How to Prevent Pinholes in T-Shirts Near your Belly Button (And How To Repair such Holes in Your Tees)

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how to prevent pinholes in t-shirts by Wardrobe Oxygen

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 small holes.

Why Do We Get Pinholes in Our T-Shirts?

The most popular and sensible 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 on countertops, standing desks, a heavy crossbody bag, an hour in the washing machine, 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 high-quality retailers have been choosing poor-quality cotton and jersey to keep prices competitive with the popularity of fast fashion. You very well may be noticing you're getting holes in your new t-shirts but not in the tees you've owned for many years.

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 looking 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, but 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 t-shirts: reasons why this happens and how to prevent it.

How to Prevent Pinholes in T-Shirts

Tucking in your top, even if it's a half tuck, is the easiest and also a 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, and 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. Wholly Covered Buttons are very unobtrusive; they slip right over your jean button, is almost undetectable, and get great reviews. 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, and not easy to fall off, and I think have prevented pinholes in my t-shirts. Holé shipping is around $3 to the US.

repair pinholes in shirts

How To Repair A Pinhole Already In Your Shirt

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 tiny holes in your 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 inside the shirt. Then cut a piece of 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 right-side-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 fabric. 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!

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  1. This is a “where does the most pointed part of your jean’s waistband hit your countertop” issue. I am very long waisted so this issue started for me in the early 90s when wearing your shirt tucked in became unfashionable. All of a sudden I started getting pinholes in the same place on my knit shirts. Don’t laugh… but I thought it was my daughter’s guinea pig taking a nibble while holding her.

    Fast forward to my favorite jeans about 10 years ago. They had this fabulous, stiff elastic waistband that always felt comfortable — even when I ate too much or put on a few pounds. And back were those pinholes and no guinea pig in the house! That’s when I figured out that the very hard, pointy top outer edge of the fly tab was making those holes. I tried just tucking in the front 8″ of my shirts but I thought it looked dorky even though it was the current fashion. And, after decades of leaving my shirt untucked, I would forget and it only took one episode of doing dishes at the kitchen counter to create new pinholes.

    So I have determined that the only real solutions are: 1) Wear pants without flys; and, 2) Wear high-waisted jeans where the fly is above the counter height. The waistline height would depend on where yours hits the counter. I suspect our very short and very tall friends never encounter this issue. I bet it’s mostly average height women and fairly short men that this affects.

  2. Y’all! It’s not the button on our jeans. It’s the zipper! I bought a pair of jeans from Talbots. They’re not cheap! I tried the button cover. Nope! It’s the stinkin zipper making those holes. I took mine to the laundry and had a plastic zipper put in. I love the fit of the jeans and I paid a lot for them, so I really wanted to be able to wear them. It’s the quality of the zippers. Nothing has the same quality as the things purchased years ago! It’s not just clothing! The new kitchen appliances definitely don’t have the quality as the ones 20 years ago!

  3. What I would like to know is why is this a recent problem? I’ve always worn tee shirts (outside my pants) and I’ve always worn belts and don’t recall this problem, oh, say, before the last 10 years or so.

    1. Consider that it might be from the charging cord on iPad or other devices that you hold against yourself when using while still plugged in.

      1. I did too. But my husband’s shirts don’t get holes in them and he wears jeans exclusively. I usually wear yoga pants because I have classes and I’M the one that gets the holes. I do stand at the kitchen sink and stove alot. (Although I don’t belly up to my gas stove) Almost every shirt I own is full of holes, even the expensive ones. I can’t figure it out. I’m going to try and repair some of my favorite ones.

  4. I remember this discussion from the original post in 2019. Repeating what I hope I said then: I don’t wear jeans and am currently car-less, yet I still get the little holes. I finally figured out what’s causing them — leaning against my granite countertops in my kitchen. The edge is right at waist height, and sure enough, there were some slight rough spots on the countertop edges. Solved!

  5. A few of my t shirts from different companies have these tiny holes near the right bottom of the t shirt… I just found some holes in one t shirt with 3 tiny holes on the chest area…

    Any suggestions on where to buy your t shirts from? I’m in Canada…

    Any help on what to purchase would be appreciated…


    1. These little holes are just rampant. The solution is to start rocking them, not trying to fix them with lame button covers or interface. The holes develop even in expensive tee shirts — some of my favorite (and softest) tees from Velvet have them. These are not inexpensive tees, though the fabric is delicate, or, “cheap.” Jeans manufacturers charge a mark-up for artificially distressed jeans, that are ripped, shredded, faded. Well, we just need to re-vise the way we are seeing our distressed tee shirts with the little distressed holes that we have come by honestly, as an organic outcome of our own real usage. I am going to be extra careful — I would like to avoid more holes. But I am not going to toss out my beloved tees that have holes — I am going to keep on wearing them, holes and all. I am not going to be coerced into buying more and more tees; I’m going to keep wearing the ones I have, holes and all. Change the way you are thinking about those little holes!

  6. I thought it might’ve been silverfish or such getting into my clothes. I put cedar chips in bags thinking this might be a repellent for the critters. All my holes are in the stomach area or a little higher. I’ve not noticed any holes in other places. I thought of the critters as there seemed to be a shiny area near the hole suggesting maybe a secretion of sorts that was being left. I now suspect that it was just an area wearing away that led to the hole. I’m hoping I’m right on this.

    1. mine are always in the same place too. bottom right side below my stomach area. i thought it was from rubbing against my desk but its too low. its very frustrating!!

  7. I am SO glad others have this same problem! Literally EVERY shirt, sweater, sweatshirt and blouse that I own has tiny holes all in the SAME place. I’ve tried carefully sewing up the holes in my shirts but they still show (I wear a lot of white t-shirts under blazers and cardigans. I have had this issue for years and I’m still trying to find the culprit. New shirt, wear it once, at least 2-3 holes about an inch above my belt line by the end of the day. I’ve bought new belts, new jeans, checked the edge of my desk, and I still can’t find what is doing this. I can’t afford whatever is doing this to my wardrobe – and it’s only happening to MY clothes.
    I have checked my seatbelt and haven’t found anything rough but I saw the comment above about them so I’m going to buy some kind of seatbelt cover and see if that works.

    1. I figured out that high waist jeans rub rub rub and leave the same lil holes in the same spot. It’s not from the button itself, but the square point where the button fits into. I didn’t have this problem with low waist jeans!

  8. Solved at long last.

    It was the Car Seat Belt buckle stopper. The plastic clip on the side against my t-shirt had broken and left sharp edges. I was thinking it was my belt buckles and could not understand why. So thank you for your help.

  9. I was being to think I was crazy. So glad I sat down and did a search to find this article. Everyone in my circle says they don’t have this problem. I’ve thrown at least a dozen t-shirts into the rag pile. Once I know the little holes are there, I can’t stop obsessing over them!! I’m going to try the Stich Witchery and see if that helps. I believe mine are caused by the button or maybe the zipper on my jeans coupled with friction when I lean on the kitchen counter and wash the dishes. Ugh!

    1. I thought I was crazy as well! I noticed this with a Universal Standard tee a few months ago. I thought my cats claws got stuck so I ordered a replacement. Over the past month, every single Universal Standard tee I have has sprouted these holes, except the one I put on this morning. Put it on, no holes. After two hours of working from home at my desk I look down, and sure enough, the start of a hole. WTF?!?!

      I had to figure out what was going on. I read this article and thought maybe it was my seatbelt/jean button combination. Fast forward two more hours — I look down to see more tiny holes and what are definitely some rub marks and can now confirm what is causing these shirts to be ruined. As I’m working and lean into my glass desktop, the desktop is rubbing against the button of my jeans with the CRAPPY MATERIAL of these t-shirts in-between. Mystery solved. I literally saw this happen over the course of four hours this morning. I’ve had this desk for over a decade and the only shirts that I’ve experienced this with are from Universal Standard. So much for the quality of their $50 t-shirts. Which is a shame because they fit well and are incredibly flattering. 🙁

    2. I had this problem in Florida and I thought I was the only one . It stopped when I lost 50 pounds and moved to NC. I have gain back some weight and it has started happening again. It makes me think it is the friction with by belly being bigger. Happening to shirts from White House Black Market. Not cheap, but all manufacturers are using cheap fabrics. Even Happen with a thick Tshirt I use for deliveries. Getting in and out of the car a lot.

  10. I have 5-6 new shirts all from stitch fix that hiles in them near the belly button. At first I blamed it on the washing machines d only washed my shirts in a laundry bag which seemed to work. Then I got a new machine and stopped using the laundry bag and the holes started returning. It then dawned on me, why are the holes all in the same place? I couldn’t figure it out. Today I put on a shirt that I have only worn one other time. It was fine when I put it on. I went out in the car and at my first stop I got Ike’s down and saw one hole! I couldn’t believe it. I ran a couple of errands around town and when I got home I looked down and there were 2 more holes and a couple of spots that looked like there was a “run” in the material. It finally clicked and I went back outside and checked the seatbelt in my car and low and behold found a small plastic button like thing sewn into the seatbelt. It happens to sit right where the holes are appearing in my shirts. I’m relieved to know how/why it’s happening and really mad that I have so any clothes ruined because of this tiny piece of plastic. PS I drive a Honda CRV! Check your seatbelts if your having the same issue

      1. Thank you ,I got a,Honda too and of course this makes sense. No wonder the holes keep coming. Every single t . Thanks a lot , I’m checking the seatbelt right now !

        1. Oh my goodness!!! I have had the same problem for the last couple of years, and have been so upset about some new shirts getting holes after 1 wear! I just bought button covers and a belt that was advertised in this article, but after reading these replies, I checked my seatbelt in my Honda Odyssey, and found that there is really coarse thread sewing a button thing on in that very spot, which is rubbing the shirts against my Jean buttons. ‍♀️

    1. I have the same problem with many t shirts and I drive a subaru crostrek. After narrow down from many possible reason for it I came to a conclusion that the problem is coming from my seat belt. I already spoke with a Subaru dealer and they told me that there is nothing they can do about it, so I am really thinking about changing back to Toyota because of that. Very upsetting specially when you work in T shirts everyday.

  11. I have Hanes t-shirts and started with pin-holes about a year ago. I do not wear jeans, yet I wear casual pants, always tucked in. Have not tied other brands but by the comments it does not matter. Also am getting pin-holes up by my right shoulder, nowhere near my belly-button… how that ?

  12. I googled this subject quite a bit and recently found some scientific studies showing that microscopic critters on our bodies, which on some people more abundant, are attracted to the scent secreted from the belly button area. Some systems ph levels are different which could explain some of it. They then attach themselves to that area of the shirt and nibble away. They can also migrate, just as they do on our bodies, to other areas which would explain why some people say the holes have developed in other places.

    1. Could be for some cases. I know for sure it’s the zipper on my jeans for me. I have seen the wear marks around the hole areas. Always after washing dishes.

    2. Wait…What did you say?!? Here I am, ready to go check my seatbelt, or my counters, things I use everyday that could cause my constant holy short problem…….but now I have to worry about microscopic critters in my belly button eating my clothes?? ‍. INCONCEIVABLE! I’m just going back to what Tessa Says ☝️ and I’m just going to rock the shirt, holes and all!!!!

    3. I have been wondering about these holes for years now. In my case, it only happens with 100% cotton tops; all kinds of brands, even the expensive Supima cotton tops from different brands. I have read all the comments and this applies to my situation: I have not driven a car for about 3 months now, therefore, no use for a seat belt; I do not rub my belly against a desk top; I very seldom wear jeans and do not wear belts; these holes dont happen to the shirts worn by my son or my husband and other members in my family. I have suspected microscopic critters but never did any research on it. Now, that I read about it, it does make a lot of sense to me.

  13. I wear a jersey on top, not tucked in.
    when i buckle my belt, often the tshirt gets in between and the buckle post goes through it, did it every time for me.

  14. I have recently thrown away about 6 tees with the tiny holes. I buy tees from Target, Wal-Mart, Kohls, Old Navy and J CPenney. I’m wearing an expensive tee from Bass Pro shop today and just discovered tiny holes in the same spot…right by the belly button/button of jeans.
    This will be 7 tees that I’ve thrown out this week and have thrown away at least that many in the recent past. I believe that it’s the cheap material that their using now. I have a couple of tees that I bought at JC Penneys (Ana brand) I’ve worn and washed them many times over the past 3 years and (knock on wood) they’re holding up beautifully. Good luck everyone….

    1. It is the material being produced and onion skin thinness. He clothing industry pushes cheap garbage fir low prices so we can keep buying. A quality cotton tee shirt will cost some money but most women would prefer that. An $80 t-shirt today is probably really worth $5.
      Saying it’s friction means we haven’t have friction for most of our lives. What a stupid answer they give. I’ve worn jeans and tees for decades and friction didn’t ruin my shirts!

      1. Exactly, I have worn jeans and t-shirts most of my life but these pinholes haven’t appeared until these past few years. My next move is to remove the metal button and sew on a regular one.

      2. Right on!!!!

        This never used to happen to my T-shirts before and I and living life no differently than I did before. Still wear jeans, still use seat belts, do not wear belts and still am in the kitchen every single day by the counter! I have recently thrown out 7 tee shirts and could pitch 4 more if I really wanted to and one of them I only wore twice!

      1. Yeah it’s the cheap material and single stitch that the manufactures have developed. The holes are created by the edge of your jeans above the button. The answer is not getting button covers or anything else. The consumer commissions around the world should be pushing for the shoddy material/stitching process to be changed. Everyone should also keep returning these faulty tshirts by the millions until it’s painful enough for manufactures to make more robust clothing and stop trying to create the cheapest thing possible. What’s next an invisible tshirt?

  15. I buy only Calvin Klein fairly high priced Tees. ALL of them get 6-8 hols in front (bellow belt- so it’s not belt). Very strange these holes are only in one place. I checked seat belts, washer and dryer not logical or holes would be in random place. Yes, even checked by belly button which my wife thought was pretty gross. $30 a shirt for one wear is getting ridiculous!

    My theory after exhausting all others is that during manufacturer they might pin or staple the front of these things which enlarge during first wash. No more China shirts for me. I have some from Italy with no problem

    1. No , i always get holes there and only when wearing jeans, im convinced its the zips and buttons as when wearing trousers with light zipz and plastic buttons, or pull up pants, there’s no problem. Darn annoying

      1. Thanks Anne and so many others. But Zippers and belts form being tucked in is NOT my problem. I wear these out, never tucked and rarely have a belt under them. Good idea though. I was ready to quit Calvin, but at least its clear other manufacturers have same problem.

    2. Yes, the problem is crap materials from China, India, Indonesia, etc. Never happened five years ago… I have t shirts that I wore in college for crying out loud and there are no holes, now I buy them and they’re ruined in one wearing!

  16. Okay, here’s my theory which hasn’t been mentioned in this thread. I imagine all our tshirts made over seas and stacked up by the hundreds and placed on ships and transported here. While on the ships, folded and stacked up with that particular area of the shirt on the outer edge of the fold, is being nibbled on by teeny tiny larvae from moths. It goes totally undetected and just like moth larvae does on wool, it’s doing on the cotton tees. You don’t typically see the holes until it’s washed. I’m quite certain our clothes are damaged while enroute to their final destination on these cargo ships. I’ve had many new clothes smell like musty old ships too. Yuck.

    1. I tend to want to agree with you! I have literally worn a t-shirt once and washed it and it had a hole in it. I’ve started using mesh bags to wash some of my more pricy shirts, some shirts just don’t get the holes it them. I’m really disappointed that clothing quality has decreased so much that we now have to spend more money to protect a T-shirt from getting ruined after the first wash!

      1. Same experience! I have brand new tee shirts only worn once and after the first wash, pinholes appear in front near the lower belly area‍♀️

      2. I totally agree. I have been wearing jeans and tops for forty years. Friction never affected the shirts then, so obviously it isn’t that! It cheap quality combined with overseas conditions and possibly intentional weak points. Why would they wear out in the same location?
        It is an outage that manufacturers are making further profit by creating repair kits for recently purchased clothes.
        AND why din’t men’s shirts do this????

    2. And you think those larvae would chose only one spot always the same in the piles of t-shirts on all the ships and they would not attack other clothes or sheets or curtains? It does not make sense. I have read most of the comments around this mystery. One thing I experienced which is not often mentioned is that I am the only one in my family and friend’s group with this problem. It seems to me that only a few rare individuals are chosen.
      How can any of the theories answer for that?
      This phenomenon is only a few years old, less than ten. That would go for the theory of cheap fabric. But again why is it only a few individual’s problem and not everybody’s?
      The holes appear only after a few months for me and not instantly as some people mention. After a while the tiny holes enlarge and there is usually one or two in the middle which reach the size of a coin.
      Also some of my woollen pullovers have holes too in that area, the ones I wear most of the time around the house.

      I tend to wear t-shirts inside my pants, so I found this sharp round metal piece behind the button on jeans and most of my pants. The culprit? But being retired I wear those only when I go out. Most of the time I wear sweat suits in the garden or inside. Anyway what about the pullovers?

      Mystery unsolved, I say.

      1. This is not happening to a few. It’s very widespread. Keep looking on the internet. It’s so very frustrating. Some of my favorite tops have gotten holes after a few delicate cycles and line drying.
        The friction theory is ridiculous.

        1. It is frustrating! I have purchased $80. tank tops that I wear 2ce and wash and hold it up to the light and there are tiny holes at the belly button. It is NOT the friction. These tops I have only worn with leggings

          1. I also have t-shirts with holes. but I dont wear them with jeans very often. Just leggings around home. I thought it was moths etc. and totally wiped out all wardrobes, but alas the holes continue. such an expensive issue.

    3. Definitely NOT bugs. My shirts are all hung in my closet and some have these holes and some don’t. Plus all the holes are in the exact same place on the shirt. I’ve had this problem for YEARS and every single hole has been in the exact same spot. There are no bugs that will 100% of the time target the exact same spot on multiple shirts over multiple years. Maybe if it was in the armpit area you could say that the bugs were drawn to the sweat or deodorant scent….but that doesn’t work for smack dab in the middle of the belly.

      1. I googled this subject quite a bit and recently found some scientific studies showing that microscopic critters on our bodies, which on some people more abundant, are attracted to the scent secreted from the belly button area. Some systems ph levels are different which could explain some of it.

  17. So pleased I found this post, I thought I was the only one this happened to! It isn’t just T shirts it is every top I wear regardless of what I wear with it and happens within a few hours of wearing a new top. It is driving me potty as it didn’t seem to happen to anyone other than me (until now). Still have not found out what is causing it but pleased I am not alone lol.

    1. This is far more widespread than you think. I’ve had this happen with tops from Talbots, Chicos, Land’s End. It is cheap fabric and I think they make weak points so we buy more. Men’s shirts are thicker and do not do this.
      It’s outrageous that we’re wasting so much money.
      This has only been happening in the past few years for me.

      1. Not true re. men’s. I have the same problem. What I would like to know is why it is a recent problem? I’ve always worn tee shirts (outside my pants) and don’t recall this problem, oh, say, before the last 10 years or so.

  18. Do not buy any button covers from Shirt Guardian. They will not deliver and they do not reply to emails. They make a claim they refund if not satisfied, but if they don’t respond to emails then they won’t refund.

  19. So I’m convinced my holes are from the denim corner that sticks right above the button on my jeans…the holes appear in that exact spot.

    1. That is what I think too! There is a corner by the button that folds out. I think it rubs on the fabric. The wholes happen in the exact location. EESH!

    2. Agree completely! It’s clearly the edge of the denim sticking out! I’ve had a little success with elastic belts covering that specific area of the jeans, though. Just be sure to pull the buckle over to the side a bit (between the button and first belt loop). If the shirts is on the outside no one sees the buckle anyways.

    3. I agree! I am trying to find an alternative to jeans as I am done with the holes made from the back of the dome fasteners cutting into my t-shirts.

  20. I hadn’t thought of the kitchen counter. I get holes, my husband doesn’t. The kitchen counter is the one variable we don’t share — he’s much taller, so his shirt bottoms don’t rub against the counter (and he doesn’t wash dishes.) Thanks for solving this mystery.

    1. That’s not it…I’ve been suffering this for 20yrs. Doesn’t matter if I buy inexpensive or expensive & a top could hang with the tag still on & will have holes around belly button/side area. Along with the holes is a whitish smear that can be hard to detect—it’s a bug of some kind, period, end of story.

      1. A bug would not only make holes in one place in every t-shirt. There would be tiny holes in different places not just the belly area.
        Initially I thought it was moths causing it but too coincidental that all the holes in my shirts are in exactly the same spot.

    2. ‘m in my 70’s and have never had sooo many shirts get pinholes. Same washing machine, same detergents, same weight, seatbelts ,etc. I just got holes in a t-shirt I wore twice and haven’t washed yet. Is it the plastic in the fabrics?
      Do all of you have granite countertops? Could be a chemical reaction of petroleum products in fabrics and granite?

  21. Thank you for the article. I have many R’s and jumpers with these little holes and this article has solved the mystery for me. In my case it must be the combination Of wearing jeans and a cross body bag… oh dear! I’m not sure if I can give up the cross body bag!!

  22. SOLVED!!! Jumper / Jacket zip! Who here has it at just the bottom or top of the front side of your t-shirt AND wears zip jumpers or jackets? I have been researching this for years. I have asked every single friend and family member. Chefs that wear aprons, people that don’t wear belts, people that don’t drive, people with brand new clothes etc. I have asked every single variable. It all boiled down to one common denominator – Zip Jumper / Jackets. I put on an already ruined T-shirt and zip jumper and after 10 zip ups, believe it or not a brand new hole! Could barely feel it happen because material now is so thin and soft. I’m not saying it can’t be all these other things. BUT if you find it in that same spot on the front Of your t-shirt then it almost definitely could be that. It’s also not moths if it’s the same spot lol. They go to town on everything.

    1. It’s is definitely not a zip jacket for me! I live in South Florida and never wear zip jackets but have holes in ALL my shirts. Also not it’s not jeans because I always wear leggings. I don’t have a crossbody bag and I don’t have a MAC laptop. My sister never gets holes and we are the same size 4, use the same detergent, same washing machine?! I give up 🙁

      1. I get the holes as soon as a week or two after purchasing tshirts. The ones I get from Bealls get holes quickly. Other tees don’t get any. I am convinced it is something eating them. I don’t wear the tees everyday and when I pull them out they seem to have more. I live in Iowa in summer/fall and Florida in winter/spring. The issue seems to be in FL only for me.

        1. I put a new shirt on today. Very lightweight! While washing dishes I got splashed with gravy and vinegar so I took the shirt off and noticed a couple of those little holes. I was livid! A brand new shirt worn for 6 hours! I’m tempted to bring it back to COSTCO! Thoughts? And, yes, this has happened to many of my shirts, usually the thin t-shirts from Walmart. That didn’t bother me so much but now it’s happened to other shirts too that are not as thin. My sister-in-law swears it’s from the seat belt! But, the question is, why has it just been happening in the last couple of years?

  23. I believe that it is seat belts constricting that area at the top of your pants and causing the friction. I don’t think it matters whether I wear jeans or not! I have holes in every darn shirt I own!

    1. Me too and I have lots of ruined tops. I’m sure it’s seatbelts.
      I’m going to try to find one of those fuzzy comfort wraps to place around the lap portion of the seatbelt.

      1. I think everyone is right, depending on their circumstances. The fabric is cheap these days. The seat belt theory may only be the sash belt pushing against the buckles, rivets or zippers of your pants. JMO

      1. Cant be a bug, I thought it was moths initially and bought balls, then realised they would have to be clever moths to get the same spot every time lol.

    1. I never do housework or cook without an apron and still get holes my tshirts, I thought its moths but the holes are in the same place in mine and my husband’s t shirts.
      We only have bother with tshirts not cotton shirts or woollens .

  24. I am curious how many people experiencing this problem have a MacBook laptop? It took me years to narrow down the cause but now I truly believe it is the sharp corners in the center of my MacBook that creates the holes. It’s the only stable variable.

    I thought it was the countertops but then we moved. Then, I thought it was my jeans, but since the pandemic I’ve not worn jeans and still get the holes. I believe when I don’t sit at my desk and instead sit with the MacBook leaned against my body, the sharp edges tear holes in my shirt.

    I’d love thoughts on this.

    1. You are exactly right. After a few years of this phenomena driving me crazy, I finally realized that it was the little sharp points at the front of my MacBook causing the mysterious holes! Now I just put a folded dishtowel between the computer and my shirt while I have the lap top on my lap, and no more new holes since!

    2. Thanks for this article–this is such a frustrating problem and it seems to happen to almost all of my t-shirts, no matter how high or low the quality. I have a MacBook laptop, and these holes are at exactly the same place where those little sharp edges are. I bet that’s it. Never had them before my MacBook. Thank you so much for your insight into this! Hopefully no more holes!

  25. I bought a tee shirt last week, wore it once, washed it, just took it out of the dryer and three holes. I was blaming my jeans zipper, never considered the countertops. So aggravating!

  26. 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???

      1. Thank you for knowing the truth! It’s is such a shame how the Quality of material in the world today is terrible and I am talking about Nordstrom and Macy’s same shit material and they charge big $$$$ for a top that within less than 3 days holes like crazy and you try at Macy’s anyways to return them and they say I am crazy that the holes are from my jeans the zipper???? Dumb bullshit It’s pretty hard to take something back with so many holes it in. I just want to know if anyone knows who makes plus size tees of quality cotton or cotton blend??? Help please

        1. I can’t imagine the amount of money that this problem has cost, let alone the frustration.
          Maybe it’s different for different people but I have my problem solved finally, at least partially solved.
          I was buying T-shirts , and complaining about my hole problem and the sales lady said she had solved it.
          She bought non friction clear tape put it across the front of her counters. The only non-friction clear tape I could find was double-sided which would not work. I did find 3M clear repair tape put it across, turned a favorite holy shirt backwards and wore it all day.
          .NO HOLES!
          She said she couldn’t see the tape she used, but I can see this so I’m going to try and see if there is something that can be applied to the front that would work.
          I’m so sick of having a new shirt ruined after just a few minutes wearing it. I hope someone else will experiment with this.
          It’s a cheap trial.

  27. 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.


  28. 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.

    1. 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!

    1. 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!!

      1. Come on ladies it is simply shit material no matter where you buy from. Nordstrom, Macy’s, target, Costco, jc penny all the stores. This started about 3 years ago but before I never had a problem with holes maybe even 5 or 6 now. Kohls also has shit material it all started with kohl’s for me and so I thought I had to buy so try Macy then Nordstrom and it was as if I had purchased them from kohl’s bullshit. Need a name of store that sells plus size quality cotton or cotton/blend. I am sick of these holes please help

    2. I am laughing so hard! I have said there are bugs living in mine that come out & eat the material (hard to detect but there is a whitish smear)…I’ve been suffering this for 20 yrs. & pest control spraying does nothing. It”s NOT seat belts, kitchen counters, belts, purses, washer, dryer & on& on. I’m ready to call the local news to put it out there! I’m exhausted with this.

  29. 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??????

    1. 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.

    2. I definitely think like you there has been some inferior happenings with zips buttons and fabrics .

    3. That’s what I have been saying! You are totally right it is a fact!!! No doubt at all. The question now is can we do anything??? This is around the world so I know there are more of us that this is happening to, way more. We need to boycott or protest or something anyone have ideas??

  30. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

      1. 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.

  31. 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

    1. If it were seat belts, wouldn’t you have holes across the shoulder area as well….it’s bugs

      1. Sally, by your logic, shouldn’t you have holes in the BACK of the shirt also? Or are these super well trained bugs that only chew thru one layer of the shirt in the exact same spot on every shirt?

  32. 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!!!

    1. 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.

    2. I bought 3 tee shirts there recently and I wore 2 of them and the first time I washed them I got holes in that area! I called the store manager and told her about it and she refunded my money over the phone. I haven’t worn the other one yet but when I do I’m going to wash it by hand and see what happens. I was ready to buy a new washer and dryer until I found this article!

      1. Yes, loft cotton tops are very thin and get the holes the most. I think it’s little bats that are eating the cotton.

  33. 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!

  34. 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?!

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

    2. Interesting… after reading the article I have come to realise the pin holes near my belly button are from wearing and over body bag. I wonder if you are wearing a handbag that sits under you arm?

  35. 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.

    1. 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!

  36. 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.)

    1. Thanks you! I am an elementary teacher and have small children. I can’t tell you how often I have sticker damage.

      1. My solution for holes in my shirts is simple. I cut a piece of thin fabric about 1 1/2 inches by 3 inches. Either make a buttonhole or cut a slit for a button hole at the top. Before fastening your jeans, put the fabric over your buttonhole with the longest part going up. After fastening your button, pull the piece of fabric over your jeans waistband and down over your button. Presto, the offending area is covered up without wearing another shirt. Knits work well, or even light weight felt. Also chose different colors to match your jeans, so the patch doesn’t show through you shirts.

  37. 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.

  38. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. Exactly, I agree, i also have my merinos getting holes and i think the buttons, zips , and rivets are much sharper than they used to be, and the fabrics are crap. Never had this problem years ago.

  39. 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!

  40. 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.

    1. 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.

  41. 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!

    1. 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????

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

  42. 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.

    1. 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.

  43. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

    3. Can you elaborate on the moth larvae? I have about 20 cotton t shirt style shirts that have numerous holes on the bottom front of each one. I do believe something is eating them but I have not found any bugs. What does the larvae look like and how/why would it be in the same spot on each shirt. I have purchased cedar chips and sprayed Ortho Indoor Home Defense Max. I am at my wits end! Every new blouse I purchased this summer has been ruined. Looking for information. Thanks

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

  45. 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.

    1. 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.

  46. 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.

    1. Hi all, I was having a conversation with my mom about this. She jokingly accused me of possibly having belly button fungus, haha. Then, she noticed the same was happening to her shirts. Anyways, she is a seamstress and concluded that this is done by the manufacturers knowingly or unknowingly. When they transfer the shirts in large bundles they either staple them or pin them together somehow. By doing this it tears through the fibers breaking them and only after the shirts are washed is it apparent because of the fabric shrinking.

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

  48. 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.

    1. 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.

  49. 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.

    1. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

    1. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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

    1. 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

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. It o my happens to my cotton shirts. There is a moth that eats only cotton, the mystery cor me is why in the same spot on every shirt?

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

    1. 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 🙁

  65. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. I have noticed that almost all my tops are being ruined with holes in them. This is not acceptable. I believe that the zippers have changed to become very thin and pointy. They kick out at times and punch holes in fabric, or fabric gets caught in the zipper hardware . Zipper inferiority and maybe reducing some material in the slacks or Jeans to save money for the producers has caused havoc and is ruining our clothes.

        There is no reason for this and it should be seriously looked at by clothing designers. I have started putting electrical tape on the zippers to soften the connection. It washes just fine. It is sad that it has come to this. So many tops ruined!!!

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

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

  67. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

  68. 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????

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

  69. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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

      3. I believe you’re right about a bug. It’s most likely moth larvae. Moths don’t eat clothing, their larvae does which is where the white smear comes from. And my theory about the holes being in the same area for everyone is that it may be happening at the time our clothes are stacked on cargo ships and coming from overseas. When a shirt is folded and stacked, I think that particular area of the shirt is exposed as it lays in the stack.

  70. 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.

  71. 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!

    1. 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!

  72. 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.

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

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

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

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

      1. 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

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