wool uppers, fill a small bowl with cold or lukewarm water and add a tiny amount of mild dish soap or laundry detergent. Soak a soft cloth in the water, squeeze out the excess and gently dab and wipe the socks. Alternatively, soak the upper wool parts of the socks in the soapy water for five to 10 minutes, being careful to keep the suede parts out of the water.
Rinse the wool with plain cold or lukewarm water and wrap the wet parts of the socks in a dry towel. Press the towel firmly to remove excess water from the socks but do not squeeze or wring the towel. Leave the slippers socks to air dry away from any heat sources.
Spot-Clean the Suede Soles and Sidewalls
After brushing and wiping the suede parts of your Acorn Slipper Socks, you might still see stains or marks that you wish to remove. If the stains are on the soles of the slipper socks, consider leaving them alone. If they're visible on the sidewalls, choose one of the spot-cleaning options that is safe for suede:
- Rub the marks with a white pencil eraser.
- Rub white chalk or sprinkle cornstarch or baking soda over the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then brush it away with a cloth followed by a suede brush. This method is effective for greasy stains and water marks.
- Dampen a cloth with diluted white vinegar and wipe the stained area.
- Use a commercial suede cleaner following the manufacturer's instructions.
It's a good idea to apply a suede protector product to the suede parts of Acorn Slipper Socks either when they're brand new or after cleaning. These products are usually available as a spray-on formula, and they help the suede parts to repel water and to stay as clean as possible.