How is my washer putting holes in my shirts?

Okay. I’ve either got tiny, rabid beavers in my laundry basket, or something with my washer/dryer is putting pin holes in my t-shirts.

These holes are fairly small. Most are pin holes, but some are slightly larger than a pencil eraser. I don’t have moths or any other clothes eating critter. To my knowledge, I’m not doing anything while I’m wearing the cloths to put the holes in them. So, I’m guessing that this is happening somewhere in the washing/drying process.

Any thoughts on what’s causing this? Is there something that can go wrong with a washer that would put holes in t-shirts?

You know the thing in the center? Sometimes when it spins and shakes it can pull bits of fabric underneath it. And rubbing against the bottom of the tub rub some really nasty patches of holes in some random shirts. It happens rarely but it does happen. That might be it. Maybe there’s someway to tighten that so there’s less room between it and the tub?

Anyway that’s my guess.

Yup, as far as I know Osiris is on the right track: the holes are caused by the clothing rubbing against and catching on the inside of the washing machine. Overloading seems to make things worse for me, so if you usually fill the machine very full, try cutting back on load size a little. It only seems to happen on knits, so I’m guessing just one thread gets snapped and the fabric unravels just a bit in that area.

Either that, or the dryer demons that eat your socks are nibbling your T-shirts for dessert. Try giving them a load of nothing but mismatched socks to appease them :smiley:

Humm… You see, the dryer demons have never once nibbled on my socks. Maybe they prefer t-shirt material instead.
I’ll admit that I’m a terrible at doing the laudry. Such things as bleach, color sorting and proper loading elude me. I’ll try to cut back on the load size and see if that helps.
Anyone know anything about washer maintainence? Can the center thingy be tightened? Is it even possible for it to come loose? If it’s loose will it cause more “pinch” holes?

(I’m off to bed, thanks for the help so far)

Shirts and clothing like that are much thinner then socks. And so can fit into smaller spaces.

It’s my hypothesis that the center thingy can loosen with age, how old is your washer? Of course I’m no repairman. I think flodnak has it right, just lighten your loads.

All I know is that mine has snagged 3 or 4 shirts in the last 5 years. A little bit of fabric gest under it and it just starts pulling it in little by little. It never gets that far in but it might get a whole shoulder which when I pull out (which is hard, it really gets in there good) it is covered in holes. Presumably those shirts with smaller holes it got a hold of but only for a short while.

Just to clarify, your not working with any kinds of acids like battery acid or lye or any kind of chemical that would react with water are you?

Jdeforrest is on to something here. I work with acids and bases a lot and due to the fact that I use them in a draft cupboard (sp?) I get holes in my T-shirts that are slightly below and to the sides of my bellybutton.

They always appear after washing because the water washes away the corroded material.

To continue with Jdeforrest’s suggestion, I was going to ask if you were bleaching your clothes. Too much bleach or bleach getting in contact with the fabric before being properly diluted can cause holes. Are you using powdered detergent? If so, are you dissolving it in the water first, or dumping it on top of your clothes? Straight detergent is pretty strong and might damage the fibers.

The thing in the center that moves around is called the agitator, and that would be more likely to rip clothing than to put pinholes in it. There is a slight gap that provides freedom of motion, and when clothes get caught under there they can rip.

This link may explain it, maybe it’s a particle beam in your laundry ball.

Maybe some smart alec added lye to your laundry detergent on April Fools day. I’d tend to lean towards a problem with overloading, or possibly a burr or defect in the washer snagging your clothes. Run your hand around the inside of the drum and the agitator to see if you can feel anything. Either that, or you could attempt to convince the fashion snobs in New York and Paris that you have discovered an entirely new look.

If you figure this out, let me know, because I get the same phenomenon with my T-shirts. Mysterious holes, which (who knows why) usually appear on the upper back of the T-shirt, near the collar. Sometimes there is a row of little holes. The shirts aren’t worn out. These holes appear even on relatively new shirts.

Wonder if some microscopic pest is involved?

Just a WAG, but it might be caused by zippers from pants catching on your other clothes. I have a front load washer with no center agitator, and I get those holes sometimes.

No, I don’t work with any caustic materials and I’m too inept at the whole laundry thing to even bother with bleach. I was trained by a previous gf to dissolve the detergent a little before dumping the clothes in.
The general consensus is that it may be an overloading problem. I think this might be my problem. I’m going to get my gf to show me what overloading looks like. I’m also going to inspect the tub for sharp spots. And, from now on, I’m going to zip up all zippers before they go in the wash.
Hopefully that will solve my holely t-shirt problem

If you are getting holes in clothes, in my experience it is the dryer. We noticed small holes appearing in our clothes and investigated it to find that our dryer had nylon/plastic fastners that held the dryer together near the door that had started backing out. They would snag clothes and cause problems. We had a repairman tell us that he ran across a drum in a dryer that had a metal screw sticking thru the drum towards the inside that was doing the same thing. So I would inspect the inside of your dryer drum to see if any screws or fastners are backing out…

I concur on the dryer, I used to have a dryer that would snag clothes around the front drum housing area. In that particular case some (actual high-temperature) duct tape fixed that.

For women, washing and drying bras in with t-shirts can allow the hooks on the bras to attach to the shirts and cause holes. You really should put bras in a bag to avoid this, or at least do up the hooks.

Zippers can do it.

If you have cats you pick up, they can hold on with their claws and you don’t see them weaken a thread. Then it goes into the wash, the thread gets stressed and snap, you’ve got a little hole in your shirt. This can also happen with other things, where you actually already have the broken or weak fiber, but you don’t see it until it comes out of the dryer and the fibers around it have been stressed and shrunk. A tiny hole in knit will get bigger after washing because the surrounding fibers will not be held in place during the stress of the agitation/tumbling/wetting/drying.

14 year old thread… is that a record?

Not that the OP is going to see this, but sometimes guys get holes in their t-shirts from their belt buckles. The buckles rub against the shirt or cause the button on their jeans fly to rub on the shirt and wear out a spot. Never noticed this until my husband and I took some of his shirts to a consignment store and the girl there showed us.

Gah. I usually look. hangs head