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Dreaded holes in clothing - Ran out of ideas

Posted by joanSl (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 30, 12 at 15:38

Hi everyone,

I looked through some old posts on this topic, but couldn't find an answer to my situation. I'm going a bit crazy trying to fix this, and have just run out of ideas. I hope someone can help. Here's the situation: I've been finding holes in my clothes.

* They are in different locations. Some are on the sleeves, some are on the front of the body, and some are on the back (so I'm guessing it's not my habits/friction with objects?)
* The clothes are often (although not always) worn. Usually, they're clothes that I wear often. Some have been brand-spanking new. None of them have been stored away (I sprayed for moths, and got some cedar ships, just in case)
* Clothes that have never been washed had holes in them (not the washing machine)
* Clothes that were washed (after a fogger) in a different washing machine had holes in them (within two days or so of being washed, before being worn)

I haven't seen a single insect. Pheromone traps have nothing in them. I recently set off a fogger, and I plan to get another organic type of fogger.

Most recently, the holes appeared on clothing that I traveled with. One hole appeared while I was traveling, and the other after I came back (when I wore it, it looked fine).

Please help! What could this possibly be? I feel like it's something that survives the washing machine, travels with the clothes, and may not be visible.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dreaded holes in clothing - Ran out of ideas

During my time with a FL I found that the high speed spins were hard on clothes. Sometimes articles would stretch themselves out over the drum fins during the spins and that would cause holes, mostly in towels and shirts. Most of these items were old and fabric was probably already weak, but the front loader spins did them in.

If you have a FL turn down the spin speed.


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RE: Dreaded holes in clothing - Ran out of ideas

Sounds like you might have carpet beetles. Apparently they are way more common than moths in the USA and far harder to kill. Google them, my wife noticed holes in her clothes, mainly nice stuff like wool or silk, searched and sure enough found the larvae.


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RE: Dreaded holes in clothing - Ran out of ideas

Thank you so much for your responses! I haven't found any larvae anywhere... It may be my sight though. Do they pop up in pheromone traps?

I noticed that at least one shirt had the holes before ever being laundered, and that's what's throwing me off. I don't use a FL. I've been using one of those dual washer/drier machines and it definitely is not kind on clothes.


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RE: Dreaded holes in clothing - Ran out of ideas

We had moths some time ago and it was a hassle to get rid of them. First thing you do is get ziploc bags and put ALL of your dry goods food ingredients in them. Seal them up tight. Within a week we noticed dead bugs inside some bags that had rice, flour and nuts. Beyond the whole eeeeew factor, this was where they'd been growing. At the same time we put a bunch of sweaters (merino and other fine wools) into bags. Likewise noticed a bug or two, but only after a month or so. The bags worked to suffocate the little bastards. Then we gave the whole kitchen a thorough scrubbing and steamvac'd all the carpets. No sign of problems for several years after that.


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RE: Dreaded holes in clothing - Ran out of ideas

Its definitely got to be the front loading washer. Holes never used to happen to me but then started when I got a new washer. Then I moved to another house that had an older model top loading washer and it didn't appen to my new knit shirts. Then,,,, I brought a new knit shirt with me to my mother-in-law's house for Christmas and I laundered the shirt. Guess what -- she had a brand new front loading washer!! Yes, my new shirt came out with pinholes.


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RE: Dreaded holes in clothing - Ran out of ideas

I was reading this thread last night & it is really amusing! Here are my 2 cents--

First, if someone is only getting the holes in the same area of one kind of garment (eg, front of shirt near the bottom), it is not from the washer or dryer, it is from something you do while you are wearing the shirt. I noticed no one complained about "mysterious" holes in the knees of jeans! Why wouldn't holes in the same spot of some other garment also be from something you are doing when wearing that garment?

Some people found they were rubbing the edge of their kitchen counter with their shirts. Others might be snagging the shirt on jean zippers. Maybe there is something on your desk in your office that is rubbing the shirts. Maybe your laptop is rubbing your shirts in the same spot.

If you only get holes in the elbows of long sleeve shirts, you are leaning on something that is snagging the shirt---etc etc. Moths & bugs do not care whether what they are eating is in the front or back or elbow.

My husband's slacks he wears to work are suffering back-belt loop failure. It only happens on the back belt loop--they get frayed & faded. He was blaming the manufacturer's choice of materials but if the fabric is only wearing & fading in that one spot, it is not the fabric.

It turned out, after some investigation, to be caused by the new chairs the company has placed in the offices---a stiff mesh that is rubbing only that part of his pants. I suggested getting a fleece throw or any other fabric thing, and throwing it over the back of the chair. Of course, this is not "manly" and is meeting resistance, so he might have ragged belt loops for some time to come.

Second, wool mothes only eat wool. People who leave their cashmere & other woolen sweaters in the closet for a long time before wearing them again, and find holes, are suffering from wool moths' larvae and the cure is to store the clothes in a bug proof box & probably with cedar or mothballs (which are very toxic). Another cure is to wear the clothes more often! Enjoy them. Moths can't lay eggs on sweaters that are walking around outside the closet.

Third, I noticed a lot of posters have hampers, which sit on the floor, and the hampers turned out to be harboring some kind of bugs. If you keep cycling your laundry using something else and do not leave it in a hamper, the bugs will not have a place to hide. We put ours in plastic laundry baskets and take them to the basement almost every day. So they are emptied and then bugs can't hide in them. There is the cosmetic issue of baskets in the bedroom or bathroom but everyone's house is different & we all can figure out some way to deal with that. Hiding the basket near the washing machine when company comes is pretty good.

Fourth, try hanging delicate clothes to dry instead of throwing them in a dryer which cooks the fibers and abrades them against each other.

We hang dry everything except towels & cotton knit undies, and we almost never get holes. When we do, they are in jeans where you would expect them (knees, butts) and shoulders of shirts that the cats' claws caught. We have shoulder-riding kitties.

I have some delicate silk blouses and I handwash them, period. I would never put them in a washing machine any more than I would put the fine crystal glasses in the dishwasher.

Hope it helps & hope you get fewer holes!


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