Why Do My T-Shirts Get Holes in the Bottom?

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Why Do My T-Shirts Get Holes in the Bottom- get the answer and how to solve this issue

I was once in a client’s wardrobe doing a wardrobe therapy session and the smell of mothballs was overpowering.

She had them all over her closet, hanging everywhere.

I asked her if she had a serious moth problem and she said, absolutely, let me show you!

Then she pulled knit top after knit top, t-shirt after t-shirt out of the wardrobe with little holes around the middle near the bottom of the front of the top.

Then she asked me, if it’s not moths then…

Why Do My T-Shirts Get Holes in the Bottom?

It made me laugh. I pointed out that her moths must have some sort of weird OCD as they only ever made holes at exactly the same spot on all her tops – had she noticed that?  They were all around the belly button area.

 

She was puzzled … and then I pointed out that the holes were made by …

… the button of her jeans and not moths.

Yes that’s right. A super common issue and one that can be easily remedied by wearing a cami underneath your tee, and having that cover the button so you nice knit top doesn’t get to touch, rub, and get caught up in that button which tears tiny holes in your tops.

She was super happy to get rid of all those moth balls as they really do stink.

So there you have it – the answer to your t-shirt holes.

Moths tend to eat your clothes indiscriminately.  If holes keep appearing in the same spots on your clothes then the answer to why they appear is about something rubbing and grabbing onto the fabric and tearing tiny holes.  Other culprits may be things like handbag straps and seat belts!

If you love your jeans and keep getting holes, you can try the Shirt Guardian, which has been developed to stop that friction of the button, your top and the kitchen benchtop (or whatever is making them rub together).  It fits over your button and helps to reduce this friction.

Get pilling just under your boob on your knits?  Then here is the answer to that conundrum too (and how to solve this pesky issue).

Signs It’s Time To Let Go

A Solution for Pesky Thigh Rubbing and Chaffing

Wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear- grab your free ebook Your 5 Step Formula for a Fabulous Wardrobe on a Budget

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31 Comments

  • Some buttons and buckles place little metal particles by rubbing against clothes. When t-shirts are washed, the holes are caused by rust corrosion. This is an explanation I have read here in Europe.
    Grz Maggie

    • I also think it is caused by belt buckles because they don’t lay flat. The prong sticks up and always caused holes in my shirts. With many men’s buckles, the prong lays flat into the little notched groove.

  • I always thought it was the belt buckle. In my case it may be as I always wear a belt. I do front tuck now to avoid ruining nice Ts. The camisole is a good idea for cooler months. Thank you

  • These little snags and holes are annoying and often upsetting when it happens to a good top. I have thought the little holes must be due to the buttons. But not all buttons sharp or rough. Do you think then it could be the stitching through the button causing the snags and holes, as that is quite rough?

  • I also had this problem and found another reason this may happen.
    My counter top in my kitchen had a rough spot right where I stand to do dishes. We tried to sand it out but it is right in the stone. My solution is to try to remember to always where an apron when working at it.

  • I noticed these small, pin point holes in my tops as well. I put it down to standing at the sink and splashing soapy water on myself and that the soap was eating my tops. Now, I do the dishes in my apron. I guess I need to get pants that zip on the side or pull up and not wear my favorite tops with button pants.

  • My shirts too! But I worked out it was due to catching on the granite benchtops. Now I wear an apron and no more holes!

  • I have found that the fabric at the very upper corner of the waist belt of jeans, right past the buttonhole, tends to stick out a bit after you have buttoned your jeans. This is what has been causing that little hole in my shirts, and not the button itself. I wear a clear plastic stretch belt through my jean loops and keep this little corner flap tucked in – and no more new little tee-shirt holes.

  • I laughed so hard when I read this as it has been a topic of conversation with my friends and I for many years! We decided that there were “t-shirt fairies” that flew around and put little holes in the bottom of our shirts. Haha! A few weeks ago, I intuited that it might be the button of my jeans or maybe my belts as they are part of my every day work wardrobe. Then, I read your latest post. Bazinga! I cannot tell you how crazy this has been making me! Thank you! I’m sending this out to all my friends. Fairies, be gone! 😀

  • Other things that I have found, are super long necklaces hitching delicate fabrics, and bracelets with sharp claws or edges will hitch clothes on your sides and wherever else you move you arm. As well as trolleys and counters in shops.

  • I still don’t get the rubbing against a snap or button to create the holes. It is happening to shirts I have worn only twice and laundered once. I am thinking that it is poor weaving of fabric, but why there near the waist. I have always been a t-shirt women and this problem has just been happening for the past 5 years. It has to be the quality of fabric. I just found another hole in a favorite tee that I bought in the spring. Not happy.

  • Lots of thoughts, but consider this. What’s changed in our world that could be causing this. I’m 63 and have been a lot rougher on clothes in my younger years so I don’t buy any of the “wear” theorys by buttons, buckles, countertops or the like. My guess is fabric quality has changed, so maybe prone to failure around high wear areas. Again, something has to be different from years ago when this type of failure was unheard of.

  • Jon is right! Something has changed from years past. The way they process the cotton fabric or other fabrics has to have changed. However, I am removing the metal button from two pair of jeans and replacing with a sturdy plastic button to see if it’s something in the metal buttons used now. Either way I’ve lost so many nice tops to these holes. It’s war! The manufacturers need to be told. Good luck with that, right!

  • I have replaced the metal buttons with plastic buttons on two pair of jeans. I have worn shirts without holes to see if I would get holes. After 2 weeks of trying different shirts and times I wear them and NO HOLES. So, I believe it’s the metal buttons. I’m going to change all my jeans to plastic buttons.

  • I do not believe this at all. I do not wear jeans. I believe it’s because when we clean at the sink, the chemicals in the cleaners get on what we are wearing, right near the belly button area, and eat thru the material. I have large holes and tiny holes, 4 inches across. timy hilos

    • Not sure what chemicals you’re using Mary – but soap certainly doesn’t put holes in my clothes. There is actually some research out there and friction is the most common reason!

  • I disagree with this theory – I have had new tops affected that haven’t even been worn yet if stored near affected items. This affects anything with lycra or stretch equivalent and it’s only been happening for me in past three or so years years. I have worn jeans and stretch tops for decades. It was more noticeable to me after I bought 6 similar tops that were really loose and holes began appearing around the waist. It affected some favorite sweaters that I’d have for years that hung nearby in the closet as well as some stretch t shirts in drawers stored near the ones with this issue. Most have now been thrown out but if you hold fabric up to light you can see a progression of a kind of whitish mark in the fabric and then you can see it develop. It’s so frustrating and I’ve had to be careful what I store where and next to what. I’ve had to throw so much away. I definitely don’t think it’s moths but I also don’t buy the rubbing on buckle or jean button theory in this scenario. I have cedar in the closet and balls in drawers as well as moth/silverfish prevention products just in case. Desperate to find solution.

    • If you don’t believe it’s from friction from buttons, belt loops and zips – why is it only at the waist not higher up? That is the area of the top that gets the most wear – friction will put a hole into it – don’t worry too much about the moths!

  • I have had new tops affected that haven’t even been worn yet if stored near affected items. This affects anything with lycra or stretch equivalent and it’s only been happening for me in past three or so years years. I have worn jeans and stretch tops for decades. It was more noticeable to me after I bought 6 similar tops that were really loose and holes began appearing around the waist. It affected some favorite sweaters that I’d have for years that hung nearby in the closet as well as some stretch t shirts in drawers stored near the ones with this issue. Most have now been thrown out but if you hold fabric up to light you can see a progression of a kind of whitish mark in the fabric and then you can see it develop. It’s so frustrating and I’ve had to be careful what I store where and next to what. I’ve had to throw so much away. I definitely don’t think it’s moths but I also don’t buy the rubbing on buckle or jean button theory in this scenario. I have cedar in the closet and balls in drawers as well as moth/silverfish prevention products just in case. Desperate to find solution.

    • I would suggest it’s leaning on benches where the fabric rubs on your waistband and buttons – loose tops move more and are also more likely to get a little snagged in zips and buttons as you do them up and get more pulls.

  • in response to your response saying if it’s not to do with belt loops or buttons, some tops were very loose, not touching buttons and some things had never even been worn – just stored next to items already with holes. Also some holes in upper arm area. Something is eating away and no one has the answer yet… very frustrating.

    • Upper arm area will also most likely be friction – seat belts are another culprit for these as well as handbags! Often the top may not touch – until you lean onto the kitchen bench and then it starts rubbing.

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