Holes in clothes from washing machines
A relatively new phenomenon of random holes appearing in clothing after washing is being experienced by many washing machine users. There was a discussion about it on my forum and I have also written an article on my blog which has received many comments from people desperate to find the cause. This article summarises the issue.
The number one suspect in most people's minds is the washing machine, and there is some circumstantial and anecdotal evidence that something about many modern washing machines (front loaders) could be causing these holes. In recent years the size of washing machine drums has increased but the size of the washing machine has generally stayed the same. In theory this could mean that the gap between the revolving drum and the outer tub may have decreased. As parts of the laundry are forced through the holes in the drum on spin it is theoretically possible they are sometimes catching on the heating element or bracket just below the drum. The type of laundry most likely to be forced through these holes on spin is cotton and it seems that cottons are the fabric mostly holed.
However, as I point out in my blog article, there are several possible causes of holes in laundry and many of them are self inflicted and not the washing machine's fault. There is no strong evidence that washing machines are to blame but it does remain a possibility.
Quick summary of some of the evidence so far
This is just a list of some of the main points I've noticed so far -
- The most commonly affected clothing appears to be cotton t-shirts but other fabrics are being holed and torn
- The washing machines under suspicion are spread across many different makes and not apparently confined to one as you'd expect if it was a manufacturing design fault. This doesn't rule out a design fault, but if several different manufacturers have all made the same mistake it would be highly unusual.
Most people who have complained to their manufacturer have been told it is their own fault and that they have spun the items too fast in contradiction of the instructions. I have two problems with this explanation -
- While spinning certain fabrics too fast could cause problems, there are too many people whose main items damaged are cottons, which can legitimately be spun at full spin speeds - even 1600 rpm
- There are people who experience the damage even when spinning at slow speeds such as 900 rpm
- Most of the people contributing to the discussion so far report they have a washing machine with a 6kg drum or larger. As 6kg drums are becoming the normal entry level size now it's impossible to attach too much significance to this. It could be significant, or it could be coincidence.
- There are more possible causes of holes in t-shirts and causes plus comments from people affected on my white goods blog article - Holes in washing (laundry)
Links to other articles on holes and tears in laundry
Here are links to the story so far at Washerhelp and Whitegoodshelp. If you have random holes appearing in your laundry items then you need to carefully read all the information there - particularly where I mention several possible causes which could be attributable to user faults.
Don't be too keen to blame the washing machine until you have ruled out all the other causes. I currently keep a totally open mind on the subject and am trying to collate enough information to be able to help anyone with this problem.
- Holes in washing (laundry) (White goods Blog article with many comments)
- Small Holes In Clothes After Wash, My washing machine is slowly eating my clothes (Forum topic - now closed but researchable)
- Biological washing machine detergents can damage woollens & silks (cause holes) (Blog article)
- PHOTOS: Holes in clothes - damaged laundry photos sent in by affected washing machine users). Please send me yours to add to the resource (Just contact me using my contact form and when I reply be email you can attach your photos) (TIP: If photographing the holes or tears in clothes and the holes are small and don't show up well you may need to place something coloured under the holes for them to stand out)