Everyone knows colored socks are the coolest kinds of socks. All you have to do is look at them to know they’re so much more fun than regular socks. But there’s a small catch to having such cool socks that some people don’t know about. In fact, only people who wear cool socks probably even know about this catch. Colored socks (otherwise known as “cool socks”) are not like boring white socks. You can’t just throw them into the washer haphazardly, toss a cup of detergent in, and then let it spin. In fact, in some cases you don’t want to use a washer at all.

Before you get too scared, just remember, they’re only socks. But if you want to maintain the luster of a pair of bright red socks, you might need to handle them with a little more care. Most sock washing directions depend on what type of fabric was used to make the socks. For instance, if you have a pair of 100% cotton blue socks (a fine choice), you might want to steer clear of washing machines and dryers. In some cases, hand washing a pair of brightly colored socks and letting them drip dry might be the most beneficial process.

Of course, this isn’t the only process. Some socks only contain a fraction of cotton fabric and thus don’t need to be handled quite as gently. These socks are generally part acrylic and part cotton, but if they’re a pair of funky, striped socks, they’re ALL cool. In this case, you can toss them in the washing machine without a single worry. But, it’s likely not a good idea to use bleach or to use hot water because the colors might bleed. The only things worse than bleeding colored socks are boring, plain-colored socks that don’t do anything. Make sure to keep those socks bright, cheery, and fun.

Some socks are made out of a mix of cotton and polyester. In this case, of course, they’re still machine washable. But, just like the other cotton mix, you’ll want to avoid bleach, and keep the water cold. Also, to avoid that awful bleeding, consider tumble drying all of your colored socks. If you’re a sock connoisseur, you’ll already be aware that heat and colored socks don’t often mix that well. For those enamored with their colored socks, it’s best to hand wash in cold water and drip dry. For those still enamored with their colored socks but who don’t have a lot of time, send those socks a cold wash cycle and a lukewarm dry cycle.

Of course, the other option for people who love socks but don’t really care about bleeding or fading colors, is to just throw them in with all the other colors. While this isn’t very kind to the sock, it’s certainly energy and water efficient. It will undoubtedly save you money in the long haul, but you must remember that you’ll sacrifice some of the luster of those funky bright red socks.