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Tiny Holes In Clothing

Category Laundry
Sometimes tiny unexplainable holes appear in our clothing, often near the waist. Determining the cause can help save the rest of your wardrobe. This is a guide about tiny holes in clothing.


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September 10, 20170 found this helpful

When the holes in your t-shirt are near the top of your jeans, they may be caused by rubbing against metal buttons. This is a guide about tiny holes in t-shirts.

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By 5 found this helpful
March 26, 2011

I didn't know where to post this, but have read many comments about the tiny holes in the front of thin tee shirts, mostly by the bottom of the shirt. None of my kids' or hubby's clothes are affected. I have a walk in closet and it has only happened since we moved here in 2003.


I never saw these holes in my former house. So how could it be the jean button or seat belt of my car, if it never happened until we moved into this house?

By Ltb3105 from Bedford, TX


April 1, 20152 found this helpful
Best Answer

Actually what is happening is that the material that they are making the clothes from now days is thinner than it used to be. This is starting to be very irritating now that 2 of my favorite shirts from Express has developed holes and my boyfriends Express Underwear. I have sewed up a few things but I'm very unhappy with this quality of cotton. It's one thing to have cute little light shirts but entirely unacceptable when you pay 50.00 for a shirt and it starts falling apart! That is what is happening. That's why all your experiments have the same outcome. Not because it's your belly button, jean button or seat belt. This is why it doesn't happen as often to your husband or son's clothes. They do not wear the thinner clothing. And just as an added note. I ALWAYS wash my clothes after wearing them, I never hang them back up. I wash them and usually because the clothes that are affected are thinner shirts, I never dry them, because I don't want wrinkles and it's less wear and tear on the material.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 3, 2012

What causes small holes in my shirts?

By tommy t from Youngsville, LA


July 4, 20120 found this helpful

Most likely they are caused from washing and drying them with clothing that have zippers.

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July 4, 20120 found this helpful

If they are distributed randomly around the shirts, it could be some kind of insect nibbling on them. That would call for deep cleaning the dresser drawers and maybe adding some cedar chips.


If all the shirts have holes in the same area, such as near the waist, it could be pressure from a seat belt, clothing, snaps on jeans, buckles on belts, rough spot on a counter top edge.

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July 5, 20120 found this helpful

Probably clothes moths or carpet beetles. They'll eat anything made of cloth.

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August 22, 20151 found this helpful

I really believe that all the people that have posted here, do not have holes in their tops from Counter tops, seatbelts or wearing jeans. Think about it. Has this been going on your whole life? You have always worn seatbelts. My car is 9 years old and i have never had holes in my shirts. We moved here almost 2 years ago. NEVER had this problem in the old house. I have new tops but also old tops. Makes no difference, I get holes in some of the cotton ones.


It does occur towards the bottom. I have/ had granite countertops. I have cheap clothes and also good quality clothes. It does not matter! I truly believe in most cases you are all having trouble with tiny clothes mites or moths or something like that. I am doing research. This is the first site that came up on Google search. Will keep researching. If I find anything out more definitive, I will post here! Thanks for all your comments! Sounds like there are a lot of people with this problem.

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May 31, 20160 found this helpful

This is such a mystery! I've been dealing with this I'll say for the past 6or 7 years now! Tiny pin holes in the same identical area across the stomach area more to the right side of the shirt. I don't wear jeans all the time I wear a lot of exercise pants that do not have any zippers or snaps or belt buckles that would wear on these tops. Brand new top put on for the second time yesterday and by the end of the day....Wella what do you know !!! I look down and to my amazement in my new shirt more tiny holes. Also I've never in the past had this happen.


I have old Gap shirts from years ago that have been worn and washed dozens of times and no holes. Most of my tops are all from the Loft , banana republic and Gap and event shirts from VS. and they all have tiny holes in them and they are all releatively new! It shouldn't matter how thin or what the material is made out of this should not be happening! And if it was the so called material then why aren't these holes else where in the shirts/tops? It remains a mystery and I have had it. Can't afford for good clothes to wear once or twice and then they look like old rags!

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June 12, 20160 found this helpful

But how do you know if you don't see insects?

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October 17, 20160 found this helpful

I have the same problem. The tops are usually good quality but are soft cotton. I think it's either from the shirt rubbing on the button of my jeans or the seatbelt pressing the shirt onto the jacket zipper or jeans zipper,

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March 17, 20170 found this helpful

The little holes in the washing machine during the spin cycle. The clothes go through and get stuck then we pull it out and it cuts the fabric

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August 20, 20170 found this helpful

Same problem last few years since I got my front load washing machine. Hubby t-shirts also. Always same place. Front lower shirt.

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October 9, 20170 found this helpful


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October 15, 20170 found this helpful

The reason that you've been facing this problem for 6-7 years is that around 2010-2011 the quality of clothing from clothing suppliers has become worse. My solution to this problem is that I order the clothing from a bulk reseller so that I can choose the gauge of the material. One such reseller is jiffy shirts for tshirts.

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May 3, 20180 found this helpful

Yes, my problem is the same.... Pinholes in different areas of my tops hanging in my walkin closet.


Not from the friction of rubbing against anything. I think some kind of mite or insect. Help!

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August 31, 20130 found this helpful

None of these answers explains the holes which I am increasingly finding in the seats of my pants. They are in the pattern of a round hole about the size of a pencil eraser with a smaller hole next to it. Have also found similar holes in tops and even panties.

By Carolyn M.


September 1, 20130 found this helpful

I get them from cramming clothes into a drawer. Stuffing the drawer makes items catch between the drawer and cabinet causing a small hole or cut in the fabric. Sometimes the hole doesn't become apparent until after laundering. And I still do it. When will I ever learn?

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 28, 20080 found this helpful

Is there a connection between front loading washers and tiny holes in T-shirts?

Leslie from Columbus, OH


Tiny Holes In Clothing

Are the holes in front about waist high? My guys have ALWAYS had little holes there and I finally decided it was because that area rubs on the front fasteners of their pants. No difference for us in our old top load and new front load. (06/25/2008)

By Judi

Tiny Holes In Clothing

Make sure you are zipping up all zippers and buttons because with front loaders the clothes rub together. (06/25/2008)


Tiny Holes In Clothing

No. I have a top loading washer and have tiny holes all through my t-shirts! Very annoying! I embroider small flowers over the holes in my granddaughter's t-shirts and she loves them. No one else in her class has the same shirt! (06/25/2008)

By Dena Roberts

Tiny Holes In Clothing

It is probably from using too much bleach, or using bleach too often, which eats through clothes over time and weakens and destroys the fibers. (06/26/2008)

By Anita

Tiny Holes In Clothing

I was told that on the more inexpensive t shirts, the little holes are where the machine making them starts a new thread. They unravel a little at that point and, I don't know if this is true or not, but my more expensive t-shirts don't seem to have the little hole problem. (06/26/2008)

By Kathy Klahn

Tiny Holes In Clothing

I have the same frustrating issue of tiny holes in the front waist line of my t shirts, which happened within the last month. Same washer/dryer so that's not the issue. Then I thought "moths!", but it's not all my clothes, and they usually don't attack cotton, and how can it be a coincidence that the bugs would always eat the same place on the T shirts. Is it my seatbelt?

I've "lost" 7 shirts over the past few weeks, some cheap, some expensive, some new, some are old. I think it might be my detergent. I've read that biological detergents with enzymes (purposes of the enzymes is to break down protein, starches and fat that may be found in dirt and stains upon clothing to be laundered, for example food stains, sweat or mud) might attack shirts, specifically proteins on a shirt, so if you have a bit of silk or a splatter of grease or a bit of wool in a T shirt, the enzymes can differentiate a stain from the fabric of the shirt, so it attacks & causes the hole. I've tried to become more "environmentally friendly" using non-toxic, natural laundry detergent, but I think this is the cause of my holes in my T shirts. So, I'm switching back to tide, getting some new shirts, and hoping for the best. (08/18/2008)

By Sarah

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January 13, 20110 found this helpful

There are tiny holes showing up at the top of my blouse and t-shirts. Does anyone have an answer as to why? These were fairly new clothes.

By bettie jackson from Detroit, MI


Tiny Holes In Clothing

You may have moths eating your clothes, or it may be that you need to separate your laundry loads into regular, delicate, etc., if you aren't already doing so. Also buttoning buttons, and zipping zippers when you wash may help too so fabrics don't snag. (04/12/2010)

By Jennifer

Tiny Holes In Clothing

It sounds like zippers in the washer to me. Delicate clothing should be washed separately. Even buttons that have sharp edges can do it. Watch what you put in the laundry and see if there might be a culprit there. Also your washer could have chipped places on the tub. (04/14/2010)

By Lilac

Tiny Holes In Clothing

I thought of something else. Do you have a cat? When cats jump up on your lap they sometimes snag clothes with their claws. (04/14/2010)

By Lilac

Tiny Holes In Clothing

I am having this same problem for the last 2 years, in fact last month I bought 4 new t-shirts, wore 2 of them once only to find holes in them after the first wash (nice front loaders).
I am inclined to think it is moth larvae. (I have put catchers in my closet and have caught small moths, but not continuously, just after I first put them in.)
Here is a post I found on a different site, I copied and pasted it because in my opinion it was the most helpful.

I collect textiles and had a serious moth infestation a few months ago, which cost me thousands of dollars to deal with (in addition to what I needed to throw out). Here's what you need to know.

You may not see anything flying around. I discovered the problem when I found holes in a stored rug. I ultimately found a tribal cape that was infested.

Moths and beetles eat natural fibers and not just wool, although whatever was in my closet showed a real preference for goat hair. Any type of fur, silk, etc. are all at risk. Silverfish eat paper, etc.

The first step in dealing with an infestation is to clean out the closet, have "everything" dry cleaned or washed in hot water and have all holes/cracks in any sort of closet sealed. Vacuum and wash the closet thoroughly, then get an exterminator who specializes in this, like Orkin. They need to come every 3 months and are only a partial solution. You can monitor how things are going by buying traps and pheromone lures, unfortunately, you need different lures for each type of moth (there are two), etc. and you need to put in new lures every couple of months. Pheromones will kill males, but the traps are more important for monitoring. If you have something that you can't clean, see if you can put it into the freezer, cranked up to high, for two weeks, then thaw it carefully.

Cedar is useless. What seems to have worked was the fact that cedar closets and chests are tightly sealed, but as for hangers, chips, blocks, spray, nope - read the literature.

Clean things before you store them for the summer. You'd be amazed at how much is known about moths dietary preferences, e.g., ring around the collar, different stains. Yuck!

If you store rugs, you can have them moth proofed, which will last for 3 years and costs about $25 per rug. A good rug dealer can do it; I had valuable antiques done.

Since this is a chronic concern in museums, there's a lot of good information on-line, including:

And whatever you do, do NOT just ignore the holes and hope whatever you've got will go away.
Posted by Taureg on May 9th 2007 at 3:14pm (04/21/2010)

By tamra

Tiny Holes In Clothing

I have had the same problem for six years and I just figured it out! Do you have Cambria countertops? My countertop even though it had no rough edges turned out to be the culprit. If you do, call their customer service number and they will have someone come out and sand the edges. I just bought a new shirt last night and for the first time in six years I am not going to be completely paranoid when I wear it. I hope this helps! (04/30/2010)

By Megan

Tiny Holes In Clothing

This has been driving me nuts for over a year or at least my husband says I am.
Thanks to the person who had the tip on the counter top.
I just took a holey t-shirt and put it on backwards and pretended to do my normal or at least it is for women normal kitchen routine. I washed, rinsed, and prepared dinner. Moving at the speed most mothers do, it didn't take but a few minutes for the holes to appear in the stomach area of my shirt. The quartz countertop was the bug I though was in my closet and now I know why it didn't effective my husband's shirts. Ha ha he is only at the table eating. Thanks for the tip love going to my closet, bug free!

By Wilma

Tiny Holes In Clothing

We own two Hondas, and I know without a doubt that their seat belts have been destroying our shirts. Took me a while to figure it out, but after wearing yet another brand new shirt to the grocery store, less than ten minutes away, I could see the rub marks from the seat belt rivet and the typical pattern of small holes within the rub marks. (It was my very first time wearing the shirt!)

I wrote a letter to Honda. Their customer service department called and basically accused me of lying about the damage and dollar amount of shirts that had been ruined. (Several years worth of nice clothes, x 2 people, can add up fast, especially when you have to keep replacing them due to holes in the front!) He said I was the only person who had ever complained, and because there wasn't a recall on the seat belt, they were not going to do anything about it. I try to remember now to put the seat belt under my shirt, but I forgot a few weeks ago and it happened again. I swore at myself and then at the very rude Honda guy who doesn't believe me. I wanted to hold it up in front of his face and yell, "See I'm not lying!" (12/29/2010)

By Stella

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April 12, 20100 found this helpful

I am looking for a solution as to what to do about tiny holes in cotton t-shirts. All of the postings that I have read so far haven't answered my question relating to finding the source.

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March 26, 20110 found this helpful

I keep finding tiny round holes in my clothing and think it may be caused by moths. Should I be able to see these moths? If so what do they look like? Thanks.

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