Holey Shirt!

I am coming to you, my five or six loyal readers, with a pressing matter.  Please send any and all tips you might have! For the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing mysterious, small-but-obvious round holes in a large percentage of my cotton t-shirts and tank tops. Weirdly, the holes are in almost exactly the same place on every top: just south of the belly button region. I see no sign of bug infestation in my dresser or anywhere in my apartment, and can’t get a definitive answer from Google about what types of critters even eat cotton. I’ve found people who claim to be battling similar problems, and they believe the holes may be due to jean-related friction. I’m skeptical, and anyway, why would previously harmless jeans suddenly start causing issues? The holes are driving me crazy and will soon leave me with nothing to wear but rags. Please advise!!!

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Holey Shirt!

25 thoughts on “Holey Shirt!

  1. pepprdsunlight says:

    I shop mostly at Eddie Bauer, but have purchased shirts from different stores. It happens with all of my cotton shirts, no matter where they come from, both cheaper and more expensive shirts. However, Eddie Bauer curvy jeans fit me best so ALL of my denim jeans over the past 8 years have come from Eddie Bauer. Although I now have serious problems with holes in my shirts (all of my cotton shirts have holes in the same area), it’s not something I’ve always had issues with, so I’ve found it a bit puzzling and have been quite frustrated over it. Why is it happening now when it didn’t happen before?

    While trying to solve the mystery, I came realized it has only happened since I switched to Eddie Bauer Jeans about 8 years ago. I exhausted all other possibilities (I do not have granite countertops, moths, etc.), and realized it is most likely the metal button on the jeans, specifically the post and socket type. Eddie Bauer is probably not the only clothing store to use those type of buttons on their jeans, but most of my jeans in the past did not have those types of buttons, and I didn’t have problems with holes in my shirts like I’ve had for the past few years.

    The final proof for me was when my teenage daughter started having the problem. When she was younger I bought her jeans from Old Navy and Gap Kids. But as she got older and developed curves those no longer worked for her, so I bought her a pair of Eddie Bauer curvy jeans to try. They fit her well, but the first time she wore them she got holes in the shirt she was wearing and it had never happened to her before!

    We later found jeans to fit her at American Eagle and now that’s mostly what she wears. She still has the Eddie Bauer jeans and has discovered she doesn’t get holes in her shirt if the shirt is tucked in. Every time she’s worn those jeans, if she forgets to tuck her shirt in, she ends up with holes in her shirt in the same area I would get holes in my shirts. So now, she only wears the Eddie Bauer jeans to work, because she HAS to have her work shirt tucked in, and guess what? She’s gotten no holes in her cotton work shirt! Plus, she’s never gotten holes in her shirts when wearing American Eagle jeans or any of other jeans she used to wear from Gap Kids or Old Navy.

    Thus, I am convinced it is the button causing the problem, and I think it happens while sitting, when the cotton shirt tends to get creased or pinched in at the waist and abdomen. That’s when it can get caught up with the button and the button can push against the shirt, snag it, and cause holes.

    I’m now looking for new jeans for myself that don’t have the post and socket type metal buttons. Hopefully I can find some that fit me and put an end to my holey shirts!

  2. I have had the same problem for years and wish there was a solution. I have a few double layer shirts that developed these tiny holes just below my waist, but the holes were on the outside only. There are times when I have holes in new tees only a few hours after putting them on. I also have had holes appear in my sleep tees in the same spot(no button to cause friction from the inside). Almost every tee I own now has tiny holes. It doesn’t matter how much the tee was, Victoria Secret, Eddie Bauer, Gap, and Boston Proper to name a few, the holes do not discriminate. It has to be external friction and the granite countertop seems to be the most logical answer for me. I have been tucking my tee shirts into the front of my waistband while in the house and so far no new holes. I hope this solution will be helpful. (I also find it odd that most men don’t have this problem, maybe we should get out of the kitchen and let them do the work in there.)

    1. I have been having the same issue with all my tees no matter the brand, material, or location of manufacture. Every suggested reason by everyone on each website discussing this I have not found to be the cause of the holes in my shirts…which are always in the belly area. This has been going on for a few years now and everyone I have spoken to about it has no clue what I am talking about because it has not happened to them. Very strange.
      I think we need to go to the TVstations news and talk shows, get this out in the national arena and maybe someone will come forward with an answer. It is costing a lot of money to keep buying shirts only to have them, within hours or days, have holes and unable to wear them except around the house, the garden, walk in the neighborhood, or late night quickie run to the nearby corner store connected to the gas station!

  3. Chris says:

    I have had this problem occurring for about 7-8 years. It has happened to all of my good tops – not cheap ones. I have bought beautiful european brands only to have holes appear. I have been trying to find out what is causing this for many years. I’ve changed washing baskets. Some people said it was the seat belt but I have changed cars about 3 times so that rules that out. I have put it down to the zipper on the jeans. Waste’s on jeans are lower so therefore the zippers are lower and if the tag of the zipper sticks out it rubs on the top. I don’t believe it is the benchtops as I have had it happen when I have been on holidays and not near a benchtop.

    1. marjie michaels says:

      Hi Chris – I’ve had this problem for 9 years and it’s driving me crazy. I think I finally have the answer. I think it’s the granite or any reconstituted stone counter top. It started in my house where we had a granite bench but last November we moved to an apartment with a Ceasar Stone counter. That’s a brand name for reconstituted stone and I think it may be called something else in the States. I live in Melbourne, Australia. I’m originally from NY. I took a pair of my jeans and held a cotton t-shirt over the metal button. Then I rubbed it along the edge of the counter and tiny holes appeared immediately. I also found it stopped happening when I wore my side zip jeans. Now I have to get a stone mason to smooth the counter. Last summer every one of my t-shirts got holes. I’m hoping this is the answer. I feel it is because I can actually make it happen. Good luck!!

      1. I am in awe of the response this puny post has gotten! I also so feel the pain of everyone who has suffered from this problem. I still have no clue what’s causing the holes, but I’m leaning towards a combination of delicate fabric and abrasion from the top of my jeans. I refuse to believe bugs are involved, since I’ve now had the problem in three different apartments, and it seems even odder that bugs would make holes in exactly the same place in every shirt. I will say that if you don’t mind a very subtle thread bump, you can fill in the holes.

  4. Doug Smith says:

    Finally the answer – my wife and I had been having the same problem for years, tiny holes in our t-shirts/tank tops/work out shirts for years, and thought it was bugs. We are relieved to know it’s not bugs because we have finally figured out the problem. For those who have mysterious holes in the front of their shirts, just below or around the belt buckle line, it could be caused by an exercise you do with dumb bells called “shoulder fly raises”. When you bring the dumb bells down from their top position they will sometimes hit together/clank at the bottom of the exercise and make holes, sometimes two at a time, in your t-shirts/work out shirts. Try it and see, but make sure it is a shirt you don’t mind ruining because it will work. If this is the answer you have been waiting for go to Facebook and look up Bracelets for Jamie or Never Give Up Jamie Rachael Monaghan and make a donation to this beautiful young girl who was severely hurt in an automobile accident in March of 2010.

  5. hayleygee says:

    Well I have been having this problem too, i thought it was a belt buckle or zip until just the other day …brand new long t-shirt and by the evening there were holes, however i wasn’t wearing a belt AND the holes were low down and not anywhere near where i would lean on a counter top! my 2 daughters have the same problem and let me tellyou they spend No time in the kitchen.
    It drives me mad

  6. Anonymous says:

    the problem is the zipper on your jeans and/or hoodies!
    i’ve been doing detective work about this problem for a while. lift up your shirt when you zip up your pants and hopefully it won’t get snagged. rough counter edges are a possible culprit too i would think.

  7. mermaidrachel says:

    am so glad to find I am not the only one with this really annoying problem! I have just recently started to get quite upset by this mystery as I now have at least 6 t-shirts that are affected and I don’t want to look scruffy or have to keep buying new clothes! But I think I do agree with the theory that it’s a kitchen counter problem. I moved into a new rented place about 4 months ago and have only had these stomach-level T-shirt holes occur since then. Today I asked my landlady about this as she used to live here herself. We both agreed it’s very unlikely I have moths as I live in a hot climate, have few woollen clothes around and tiled floors which are hoovered and washed very regularly plus no evidence of moths. Plus the affected t-shirts are clothes I wear often. She told me that she once had a shirt affected in the same way and she tracked it down to the tiled counter-top by the sink – it was waist height abrasion when she stood washing up etc. Even though the edge is hardly sharp, there is a tile edge that juts out very slightly which is supposedly the culprit. despite it seeming like it would cause no damage I think it is this combined with cheap cotton fabric and then frequent washing that is almost definitely the answer. Especially as none of my other clothes have been affected. so maybe it’s best to wear an apron in the kitchen? I plan to do this for the time being and wear an unaffected t-shirt to see if it that prevents the damage.

  8. hwebb says:

    I have been beyond plagued by this and have even offered cash rewards to people to help me figure it out!!! I have to say that the countertop must be the answer… reason being, since I started working from home 4 years ago when my daughter was born, it is 100% worse and I am always in the kitchen. I just bought like 8 new shirts at Eddie Bauer yesterday and I am going to become very aware of this and see what happens!!!

    I continue to be amazed by the number of people who suffer from this same tragic problem and the lack of definitive cause. SO aggravating! I hope your theory is right and that, now that you’re aware of it, your EB shirts escape the mysterious holes.

  9. zheb says:

    Exactly the same problem. These posts make me feel better, I am not mad or that sloppy after all. I really think it’s because of the quality of the fabric – it must have really worsened in the last 1-2 years. Plus, someone above mentioned it was also getting thinner, which even if it looks nicer, it must not be very durable. I think I am going to stop buying crap from Target, Gap, JCrew and the like. If it sells for $10 or less, imagine what the production cost must be – super low, which does not instill in me faith in its quality. As usual, the cheap ends up costing us more…

  10. Lynn says:

    Oh and by the way.. it would make total sense that the boyfriend shirts don’t have it. They’re not in the kitchen as much. Besides they stick their butts out when in the kitchen so they don’t catch anything on the knobs… if you know what I mean.

  11. Lynn says:

    I FIGURED IT OUT!!! I too have been having the problem even since I left my ex husband. But I ALSO moved to another house… with granite counter tops. I caught my self doing this the other day and experimented with my idea. and sure enough… when I would rub against the counters (washing dishes or cooking) it doesn’t have to be a lot of pressure, just enough for the edge to snag a teeny tiny thread. I assume it doesn’t have to be granite. It can be any counter that has a slightly rough edge! I’m so happy to have figured this crap out!!! And after 2 years and hundreds of dollars in new shirts… I GOT IT!!!! I hope this helps! Oh and its SO true about the dryer making it worse!

  12. Clare says:

    I’m going mad with this problem, of tiny holes at the front of my T-shirts. Just bought a new T-shirt, (not a cheap brand). I wore it once, washed it and voila there appears 3 tiny holes. I’ve searched other websites and no-one has found the answer. Some say washers, detergent, jean buttons, mayby pets climbing on them, moths nope no-ones got the answer.

  13. 1) Stop buying cheaply made clothes.
    2) Stop washing your clothes on the wrong cycles. My relatives complained about clothes wearing out fast and I told them to stop washing t-shirts with warm or hot water. You’re not supposed to. And same goes with drying. Hanging them out to dry is way better than using the dryer. The dryer causes any damage to be accentuated.

  14. Megs says:

    I am having the same problem and am thinking that it is the metal button on my shorts or jeans that is leaving the hole. I put a brand new t-shirt on this morning and within an hour and a half there was discolouration and a hole in the shirt around about where my button is. I am going through so many shirts. I am going to try to replace the buttons on my shorts and jeans and hope that it fixes the problem.

  15. smalltownsmalltimes says:

    I’ve had the exact same problem. Most of my tshirts are from JCrew. The skinny, preppy blonde who worked at JCrew told me she had never seen such a thing (when I returned no less than three holey shirts). She essentially shamed me –like I was poking holes in them for attention or something.

    I now wash all of my tshirts on the delicate cycle and air dry them, which is a pain in the ass since I seem to have a problem dribbling food on everything I wear.

    Glad to know I’m not alone (at least on the holey shirts, though I like to think I’m not the only one with the dribble problem as well).

    Also glad to know the skinny, preppy blonde at JCrew is a liar. HA!

  16. Maybe it’s the uber-thin fabric that retailers are pushing in order to encourage us to do the layered look to increase their sales volume.

    Or maybe it is a creepy landlord.

  17. Captainmicahp says:

    The same thing happens to me. I always attributed it to the corrosive nature of my tummy.

    I have always suspected your tummy of corrosiveness. Perhaps you need to remove the formaldehyde.

  18. I have this exact problem – little holes in nearly all of my shirts just below my belly button. To be clear: 1) not all of these shirts are tight fitting so consistent rubbing on my jeans does not seems likely. 2) I have an inny belly button, not an outy so it can’t be that. 3) I do not always wear the same coat so I don’t think it’s something in my coats catching. 4) I always DO wear a coat, so I don’t think it’s my car seatbelt either. And, 5) All of the holes are in exactly the same spot and are not happening to Boyfriend so I’ve ruled out bugs or laundry issues, etc.
    If you figure this out please, PLEASE let me know how to stop it!

    Isn’t it SO annoying??? It’s literally torturing me!! I will definitely keep you posted, and let me know if YOU come up with any solutions. I just read that certain chemicals — like those in Stain Stick/Shout, for instance — break down cotton fibers, so that’s one theory … UGH!! I feel your pain and am sorry you have to endure this.

  19. It is probably the landlord or the maintenance man. There is a disturbing fetish where dudes poke little holes in clothing and try to poke their wienies through them. I would change my locks or set up a spy cam. Oh yeah, trash the shirts.

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