Best absorbent sock

Cleaning Tools & Supplies

An employee uses an absorbent sock to soak up leaking water.

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Which absorbent sock is bets?

Absorbent socks are essential for any maintenance shop to keep spills, messes and leaks in check. These long, sock-like tubes resemble draft stoppers in appearance but are filled with absorbent materials that can soak up water, solvent, oil and coolants. And they’re flexible, allowing you to create a perimeter around liquid messes.

When purchasing an absorbent sock, consider its absorption capacity, depending on its materials inside, along with other considerations such as size and spill type. Our top pick, New Pig Corporation’s Mildew-Resistant Absorbent Sock, is a quality product from a top brand.

What to know before you buy an absorbent sock


Unlike using clay or other loose absorbent materials to soak up spills, absorbent socks can create a dam-like perimeter around a mess to keep it contained. An absorbent sock is easy to pick up and replace with another, unlike clay, which needs to be swept up and can get tracked around the shop floor or mess with machinery. Lastly, many absorbent socks are biodegradable and can be incinerated.

What to look for in a quality absorbent sock

Outer layer

Choose a sock with an outer layer (called its “skin”) that absorbs liquid quickly. Polypropylene is often used because it’s a mildew-resistant material. Also look for an outer skin that has a wicking quality, which can pull liquid from a wet area to a dry one.


The absorbent material inside a sock is called its fill. Cellulose, vermiculite and polypropylene are common fill materials. Pick a fill material that will absorb your particular spill. For instance, plant-based cellulose will degrade when exposed to acid. Vermiculite (a type of sand) can absorb most acids, solvents, coolants and oil—but it also makes for a very heavy sock.


Typically, absorbent socks are 4 to 5 feet in length. This size suits the needs of most garages and maintenance shops. However, larger spills may require socks 20 to 30 feet in length.


The amount of liquid an individual sock can hold is demarcated by ounces or gallons. Once a sock starts leaking, you’ll know it has reached capacity and must be replaced. Be aware that a fully saturated sock can be quite heavy to lift.


Many manufacturers follow a universal color-coding guide that indicates to consumers which socks are appropriate for which spill type. Always double-check the label to make sure you’re choosing the right sock for the job.

  • Gray, blue, or yellow: These colors indicate you can use the sock to absorb most spills, including oil, water, solvent and coolant.
  • White, brown, or multicolored: These are designed to absorb oil and repel water, which also means they can float to absorb oil spills in water.
  • Pink:  Pink socks are designed to absorb hazardous materials such as corrosive chemicals and oxidizers and not react with them. The color pink also serves to alert cleanup crews of the presence of harmful materials.

How much you can expect to spend on an absorbent sock

Absorbent socks range in price from $4 to $33 each. Socks designed to only absorb water are the cheapest (between $4 and $6), while vermiculite socks for heavy-duty jobs cost the most (between $16 and $33).

Absorbent sock FAQ

Can you put your absorbent socks out in the sun to dry?

A. Most manufacturers don’t recommend this because UV rays from the sun can degrade the outer skin of the sock. Water-only absorbent socks can be air-dried out of the reach of direct sun, then reused.

Can you throw an absorbent sock in the washing machine?

A. No. This can potentially destroy the sock and may muck up your machine with loose filler.

What’s the best absorbent sock to buy?

Top absorbent sock

New Pig Corporations Mildew-Resistant Absorbent Sock

New Pig Corporation’s Mildew-Resistant Absorbent Sock

What you need to know: From a brand synonymous with absorbent socks, this four-pack of “pigs” provide top-quality spill containment.

What you’ll love: It is a good value for the price. Blue socks are versatile for a number of spill types. It has a mildew-resistant outer and inner layer. The sock snakes well around corners and edges.

What you should consider: Some consumers received yellow instead of blue socks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top absorbent sock for the money

Evolution Sorbent Products’ Poly-Cellulose Universal Super Absorbent Flake Sock

Evolution Sorbent Products’ Poly-Cellulose Universal Super Absorbent Socks

What you need to know: They are inconspicuous on a shop floor and highly absorbent.

What you’ll love: They can soak up both liquids and oils and have a high capacity of 21 gallons each. They are filled with recycled fibers and very affordable.

What you should consider: They did not absorb as much water as advertised for some consumers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

New Pig Corporation’s Oil-Only Absorbent Sock

New Pig Corporation’s Oil-Only Absorbent Sock

What you need to know: This pack of 12 white socks is designed for oil spills.

What you’ll love: Hydrophobic cellulose fill absorbs oil and repels water. They can be used around machinery and outdoors, on land or water. The skin is heavy-duty polypropylene.

What you should consider: They can’t be reused due to spill type and are pricey.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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