Why does this happen?

United States
March 10, 2008 7:42pm CST
And how can I prevent it? I am referring to the tiny holes that appear in my tshirts. I have had this problem for a while now, and I can't figure out what causes it. They are usually near the bottom, and in little clusters, maybe 2 or 3, up to as many as a dozen all together, about the size of a pen point. I have seen other people with the same problem, and they said it was caused by zippers. When you wash clothing with zippers, the zippers can damage things. But I don't wash things with zippers with my shirts, or with my husband's shirts. I use a mild detergent, no bleach or bleach alternative, and have tried hanging them dry, all to no avail. I thought maybe it was just the cheaper shirts, but even some of the heavier cotton ones get the holes too. Can anyone tell me what causes this or how to prevent it? I'm tired of ruining my shirts!
4 people like this
11 responses
@theprogamer (10543)
• United States
11 Mar 08
Moths are infamous for doing this, but also there are other insects that can cause it: Skin Beetles are one example(Carpet beetles). If this is the case, you want to check your clothing, closets and dressers for evidence of further damage or of the bug(bugs) itself. Some types of skin beetles have notable evidence (larve looking like very tiny lightbrown firs/evergreen leaves). This could also explain the holes you see if you leave summer or winter clothing in a long place due to seasonal difference (as insects have much more time to your clothing, undisturbed). Insect repellants, moth crystals, and other related objects can help, but please be sure to check for health and safety to human use. Its also possible the loads you are doing are far too big. You may also be using too strong of a detergent, but on your description, this doesn't seem possible. You may still want to doublecheck either of these. There is also the chance you are wearing/tearing the cloth in a certain fashion, but unaware of it. Wearing habits can show up on clothing (stretching, be it major or minor). It could also be the durability/craftsmanship of your clothing.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Mar 08
As far as the moths or insects- it only happens to tshirts. No other clothing has this problem at all. So I hesitate to think that is the problem- wouldn't they go after some other types of clothing? There are other cottons like sweatshirts and slacks. I will try doing smaller loads- I don't think I'm overstuffing it, but maybe. I'll also try using a little less detergent. It is mild, but perhaps repeated use will wear down a fabric. It could be regular wear, with rubbing and stretching, too.
@cricket1 (487)
• United States
11 Mar 08
I had that problem and finally figured out it was because I was wearing my keys on my belt loop and using a laundry press. Rubbing again the press as I was working was wearing tiny holes in my t shirts. Other than that I have found that a moth will eat tiny holes in your clothes.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Mar 08
In my husband's shirts it could be that- rubbing against his belt, and sometimes he has other things like a tape measure on his belt. But I don't know how it happens to mine. And it's only tshirts, no other clothing is affected, so could it still be moths?
@bronie123 (4596)
• United States
11 Mar 08
Your dryer is eating little holes into your shrits LOL Im not really sure why that happens my fiances shirts do that also but i dont have a problem with mine
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Mar 08
Maybe it is the dryer. It nibbles the shirts as an appetizer, then takes a whole sock for the main course!
@lilaclady (28270)
• Australia
11 Mar 08
hmmm thats a strange one, I guess it can only be either the zippers or maybe some insect when you hang it out to dry I guess, I think their is an insect that gets attracted to mainly white clothes, I hope you find a solution...
• United States
11 Mar 08
Thanks. I thought of that, but it only happens to tshirts, and it happens even when I machine dry them, or when I hang them inside in winter.
@coffeeshot (3786)
• Australia
11 Mar 08
Hmm. I don't have this problem. I wash my clothes with other items that have zippers in them all the time. What I would suggest is that you wash your shirts in a delicates bag. it might be a pain in the butt, but it should protect them. Also, have you tried just washing the shirts on their own? I really don't know why this is happening, perhaps it's your washing machine? I hope someone else else can help.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Mar 08
I don't know. It used to happen where we lived before, too, so if it's the machine it was that one, too. I have tried washing just the shirts together, and no difference. I'll try the delicates bag. It can't be a bigger pain than having holes in the shirts.
@sedel1027 (17868)
• United States
11 Mar 08
Sounds like your shirts are getting caught on the agitator in your washing machine. All I can think of to prevent this is to wash on a cycle that is lower than the one you are currently using. You are not alone, this happens to my sons school shirts sometimes.
@Modestah (11195)
• United States
11 Mar 08
oh, that does sound plausible. I would think that they could be washed in a lingerie type of bag as well. of course that would take several bags to accomplish a wash, wouldn't it?
@sedel1027 (17868)
• United States
11 Mar 08
I would think using the bags would not be worth the time and energy it would take to do the laundry.
• United States
11 Mar 08
I could try the delicate cycle- is that what you mean? It's worth a try.
@suspenseful (40326)
• Canada
11 Mar 08
If you have a top loading washer, put the water in first, and THEN add the detergent. If you are using a front loading washer, use the hi efficiency detergent and only put the amount it says. It is caused by the detergent getting on your clothes dry. It would help mixing your clothes so that the t=shirts are protected in an old towel so if you do use a front loader, the t=shirts will be protected. I use Sunlight liquid and a bleach alternative and vinegar for rinsing since I am allergic to the perfumes and most fabric softeners.
• United States
11 Mar 08
Hmm, that's a good suggestion. I've always done that with powdered detergent, but now I use liquid, so I hadn't thought about it. I'll give it a try.
• United States
21 Mar 08
I have a top loading machine here. I put the clothes in first most of the time. I have none of what is described on my clothes. I use mostly home made soap. Or powdered tide which is very rare. But I also don't was clothing with zippers.
@Modestah (11195)
• United States
11 Mar 08
I was going to suggest that maybe the shirts are being caught in your zipper, but if zippers are not the problem -hmmm, are you in the habit of tugging at your shirt's hem? do they seem too short on you and you like to pull them down often? does your toddler yank at them? my brother always had holes in his like this but they were near the collar, and I think it was because he always chewed on them, lol.
• United States
11 Mar 08
I suppose it could be from wear like you say. I wish I could know for sure so I could stop it from happening.
@kimbers867 (2541)
• United States
11 Mar 08
Don't you hate that. I honestly believe that clothing material is not as good as it use to be. Buy some fraycheck, you can find it at Walmart or Joanne's. Once you noticed a tiny hole put some of that on before you wash the item again, and it will help it from getting bigger. Make sure you let the fraycheck dry before you put it in the wash. I have been using this for years and it works great.
• United States
11 Mar 08
I have not heard of fraycheck before, but I'll give it a try.
@suspenseful (40326)
• Canada
20 Mar 08
Thank you for the best response. I used to have holes in my underwear, until i learned about using the right detergent or putting the water in first It works.
@lingli_78 (12852)
• Australia
11 Mar 08
that's strange... honestly, i never have this problem before... so i am sorry that i can't help you... all i can say that i wash all my t-shirts in a washing bag and the bag keep them from ruining... so i don't really know why your t-shirts got tiny holes at the bottom of them... hope somebody else can help you and give you a solution to prevent it from happening again... good luck...