How to Prevent Pinholes in T-Shirts Near your Belly Button

If you have come to find little pinholes on your t-shirts and lightweight knit tops, especially near your belly button, you're not the only one. It seems to happen more often and only in the past few years.  I've experienced such pinholes in my tees before and went to research why this happens, how to prevent pinholes in t-shirts, and how to repair such holes.

Why Do We Get Pinholes in Our T-Shirts?

The most popular reason I have found for why we get such pinholes in our t-shirts is friction. The pinholes are usually caused by friction against the metal hardware on jeans. Your button, but also the rivets, zipper, and the tough knots of thread around the fly can wear against knit t-shirts. Add working at a counter, a heavy crossbody bag, or your seatbelt and they appear even more quickly (more friction plus body heat). Mix in trendy tissue-weight, slub, or lower quality knits.  These have all become more popular in recent years because even quality retailers have been choosing lower-quality cotton and jersey to keep prices competitive with the popularity of fast fashion.  

There' are many hacks online that claim to stop holes from appearing at the bottom half of t-shirts and knit tops… and most of them don't work or look good. Many websites suggest fortifying the navel of your t-shirt with interfacing, but I can only imagine that affecting the drape of the tee and look really odd if you decide to tuck it in. Some suggest wearing a camisole under t-shirts, which offers a buffer but isn't always the most comfortable or possible option. I even saw some sites suggest covering the button of jeans with a Band-Aid and had to try it.  It may work, I will never know as one day of this hack left a gummy residue on my button (and don't accidentally launder your jeans with a Band-Aid on it, that creates even more of a mess). My “favorite” hack found online was just to wear crop tops.  Yeah, that's not going to happen in my wardrobe any time soon!

How to Prevent Pinholes in your T-Shirts

Tucking in your top, even if it's a half tuck, is the easiest and free solution. Another solution is to wear pull-on pants or pants with a tab closure. But what about those of us who love our jeans and don't want to tuck in our tops?

The best solution is to cover the hardware causing the damage. Belt buckles can be just as damaging, but if you can find a belt with a smooth buckle that may help. Long-time readers know I am a huge fan of Beltaway. This is a stretchy belt free of any metal hardware that is virtually invisible under untucked knits. The buckle is smooth plastic and large enough to cover your jean button even when sitting. These belts come in a variety of styles and colors (I have a white one for white jeans, navy for regular denim, black for black jeans). FYI, this is a belt you don't have to take off at TSA check-in at the airport! If you wish to find something already in your closet, consider wearing a scarf through your belt loops.  See me styling a silky scarf as a belt, and styling a chiffon scarf as a belt.

Companies have seen the need for button covers that prevent friction and have made some handy gadgets. In the US, Shirt Guardian makes button covers that smooth the edges and prevent friction. Their site is quite informative, helping you choose the right size cover and providing instruction on how to put it on your jeans. Shipping is free if you live in the States. I personally have tried out Holé, a company that makes silicone caps for denim buttons. I find Holé button covers to be easy to get on, not easy to fall off, and I think have prevented pinholes in my t-shirts. Holé shipping is around $3 to the US.

How to Repair Pinholes in your T-Shirts

As soon as you see one of these pinholes, don't wait and definitely don't launder again (it will just make the hole larger). There are some pretty easy ways to repair or disguise pinholes in t-shirts and knit tops.

  • I love Stitch Witchery for many things, including repairing t-shirts. Using the ultra-light version, cut a piece a bit bigger than the hole and place it on the inside of the shirt. Then cut a piece a very lightweight fabric stabilizer (this is a good one for knits) a bit bigger than the Stitch Witchery. With a dampened pressing cloth (just spray with water, no need to get soaking wet) and your iron on the medium or wool setting, press your iron over the layers (don't rub). Flip the shirt rightside-out, adjust the weave with your fingers to close the hole a bit, and press again with the iron. This isn't the best for tissue-weight or sheer/slub-knit t-shirts, but works for most knits.
  • If you're comfortable with a needle and thread, visit YouTube where there are many video tutorials showing you how to darn a hole in your t-shirt. You'll want a thin needle and non-shiny thread the same color as your shirt. This is a great option for thin or dressy knits as it doesn't add any bulk.

And if you have any hacks that have proven successful (and haven't left gummy residue all over your favorite jeans) do share in the comments below!

Shop Products to Help Prevent Pinholes and Repair T-Shirts:

This post was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2020 with new information and products available on the market.

106 Comments

  1. Karen
    July 15, 2020 / 7:29 pm

    To all of you, it is a fact it is the material they are all using!! Crap Crap Crap. That’s it period. It’s bull s_it. So what can we do?? Any suggestions???

  2. Jennifer King
    July 15, 2020 / 10:27 am

    Hi Alison – Great tips in this post, thank you! I’m curious if you have any thoughts on Beltaway v Invisibelt? I’ve tried Invisibelt and they eventually stretched out and ripped.

    Thanks!
    Jennifer

  3. S Johnson
    July 11, 2020 / 3:30 pm

    I have found since we had stone worktops I have holes in about twelve of my t-shirts even my Ralphy ones which I love so very annoying and came to the conclusion it is granite worktops as they are smooth to the touch but slightly underneath the bottom edge is quite rough and as I tend to stand at the end of the work top preparing food it is too much of a coincidence that is exactly where the holes are. If anyone has any ideas what can be done I would be grateful of any suggestions and even thought about clear varnish to see if it makes it smoother.

    • Sharon Stock
      July 24, 2020 / 12:19 am

      I came to the same conclusion: the holes are from rough edges underneath my countertop. I took a Dremel tool and ground away all the way around my kitchen focusing on smoothing out that bottom edge. Success!

  4. Nissa
    June 22, 2020 / 11:59 am

    my husband thinks I have acid draining from my belly button

    • Cindy Sherman
      June 30, 2020 / 3:27 pm

      My husband said the same thing about me! It happens no matter what I’m wearing my t-shirt with – it’s happened on my pajamas with nothing on under them. The other day, I borrowed a t-shirt from my daughter and within two hours, three tiny holes appeared! I cannot figure out for the life of me what the heck is causing this!!

  5. Jerry Moyer
    June 21, 2020 / 1:16 pm

    These pen holes can get somewhat expensive as well as irritating , I have a half dozen + T shirts that has not been worn more than 4 – 5 times that developed these holes we all are talking about. The problem is in the quality of their product not with the buttons, zippers etc. I have been wearing the same brand T shirts with the same type pants for 40 years and its only been in the last 5 years that the holes started. The big questions is how to stop the industry from making such garbage and I don’t think it’s about cost it’s about greed, they can never make a large enough profit! What To Do??????

    • D Dunn
      August 5, 2020 / 12:36 pm

      I agree, I bought some “vintage” tee tops at a yard sale for $3, wore them with jeans for at least 2 years on a regular basis…no holes. Bought an expensive tee too from Dillard’s, wore 2 times and it developed holes! Spending $30+ for tee shirts in no longer an option for me.

  6. Michele
    June 19, 2020 / 7:47 am

    I get them in my pajama tops as well!?!?!

  7. Cathi Langley
    June 12, 2020 / 12:48 am

    Unfortunately I have been experiencing the “tiny shirt hole” problem for about 5-6 years now but it has nothing to do with jeans. I wear the shirts with cotton elastic waist shorts, mostly from LL Bean. I’ve had it happen with LL Bean shirts, Ralph Lauren shirts, Ann Taylor shirts and Target shirts and the holes are always in the lower front half. I am convinced the cheap quality of the material is to blame and the brand of the shirts make no difference. Basically they are all crap. Except for the men’s tshirts I own. Those are, predictably, just fine. No holes in those and they cost about half as much. I’m not much for conspiracy theories, but you gotta wonder what is going on with this.

    • Betsy
      June 13, 2020 / 3:57 am

      Also relieved to have found this article. Sadly some of my more expensive cotton tee shirts also have these tiny holes. So I either half tuck in the tee shirt or well- or just put up with the holes. I am a clean and tidy person and really look after my clothes – but as this problem seems so widespread and shared universally then we can understand that it’s not neglect or sloppiness but it’s the fabric and the buttons.

    • Jerry Moyer
      June 26, 2020 / 2:32 pm

      You are wrong, These same pen holes are prevalent in men’s T-shirts as well, the conspiracy as you refer to is really called , low overhead and high profits, maybe you are right CATHI I guess you could call it a conspiracy against all humans that buy T-shirts!

      • Cathi Langley
        June 30, 2020 / 9:31 pm

        Well I haven’t bought men’s t-shirts in a few years, so I am sorry to hear those too have fallen victim to the tiny mystery holes. I guess you just can’t win for losing.

  8. Nicholas Price
    May 28, 2020 / 2:29 am

    Hi,

    Thanks for article, but there are a few ‘holes’ 🙂 in it. I purchased Hole button covers, but wear a belt as my jeans would fall down if not, thus eliminating button friction, but then having the potential of friction of the fabric from the belt. So, I still get holes, with the covers attached to the jeans button.
    Darning the tees is something I would do if I had the patience and also the skill…but wouldn’t the holes start developing elsewhere at the bottom of the tee material. And, if I may stand on the soap box for a minute and pontificate – why should the consumers be needing to repairs an item which is not very old and should be (operative word) of such quality that holes don’t appear.
    Rubbing against counter when leaning over, wearing shoulder bag don’t apply to me, so I can rule them out. I try to remember to pull my tee so it is over the seat belt, rather than under. But, the hole get on coming.
    People, unite against the holes and lets solve this !!

    Thanks Nick

  9. Michele
    May 26, 2020 / 8:44 pm

    I am so glad that I found this thread. This has happened to every single one of my LOFT tees for at least 5 years, both short and long sleeved! I literally put on a new tank top yesterday and looked down hours later to three pinholes near the point of the fabric near the button on my shorts. I wanted to cry. This is so frustrating!!!

    • Robin
      July 23, 2020 / 1:49 pm

      Loft is the worse. I had to stop buying from them. I don’t wear belts so that’s not it. I’ve noticed the holes even after one wear. I have shirts that are years older then my Loft ones that have no holes.

  10. KaitS
    May 23, 2020 / 11:45 am

    I, too, have become utterly enraged over the past 5-8 years at just how many beautiful t-shirts I’ve worn for only a time or two get these miserable holes. I’ve thrown away so many, or relegated them to sleep shirts. I’ve just about had it with these “disposable” clothes that manufacturers are cranking out. The problem is a new one. I’m in my late 50s and grew up wearing jeans and t-shirts. Never had an issue until manufacturers started cutting corners and apparently using much cheaper, or considerably less durable materials. I can literally start out wearing a t-shirt and within an hour or two, see the abrasion from my jeans button area rubbing that area raw because the material changes color from the friction. Then, boom…tiny hole. I’ve taken to never wearing t-shirts and jeans anymore without masking tape over the button, and it helps some, but isn’t full proof. I don’t like tucked-in shirts, so it’s left me exceedingly frustrated. I’m just wasting so much money on shirts that don’t last! Lately, I’ve taken a piece of soft material and folded it over the top of my jeans and putting a tiny paperclip there to hold it in place. This is what I have to do? Are you kidding me? It’s just inexcusable. All price points and many brands suffer from this. No more disposable clothes, please!

  11. Zaeobi
    May 17, 2020 / 3:56 am

    I end up with this issue a lot, but interestingly enough, it’s always on the *upper arms* of my cardigans, instead of at the belly button. I’m usually in soft fabrics, so what gives?!

    • Francesca Azzara
      May 20, 2020 / 2:46 pm

      I have lots of tees both inexpensive and expensive. Many of them have these small holes near the belly. I only wear workout pants. I think there is a new breed of cloth eating insect. I have noticed on my dark T-shirts that there is a very fine cloud present On the fabric where the holes start. I also notice very tiny white specs are constantly present on my T-shirts. This is something you can’t see on white or light shirts but definitely on very dark ones. I would love to know if other people have noticed this.

      • laura
        June 12, 2020 / 4:57 pm

        Yes, I just bought a New black Levi’s tshirt (actually I bought 5) white, black & gray. I noticed yesterday the black has a cloud present near the button of my shorts. Today, I noticed the white shirt with a small pin hole coming on. I just received these like a week ago, and wore them 1-2 times. WTH – I cannot tell all of you how many T-shirts I have thrown away due to this problem. I would have thought Levi’s brand would have held up, like their jeans, but obviously not. Each T-shirt was approximately $17-20. Come on, and I can only wear it one time before I get a hole. Really Levi’s, you too?

  12. Sheryl
    May 16, 2020 / 5:33 pm

    Also, and maybe someone else mentioned this, but this is only an issue for women’s t-shirts. My s.o. wears cheap Old Navy shirts all day everyday and he literally never has any little holes. Something is up.

    • Sarah
      August 7, 2020 / 11:54 am

      I bought several Old Navy t-shirts earlier this year, and most all of them have the tiny holes in the front now. 🙁 Thankfully I bought them all on sale. I first noticed this happening to my jersey (t-shirt material) shirts in 2008.

      I mainly only wear t-shirts at home or running a casual errand, otherwise, I usually wear shirts made of that sturdier/stiffer cotton material that lasts forever (the material that doesn’t get the little pills on it), so it’s not a big problem, but it’s still annoying!

  13. Robin OSBORNE
    May 14, 2020 / 11:07 pm

    Okay, I am not going to address the issue of holes in shirts, but you mentioned the sticky residue that happens if you wash a band-aid with clothing. I retired a few years ago after teaching kindergarten and first grade for years so I had lots of times forgotten that I had a band-aid or sticker on my shirt or in my pocket. I found a spray at Ace Hardware called Di*Solv*It. It is a citrus oil based spray. It even removed the sticky residue after I had tumble dried a shirt! The spray comes in handy to get out oily or greasy spots as well. (It is kind of expensive though, unfortunately, $10 a bottle last time I purchased it.)

  14. Kathryn
    May 14, 2020 / 12:27 pm

    Alison, I don’t know if you’ve done one before (probably!) but a comparative review of different brands of basic tees in terms of fit, quality, and price would be helpful. I have some tees from Target that I bought several years ago that I love and that have held up like champs, but this year’s Target tees are tissue thin and 100% cotton, whereas my older ones have a little rayon/viscose that helps them not wrinkle and keep their shape. I ordered two more this year thinking they’d be like my old ones, but they’re not and I doubt they’ll last the year. I also hover between a medium and a large- my Universal Thread tees are mediums, but my A New Day ones are larges, so even within Target I’m two different sizes, although they fit about the same. I’d love to branch out into higher quality tees, but I’m not sure where to start or how to go about finding what I like from other companies- good quality fabric, a selection of colors, and a fit that’s relaxed without being a bag that tents off my boobs.

  15. annie broyles
    May 14, 2020 / 11:58 am

    I’m so glad to have found this particular subject talked about on here. For years I’ve had this problem, but generally only with the shirts I wear under my work shirts (supermarket employee; I work in the meat room and lean against counters, as well as the hand wrapper for meat). I’ve always attributed it to the heat of the hand wrapper and having to lean over it to wrap large items. I only wear certain shirts for work because I know this will happen!
    I’ve changed my work pants to some that are pull on type (from Duluth Trading) and I have definitely noticed less of an issue in my newer work shirts. (Funny, the polyester work shirts I wear OVER my t-shirts never had this problem, only the t-shirts do). And I’ve started tucking in the shirts if I decide to wear a “good” shirt to work.
    It’s actually kind of revealing that so many of us have this problem!

    • Marilyn
      June 14, 2020 / 11:15 pm

      i wore jeans and tshirts in the 70’s and never had holes in my shirts. It is the lousy fabric they use now. Cheap and thin.

  16. Veronica
    May 14, 2020 / 6:28 am

    Finding holes in every top I buy after 2-3 months is driving me mad. Had this problem for 20+ years. In that time I have changed washing machines, dryers and washing powder. Still it happens. When I google the problem I am told its my jeans, zips, metal buttons or belts. That is plainly not true because it happens to my pj tops and I tend to wear pull on leggings nowadays which contain neither. If it was due to poor fabric or moths the holes would appear all over the item. It doesnt happen to my husbands tops so its not caused by a large belly. Maybe I have fabric eating bugs living in my bellybutton!

  17. donna johnson
    April 26, 2020 / 3:42 pm

    So I’ve worn jeans and t-shirts for 40 years and honestly, until the past 15 years, pin holes were not a problem. This issue has nothing to do with jeans or friction on the bottom of the T. It’s all about manufacturing. Each year I buy 5 or 6 new t-shirts==all have holes within 2-3 months. None of them make it to the next season. This is horrible for the planet–all the Co2 released in the making, the dyes, the landfills. Not to mention my wallet. What can we as consumers do? Refuse to buy crappy products.

    • Dee
      April 28, 2020 / 1:26 am

      Agreed. It’s infuriating and a relatively recent occurance. My new t-shirts, anything knit actually, gets holes in the first few months or even washes. And why the belly button area specifically escapes me. I even got a hole in a LLBean fleece pullover. The type of pants appear to be irrelevant. This has not happened to my husband’s tees. I’ve called a couple of merchants, including LLBean, to ask what they would recommend as a deterrent but they seemed to be unaware of the problem, or so they claimed. Honestly, at this point, I don’t know where I should be shopping as the price point seems immaterial. One shouldn’t have to go out of the way for everyday clothes; most mall stores should be adequate. Also, it is hypocritical of the merchants to manufacture inferior quality shirts to wear out quickly and induce customers buy more, and request a donation at checkout to plant trees as Eddie Bauer does in the name of conservation.

  18. Cathy Minerva
    March 4, 2020 / 2:41 pm

    Ladies, none of the above has been the problem with all the holes in my tops! What is actually causing the holes is the zipper pull. If you feel how sharp the end of it is, and many times, mine will stick out and poke holes in my tops because the zipper flap isn’t wide enough to stay behind the fabric. Of course, standing in front of a countertop, etc. will make the problem even worse. We need the manufacturers of jeans to put a different type of zipper pull (rounded and smooth and also make the flap of denim fabric wider over the zipper itself). In addition to the holes, many of my tops also pill only after a few wears, no matter how expensive they are. I think we women should revolt against this. My husband never has this problem with his shirts! They are just made better than women’s!

    • Martin
      April 21, 2020 / 11:40 am

      I just found this site because I had to find out about theses little holes. There always in the same area for me at the bottom side and belly button area. I don’t wear jeans always jog bottoms mostly,as I am very active. I don’t have any areas in my home wear my tops might rub against! It could be my washing machine? Not sure. But I think it because I have hairy stomach and chest which I shave a lot! Maybe it’s the shaved hairs rubbing against the fabric????

      • donna johnson
        April 26, 2020 / 3:39 pm

        So I’ve worn jeans and t-shirts for 40 years and honestly, until the past 15 years, pin holes were not a problem. This issue has nothing to do with jeans or friction on the bottom of the T. It’s all about manufacturing. Each year I buy 5 or 6 new t-shirts==all have holes within 2-3 months. None of them make it to the next season. This is horrible for the planet–all the Co2 released in the making, the dyes, the landfills. Not to mention my wallet. What can we as consumers do? Refuse to buy crappy products.

        • Val Smith
          June 26, 2020 / 3:13 pm

          I think we need to return the merchandise as defective. I put on a brand new tee this morning and by 1 pm I can see holes start to form. Buy it wear it for a time or two, at first sight of holes exchange it. Continue doing so. The only thing that will affect the quality of the shirts is if they stop making profits from them.

  19. Marilyn Goure
    February 3, 2020 / 7:40 am

    Do you ladies have granite counter-tops? I do and that’s when I started noticing the pinholes. But only when I wore my favorite leather belt. I’m now looking for a plastic/elastic clasp belt since no one sees it anyway. And diligently wearing an apron. After 5 years of patching annoying pinholes, thanks to this post and others, for me the mystery is solved.

    • Nicole Kowalski
      May 14, 2020 / 11:50 am

      I didn’t start getting the holes until we got stone countertops! I am just the right height to lean up against them at the belly button. My husband is taller, so they hit him at a lower spot, lower than the button or zipper pull on the jeans. I started doing the half tuck when I’m doing dishes, etc. and the problem has disappeared. That’s after trying various button covers.

  20. Kathy Hodge Kramer
    January 7, 2020 / 8:17 pm

    As has been mentioned, this is a fabric problem. I never had holes in my shirts years ago, tucked or untucked and have been a jeans and t-shirt girl since jr high. (Damned near 50 years ago). Not sure how to mitigate the problem since it seems to be relatively new, other than boycott t-shirts. Strange that in 50+ years of wearing t-shirts with jeans, holes just started forming in the last 6-8 years. And no, I haven’t grown a giant gut!

    • Connie
      February 16, 2020 / 2:30 am

      You’re right Kathy. One store mentioned it had to do with the poor cotton quality coming from Asia. I have T shirts from many years ago which wash & wear great and still have no holes.

    • Paula Roberts
      March 17, 2020 / 6:32 pm

      I think I’m gonna start buying men’s t- shirts and putting my own decoration on them. Only problem men don’t wear the same color t-shirts women wear!

  21. Angie Robertson
    December 16, 2019 / 8:39 am

    My thoughts have always been that the manufacturers weave material with a flaw in it, So we have to continually keep buying

  22. Cheryl
    December 6, 2019 / 3:18 am

    It’s the point of the pants fabric above the button poking the holes in shirts. If the fabric was rounded instead of coming to a point it would help a lot. Women need to petition manufacturers of women’s jeans and pants to change the closure design to a rounded tab instead of a squared off pointed one. They’d be the #1 seller of women’s jeans and pants.

    • Lynn
      December 16, 2019 / 3:06 pm

      I totally agree!

      • Sharon E
        April 14, 2020 / 11:52 am

        This is exactly what I have found to be the problem!

    • Sonia
      May 14, 2020 / 12:13 pm

      You featured the Beltaway belt years ago and I bought two–one black and one blue–that are still going strong! They are awesome! I wear them with jeans and dress pants that poke out beneath untucked smooth tops or when I lost some weight and the waistband was too wide. They work great and are barely visible and are so comfortable. I never got chance to thank you for this great product recommendation, but I always think of you when I wear them. Thanks a bunch.

    • Carolyn
      June 17, 2020 / 1:32 am

      Yes, that’s what I found too. I think rounded closers would be awesome!!

      • Carolyn
        June 17, 2020 / 1:33 am

        *closures ‍♀️

  23. Sara
    October 17, 2019 / 8:25 am

    I have had to throw away dozens of tops (some quite expensive ones), over the last few years, this problem now makes me want to weep with frustration! (The problem benefits clothes manufacturers, since we have to buy so many more products than otherwise!) Reporting back, I have tried Shirt Guardian and Hole. Neither of them works. In addition to being ridiculously overpriced for what they are (trading on our desperation), they’re both very hard to put on/keep on. The Shirt Guardian button covers fall off continuously so I gave up, even the Hole ones come off now and again. Even with the Hole, I still get new holes. My conclusion is that perhaps it’s the corner of the jeans (rather than/in addition to the button) that causes the problem. I’m now trying out the idea of getting a belt with a flat buckle, and moving the buckle away from the front of the waistband, however note that not all this type of belt are wide enough to cover the top corner of the jeans. If this too fails, I’ll try pull-on jeans though they’re quite hard to find in Europe. I think I’m most annoyed about the bad environmental consequences of all this totally unnecessary replacement purchasing.

  24. Alison Neale
    October 12, 2019 / 6:37 pm

    Thanks for this awesome post, my Hole arrived today along with the repair iron on materials! Really hope these solve my problems!!

  25. Deborah
    September 24, 2019 / 9:45 am

    I have worked to figure out the cause of these tiny holes for years and for me, it’s definitely the kind of cotton knit the shirt is made of. I seldom wear jeans or have a snap/button closure behind the t-shirt and still get the holes, but almost exclusively on my Eddie Bauer shirts and the holes begin within 8-10 wearings. I have Calvin Klein camis that are YEARS old that I wear under lots of shirts and they have been washed and worn hundreds of times and look the same as when I opened the package. I have cheap Gap shirts that are ten years old – no holes.
    I worked for Eddie Bauer for 12+ years in the late 80’s into the 90’s, and those of you who said their shirts never used to do this are right. There has been a compromise on their knit fabrics. Also, I have bought down coats from EB in the last few years where the down works its way through the outer shell and looks cheap. These holes aren’t our fault, they are due to cutting corners on very pricey t-shirts.

    • Robin Rosner
      December 7, 2019 / 9:28 pm

      OMG I have holes in ALL my Eddie Bauer tea shirts. I’m so glad I read your post. I keep buying new ones from them and the same thing has been happening. It is very very upsetting. They also have been out sourcing to the Philippians and when you have a problem with an order it usually gets unresolved. This is very sad because it has taken me a very very long time to find tea shirts with nice colors that fit and look good. I think now I finally understand that it is not do to a moth in my closet. I do not wear jeans, have no belts and there are no buttons. I just wear stretch pants and it still happens so there goes the theory that it is the button or belt on your jeans. Time to shop elsewhere.

    • Nicky
      January 29, 2020 / 1:13 pm

      Agree about Eddie Bauer. just bought three shirts from them and saw holes after the FIRST wear. Terrible!

  26. Geoff Gafford
    September 19, 2019 / 5:51 am

    I’ve read all the above. For me, the problem happens with cotton T-shirts and with synthetic tops made by Rohan (I wear a lot of Rohan clothes). On examination, the abrasion is on the outside. The solution may be to get a dishwasher. I’m the main washer upper in my house, all done by hand and when doing this the counter top is in direct contact with the spot where the holes are. Constant rubbing of the fabric wears the holes, I’m sure.

    • Nicole Kowalski
      May 14, 2020 / 11:53 am

      I think this is the case! That’s why I tuck in my shirt when doing the dishes, and it has literally solved my problem. Also when washing my hands at various restaurant sinks. I just do the half tuck.

  27. Elizabeth Barbone
    September 9, 2019 / 4:26 pm

    Ugh my shirts too – and in summer I wear linen shorts and still they get the pin holes. Eddie Bauer shirts and today a Pendleton t shirt. I think crappy thin fabric. Really sad.

  28. Pam
    August 29, 2019 / 4:17 pm

    I stopped wearing jeans and only wear elastic waist pants, and I don’t wear belts, but I still get the holes in the t-shirts. It’s true that some shirts don’t get the holes, so maybe it is just the inferior fabric.

  29. John
    July 21, 2019 / 1:28 pm

    I’m a dude and figured out the actual cause of these “pinholes”. …. Well, at least as it applies to men. I kept getting these pinholes on all my shirts and they would show up sometimes after the first time wearing a brand new shirt. AGGRAVATING! Here’s what I found out using the “scientific method”. Sort of… sample size was just me so don’t think that qualifies, but I digress. These are 100% as a result of the post on a belt buckle. This only happened when I’d wear untucked, but hadn’t always noticed when it initially happened. After going with a new shirt daily and alternating tuck/untuck, I only found a new hole on days I was untucked. I then realized the post on my belt buckles do not sit flush. Ironically, digging deeper, I was getting holes from regular daily activities, but the overwhelming majority came from my seatbelt pressing my shirt against the belt buckle post while driving. Yes, I know. I’m a nerd who has too much time on his hands.

    • Caren
      July 4, 2020 / 6:44 pm

      Yes, I say it’s all the above. Seat belt, jean buttons & zippers. I have worn the same type of clothes all my life and this just started about three years ago for me so my deduction is it’s the fabric that is faulty or I should I say the crap that we’re buying. Expensive crap like from Chico’s. I wrote to them and I’d say they pretended not to know what I was talking about but told me if I develop small holes in my shirt to bring it back. Well I’ve thrown away most of my expensive crap shirts but I will keep it in mind next time I buy from Chico’s.

  30. Kathleen
    July 19, 2019 / 5:03 pm

    It always happens in the exact same place: front right above the waist. It doesn’t seem to matter whether they were expensive or cheap. If it was bugs it would NOT always be in the same place. It doesn’t seem to happen on anything but 100% cottons. Drives me crazy.

  31. Αβρα
    July 16, 2019 / 3:34 am

    Maybe the holes are caused from the seatbelt of the car rubbing on the belt then on to to the tshirt. And why it happens only to my expensive brands a mystery.

  32. Kyle L.
    July 15, 2019 / 10:51 pm

    Over the last four years, the 100% cotton T-shirts from my long preferred brand Eddie Bauer, have had small holes develop on but their front side around the belt line but not directly over it. Thus, I am not believing these holes are generated merely through wearing untucked T-shirts over belt buckles. As to bugs/pests eating holes into shirts I don’t believe that is the case either as holes wouldn’t be eaten in only the same general area of each T-shirt. Rather, I now believe T-shirt brands have sold their souls and are now using inferior cotton/cotton blends. This results in accelerated wear on T-shirt areas exposed to any and all abrasive forces. I will be looking for a new T-shirt brand for Eddie Bauer did not sell inferior T-shirts through the 1990’s nor earlier. These inferior T-shirts are being sold at premium prices yet don’t even last a month without holes forming. I am very tall and thin so the only place abrading my T-shirt front is the seatbelt in my car.

  33. Maria
    July 9, 2019 / 9:21 pm

    Try wearing a belt with the buckle part moved to the side so u have a flat piece over the jeans button area. I believe that thick piece of fabric over the button is the real culprit. There has to be a reason these little holes appear in that area. This has worked well for me. I used to think I was going crazy.

  34. Char
    June 15, 2019 / 7:54 pm

    I am wearing a new shirt that was fine before I cokked dinner. Now it has a slew of holes. I’m thinking the edge of the granite countertop rubbing against the fabric is the problem

    • Stephanie
      September 14, 2019 / 5:42 pm

      Oh I’m so happy to hear your comment. I think you have something there, at least for me. I’m going to try an apron whenever I’m cooking or preparing something. Oh can’t forget doing dishes either I do hope this will help. It drives me crazy it happens to about 70% of my shirts and I don’t wear belts. Can’t wait to try, thanks

  35. June 14, 2019 / 3:33 pm

    I wear the tshirts with knit pull-on pants to exercise in, so I don’t think it is jeans buttons causing my holes. I’m just glad that others are also experiencing this.

  36. Donna Funk
    May 31, 2019 / 9:22 am

    Since these holes appear almost perfectly in the same area near the waist only on the front of the shirt it is totally unklikely that it is a bug of any sort eating the fabric. Belly button odor? Ha ha ha – good one. Something is rubbing in that location. It is logical to blame both the cheaper fabric AND the fasteners on the pants or belt buckles. Darning or fabric patches seem like the only way – can’t see manufacturers policing the fabric – particularly if they sell more shirts to replace the holey ones.

  37. Kristi Dee
    April 18, 2019 / 7:32 pm

    I finally felt it when it happened. It was the button on my jeans rubbing the counter top at my kitchen sink! Finally figured it out. Thank goodness. Now for the solution.

  38. Carolyn
    April 2, 2019 / 9:57 pm

    I believe it is from pressure between the pants button/zipper and counter top. New excuse to not do dishes? I thought it might be from lighting my gas range for some time. I’m wondering if this is because of stretch jeans and being overweight. The waistband on my pants pulls the button off to the side in the buttonhole and makes it not flat to my body. Also the zipper tab is pulled open exposing the metal zipper too. Any skinny people have this hole problem in their shirts? Do all skinny people touch their shirts in?

    • Kimberly Doukakos
      July 9, 2019 / 6:48 pm

      I’m 5’3 & weigh 120. Yes, I’ve been having the same issue for a long time! So tired of it. It doesn’t happen to all my shirts so it maybe the make of the shirts it’s happened to:( Really bummed because it seems to happen to my favs unfortunately.

  39. SUE LESTER
    March 26, 2019 / 7:12 am

    The holes in my t-shirts were caused by the jeans button on my shorts. If the jeans button is flat and shiny, it’s ok, but if it’s metal and inverted it will rub on the fabric and cause the holes. When you button up jeans or shorts you will notice the button sits naturally on a bit of an angle and if the edge is even slightly sharp it wears through the fabric. Choose jeans with a FLAT, preferably shiny, button with no rough edges.
    Did a test with a t-shirt that I had worn many times with other garments, then wore it once with the shorts I felt were causing holes and there was a hole in the t-shirt within one hour! Wore another t-shirt in perfect condition, that had been worn for 2 years & no probs, with the offending shorts for the rest of the day (wasn’t so fussed about the t-shirt so sacrificed it) and it was shredded by the end of the day. Another t-shirt ready for the bin.
    Solution = return shorts and ask for refund or change button to a flat plastic one!
    It’s not the seat belt, handbag, bench edge or any of those other ideas, it’s definitely the button.

  40. Bonnie Goodman
    March 18, 2019 / 12:20 pm

    I started putting either masking tape or cellophane packing tape on the inside of my sweaters and tee shirts..yes, it can be somewhat bulky, but I am desparate to do anything to stop these annoying holes popping up on everything. So far my solution has worked. I just ordered a few knit shirts on sale from Banana Republic and I plan to line them with tape before I put them away for next season.

  41. Linda Walker
    March 16, 2019 / 4:23 pm

    Just cleaned out a drawer in which almost all of my shirts are full of holes around my abdomen. I’m just relieved to know it’s not just me. I also wondered if it was a bug, but it doesn’t make any sense. I am going to try wearing a shirt only with non-button pants to see if it makes any difference.

    • Dawn
      May 24, 2019 / 2:07 pm

      it worked for me. I wear pants without the zippers or buttons and never a problem but the minute i wear my jeans…new shirt ruined 🙁

  42. Nancy Mazzia
    March 10, 2019 / 12:10 pm

    THE COTTON KNIT INDUSTRY IS TO BLAME!. Pull out a knit shirt made 15 years ago…it’s old and ragged, but no pinholes. I never ever had this problem in the past. Listen up fabric makers! You are causing the problem…everyone should revolt! Stop buying knit shirts until the problem is fixed!

    • sam
      March 23, 2019 / 12:23 pm

      I totally agree . I NEVER had this problem years ago. I bought three new shirts recently and they all got holes in the first wear. Only 100% cotton button down shirts work for me now. I’m boycotting knits! They are TOTALLY manufacturing inferior knit fabric.

    • Maggie
      June 3, 2019 / 9:53 am

      I have only been plagued with this problem for the last 2 or 3 years, NEVER before. I wear jeans or pants with buttons and I had to figure it was that, but why happening now? I change sizes and have shirts that are 15/20 years old and none of them have holes (they get put aside and brought out again as my size changes). Stretch pants don’t cut it. So I bought an expensive mixed fabric, fashionable hiking shirt. At barely 2 weeks and I have holes. I will try these ideas, so frustrated.

    • Jane
      June 8, 2019 / 2:43 pm

      it’s evil. this did not happen till recent years!. why does everyone online (except this thread) act as if this problem has always been around?? they want us to buy more shirts, it’s evil.

  43. Carole (aka Caz)
    March 7, 2019 / 9:44 pm

    covered the buttons with a few layers of nail varnish a week ago..
    am waiting to see if any more holes appear !!!

  44. Mary Oneal
    March 4, 2019 / 1:22 pm

    The holes I am dealing with are only on my shirts nit my hubby’s. This is what I don’t understand at all. He gets none in his but I get them in mine. This is real strange. I know mist of mine are thinner than his but I believe it’s the washer. I wasn’t getting it
    when I first got the washer almost two years ago. I have a brand new T-shirt that I just washed and I just looked and I have two holes already. This is ridiculous. Ruining all my new shirts I own.
    Sick and tired of this crap. The store is calling the manufacturer now.

    • March 17, 2019 / 7:51 pm

      I have six or so shirts that are ruined… some from LL Beans, Talbot, Hanes, Christopher..I am sick of it…hubby was measuring where the holes were so we could go around the house to see what was that height.. maybe my counters….Not happy at all

      • Mimi
        March 21, 2019 / 11:01 am

        I just found 10 ruined tops, some are less than six months old. Including some really nice stuff. I think it’s the counters and my seatbelt.

    • Sharon H Nevitt
      February 2, 2020 / 9:58 am

      It’s not the washer. I had a really nice LG washer and dryer. I was convinced it was the problem so I got rid of them and bought a new set with no ripples in the tub. Still having the problem with all fabrics when I wear them with button pants. Just ruined my nice MK shirt. I am going to look into buying plastic smooth buttons.

  45. Leslie
    September 17, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    Sorry ladies, but it’s none of these things causing these annoying holes. It’s simply CHEAP CRAPPY fabric. I now save all receipts for tops and bring them back when holes appear. Wearing Chico’s top now and never washed it and there’s holes all over the front near the bottom. NOTHING is rubbing it to cause it. This needs to stop. Clothes are expensive and who needs to buy a top and have it least a month????

    • Kathy
      July 10, 2019 / 5:06 pm

      I agree with the thin cheap fabric such as viscose, rayon etc., but also too then cotton. But I don’t think it is the metal button on jeans. It is the corner edge of jean by the button that is rubbing. Sick of the holes!

      • Jennifer
        July 24, 2019 / 9:05 am

        I agree with Kathy! It is the corner edge of the jeans. So frustrating!!!

        • September 23, 2019 / 11:30 am

          I agree, I think it is the cornor of the jeans above the button.

    • Betty D
      October 2, 2019 / 1:13 pm

      I only have this problem with Chico brand cotton t shirts. Have been buying them for years. Last 3 years I get pin holes in all of them. No jeans buckles or any reason but the product. I complained with little result.

    • Nicholas Price
      May 28, 2020 / 2:37 am

      Hallejuah sister (hope got this right),

      Power to the ppl

      Nick

  46. Michelle
    August 20, 2018 / 8:01 am

    What bothers me is that this is a rather new phenomenon. I have t shirts (some are 20 years old) that I wear periodically (wore them much more often when they were new) and they don’t have these pinholes at all. I wore them tucked in, with jeans. I think manufacturers need to take a look at this and use a fabric that is less likely to have this occur. Yes, I love my light weight tees, but their lifespan is pretty darn short.

    • Janice
      August 30, 2018 / 6:04 pm

      Hi,
      I haven’t looked at this problem for awhile & this is the second article I found today trying to blame this on, belts, waistband rubbing, etc. whatever…no, there is some type of bug eating holes, not moths, maybe silverfish. I have read every kind of reason, rubbing against counter tops, seat belts, washer/dryer & on & on. I am so damn frustrated–I could have a brand new top still hanging & within wearing it for a matter of hours, look down & see holes. The fit is not tight either, loose, flowing still gets holes. I do seem to notice a whitish streak around these holes. I realize it sounds nutty that a bug could tell the difference between front & back to shirt, only eat around belly button or off to side area but I have been going through this for 18 yrs. or so–never, ever before that time period. Belly button order attracting? Yes, I’m loosing my mind over this–I just sewed a few holes on a new, worn once white “Vince” brand shirt—-biggest reason why I shop discount.

      • Sylvia
        October 20, 2018 / 6:36 pm

        I am totally with you. I also do not believe the rubbing and cheap fabric theory. I am launching a little experiment for myself. Will be extra attention in washing my belly button. Many bugs do not like lavender/citronella scent. Will make it a habit of putting some gentle bug repellent smell oil around my belly button for a while. Maybe even use tee-shirt that has not holes yet and observe whether it develops holes as all of my other tee-shirts have been. I hope we figure this out.

      • Nicholas Price
        May 28, 2020 / 2:36 am

        Why I thought it isn’t criter related is that there is no evidence of one or many where I keep my tees, not a trace. And why would they target only one particular spot; maybe the area around or near the belly button it attractive for them? I, myself, have only noticed this for about 5 years, and have worn tees my whole life (45 years), so that’s what leads me to think it is poor quality fabric being used for tees these days.
        I’m wondering whether I should experiment keeping my non hole tee in a separate place from the others and observe whether they develop holes as well.

        Cheers Nick

  47. Suzanne
    August 6, 2018 / 4:03 pm

    Shirt Guardian’s button covers didn’t work for me. Even the larger cover was hard to get on, and then it didn’t fit through the buttonhole without practically coming off. Expensive too at $5+ each. Still looking for the solution.

    • August 7, 2018 / 1:06 pm

      Hole sent me some of theirs, I am looking forward to cooler weather so I can test them out. Stay tuned!

  48. Kerren
    July 14, 2018 / 4:52 pm

    Could there be another solution to iron on some kind of small patch to the bottom of the inside of the shirt? I’m looking for that kind of solution rather than something to put on the jeans. Thanks for the post!

    • July 15, 2018 / 3:28 pm

      There’s a few tutorials out there that offer ways to patch a hole, but reviews say that can affect the hang of the shirt. The darning tutorials I link to get the best reviews, but there’s plenty of options out there!

  49. Cate
    June 28, 2018 / 7:29 pm

    Just wanted to report that Shirt Guardian works! I’ve been so frustrated for so many years with the holes in my T shirts and for the first time ever I found something that actually works. I haven’t had a hole in a single shirt since putting these on all my jeans. No more throwing away new shirts after the first wearing – yay! The only thing I’ll say is that they have a tendency to fall off and disappear in the wash or between wearings. So buy extra. But they work.

    • June 29, 2018 / 5:14 pm

      That is so awesome! Thanks for coming back with a review!

    • Mary Oneal
      March 4, 2019 / 1:25 pm

      I don’t wear jeans that much and I still get them regardless. So I not believe that is the cause.

    • Nicholas Price
      May 28, 2020 / 2:30 am

      what about belt friction? My jeans wouldn’t stay up if i didn’t wear a belt. Cheers Nick

  50. Chris Rose
    April 5, 2018 / 3:58 pm

    “I got moths – big, junky, mutant moths.”

    ~Whoopi Goldberg as Terry Dolittle in Jumping Jack Flash (1986)

  51. Jacquie
    April 5, 2018 / 11:29 am

    Great post! I thought I had moths in my closet! Ha ha ha! Thanks for the helpful tips!

      • amy
        May 22, 2019 / 6:33 pm

        In my case it is not the buttons but the point on the fabric above the button hole which sticks out into the shirt and rubs it

        • Tracy
          June 14, 2019 / 8:53 am

          Same with me Amy.

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