The Real Reason Behind Those Tiny Holes in Your T-Shirt

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.18 - 2024 1:29 PM CET

Photo: Private
Photo: Private
Those pesky little holes in T-shirts are a mystery. Let's explore the cause.

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Suddenly, they're there. No one knows exactly where they come from or why they appear seemingly out of nowhere. We're talking about the small holes in our T-shirts, which usually manifest around the lower edge at stomach level in the fabric.

So, how do these annoying little unsightly holes even get there? Have moths eaten their way through our wardrobe? Or does the puzzle have a completely different solution?

We're revealing the most common reasons why holes appear in T-shirts.

Cause 1: Buttons, Belts, and the Like

The most frequent reason for holes in T-shirts, especially in the abdominal area, is the metal buttons on our pants and jeans. When T-shirts rub against metal parts, it damages the fabric fibers.

As a result, the single thin thread from which the shirt is knitted can tear in places, creating small holes. This is similar to runs in pantyhose.

Zippers or belt buckles can also have this effect. They are also located at stomach level, are made of metal, and have sharp corners and edges. When you move, sit down, or possibly even catch the shirt hem in the zipper, the jersey fabric is gradually roughened and can be damaged.

Cause 2: Washing Machine

The washing machine can also be to blame for the tiny holes. Normally, there are no sharp edges to be found in the drum. However, it can happen that belts or other metal objects damage the drum and create sharp corners. If this is the case, the fabric of the T-shirt can catch and tear.

It also occurs that T-shirts come into contact with zippers of other garments during washing. The metal hooks of washed bras can also be the culprits.

Tip: It's best to wash your favorite shirts in a separate laundry bag.

Cause 3: Moth Infestation

When it comes to holes in garments, moths quickly come to mind. However, this is rarely the case with classic T-shirts. Most shirts are made of cotton. Moths, on the other hand, prefer animal wool. Nevertheless, inspect your wardrobe for moths and check other textiles as well.

If you find holes in wool items or textiles made from wool blends in "untypical" places, you can distribute moth-repellent scents in your wardrobe. Cedar wood, bay leaves, cloves, peppermint, or other essential oils act as deterrents.

What to Do About the Holes? Once the holes are there, they tend to get bigger quickly. This is due to the knitting pattern of the jersey fabric from which T-shirts and long sleeves are usually made.

The good news: Small holes can be quickly and easily mended with needle and thread.