When you buy clothing, it is natural to want the pieces to last you longer than only a few times. You may have noticed that the damage to your clothes is often obvious after a wash cycle.

This leads many to suspect their washing machine for the tears in their clothes. But what causes small holes in clothes after washing?

It is important to determine the exact reason behind the damage. After all, washing machines are expensive appliances that most cannot afford to replace after every inconvenience.

Let’s discover what may cause small holes in your clothes after washing them!

What Causes Small Holes in Clothes After Washing
source: istockphoto.com

What Causes Small Holes in Clothes After Washing?

Small holes may appear in clothing after a wash cycle for various reasons, and they are:

  • Poor quality clothing
  • Zippers and studs
  • Overloading the washing machine
  • Undergarment wires
  • Speed cycle
  • Damaged drum

The Reasons: Explained

The main reasons behind the cause of small holes in clothes after washing are the following:

Poor quality clothing

With the popularity of fast fashion today, people are overstuffing their closets full of poorly made clothes. The fast fashion industry produces over 100 billion garments yearly, which has disastrous environmental effects.

If you buy your clothes from online sites that mass produce their clothes, it is the likely reason your clothes are tearing.

The thin materials used to make these clothes will easily be punctured during the wash cycle as the clothes rub against each other in the washer’s drum.

Zippers and studs 

If you wash clothes made from delicate fabric together with garments, zippers, or studs, that is the likely cause of the small holes that appear after washing. You should always avoid washing clothing like jeans and others that have zippers with a gentle fabric.

Always turn clothes with zippers and studs inside out before putting them in the washing machine. This way, the zippers and studs will not come into contact with other garments and puncture them.

Overloading the washing machine 

Another reason for small holes appearing in your clothes can be overloading. If you overload your washing machine with more clothes than it is equipped to handle, it will cause the garments to rub against each other more aggressively, leading to tears.

You should reread your washer’s user manual to see how big of a load it is engineered to handle. If you do not leave enough space in your washing machine, the clothes will not be able to move around and wash properly.

Read more: Why Is Washing Machine Leaving Black Marks On Clothes?

Undergarment wires 

If you regularly wear and wash bras with metallic wires, you already know that they can often poke out and escape from their places.

When you wash your bras in the washing machine, the wires are even more likely to escape. However, if the wire comes out during a wash cycle, it can easily get trapped under the drum.

If you do not notice it on time during your next laundry day, the wire can poke through the washer’s drum holes and cause tears in your clothes. If you hear a scraping noise during the wash cycle, a wire is stuck beneath the drum.

Speed cycle 

If you are using the wrong spin cycle for the type of clothes you are washing, it can also cause small holes to appear in the garments. For example, if you use a spin cycle that is too fast for delicate fabric like cotton and silk, it will cause them to tear. 

While for garments like jeans, sheets, and comforters, you can use a higher spin cycle as the fabric is more durable.

Damaged drum

Since all washing machine drums are made of thin metal, the machine will rip through your garments if the drum is destroyed. Shredded clothing will result from any damage to your drum.

This can also be caused by a damaged drum spider, in which case your machine will sound like a box of screwdrivers has been dropped inside. 

However, it is clear that there is an issue because it will be simple for you to notice that the drum is visually damaged. You will need to contact a repair service if this is the case.

Also read: Why Is My Washing Machine Drum Dropping?


What causes small holes in clothes after washing? After carefully reading, I hope you have found the most common reasons.

Small holes in clothes after washing can be attributed to various factors such as poor quality clothing, zippers/studs, overloading, undergarment wires, incorrect spin cycle, and damaged drum. To avoid such damage, it’s important to invest in higher-quality garments and handle them with care.

Separating delicate fabrics from items with zippers or studs, avoiding overloading the washing machine, and using the appropriate spin cycle for each type of clothing are essential practices.

Regular inspection of undergarments and prompt repair of any damaged drum components are also crucial to prevent clothing damage.

By understanding and addressing these factors, you can prolong the lifespan of your clothes and reduce the need for frequent replacements.