washing machine putting holes in shirts

Washing Machine Putting Holes in Shirts: Causes and Solutions

There’s nothing worse than taking out a fresh load of laundry from the machine and finding a hole in your favourite shirt. 

You’re sure it wasn’t there before you put it in, could it have happened in the wash?

Unfortunately, there are many ways that clothes can develop holes in the washing machine. 

In this article, we look at possible causes and solutions for washing machines putting holes in shirts. 

Cause 1: Items Stuck Between the Door and Drum

checking washing machine drum and door

The main culprit of this problem is an underwire that has escaped from a bra, but anything that might have been left in a pocket can fall out and get wedged between the door and the drum. 

Then, as clothes are spinning around on a high speed, they can get caught on the offending item and get ripped. 


Check the space in between your door and drum and remove any items that may have become wedged in there.


Cause 2: Clothes Snagging on Zips, Buttons or Other Embellishments

belt and clothes with zips and buttons

If you wash belts, or clothes that have zips or other embellishments, with other items of clothing, they can get stuck or torn on the zips or buckles as they spin.

Not only do these items cause damage to other clothes such as t-shirts, but they can also damage the drum or the door seal. 


Wash these items in a mesh laundry bag, or turn them inside out if possible


Cause 3: Overloading the Washing Machine

overloaded washing machine

This is similar to the above as overloading a washing machine squeezes clothes together which may lead to some getting snagged on zips or buckles. 

In addition to this, clothes can become entangled and as they pull one another, tears may form. 


Avoid overfilling your washing machine. Check the manual for the maximum load weight. 

If you don’t have scales available, you can check by putting your hand into the machine.  If it fits in on top of the load easily, the load is not too full, if you have to squeeze your hand in, consider removing some items. 


Cause 4: Spin Speed Is Too High

spin speed on washing machine

Different fabrics should be spun on different speeds. Cotton can be spun on a fairly high speed whereas denim, and more delicate fabrics such as silk and wool, should be spun on the lowest speed, or not spun at all. 


Be sure to check the care label on your garment to make sure you’re laundering it correctly. 


Cause 5: Damage to the Washing Machine

damaged rubber door seal with stuck clothes

Unfortunately, there can be minor damage to a machine that doesn’t stop it working but can damage clothes:

  • Scratches or holes on the drum’s surface can be caused by sharp objects left in pockets. Clothing can then get stuck in the holes or snagged on the scratched surface.
  • The rubber door seal can be worn down or damaged by items left in pockets. Clothes can then be caught on holes as they’re spinning.


Closely inspect your washing machine drum to see if you can identify any damage to the drum surface or door seal. 

You can even put an old pair of tights over your hand and run it along the surfaces to see if they get caught. 


Cause 6: Bleach

hole in shirt caused by too much bleach

Using too much bleach on clothes can erode the fabric and lead to holes. If you often add bleach to the wash, you may not realise that bleach is the culprit, as we tend to blame the machine instead. 


Try opting for a natural cleaner instead. White vinegar or bicarbonate of soda are good substitutes for bleach.