You may sometimes notice small holes appearing in your newly washed laundry. If you’re pretty sure that it’s not just that the material is worn and aged anyway then you might like to know the following:
The enzymes in biological washing powders can attack the natural fibres of especially wool and silk, breaking them down. (There are usually warnings on washing product packaging but they are not always obvious). For washing these delicate fabrics therefore, use something gentle that you might use for babies’ clothes, like ‘Dreft’. I personally have found that 100% cotton can be similarly eaten up by the enzymes in biological powders and the solution for me was to change powder (in my case ‘Persil’ biological powder did the damage while other biological powders seemed OK).
Check the instructions of your washing machine for recommended spin speeds. Too high a spin speed can loosen and damage fibres. Below is a general chart to show that certain fabrics need certain maximum spin speeds:
Cottons: 1400 rpm
Minimum iron: 1200 rpm
Delicates: 600 rpm
Woollens: 1200 rpm
Silks: 400 rpm
Shirts: 600 rpm
Denim: 900 rpm
For me, these two are the most obvious culprits but if you’ve tried altering both of the above it is also worth knowing that deodorant has been implicated and may damage clothing – so changing brand again may help.
Then there are also the most obvious reasons – which I’ve left until last here because I assume you’ve already considered them:
Don’t wash delicate fabrics with clothes that have zips, hooks, or wires. For washing mixed loads where you are concerned about damage in this way, you may find using special laundry bags useful. These come in a variety of sizes, some large enough to accommodate things like skirts. Either place the offending article (with the metal fastening) or the delicate articles in a fine mesh laundry bag and this should help to minimise damage. Under wire bras should, in any case, really be hand washed.
Where is the damage occurring? If it’s close to the underarms and you wear under wire bras, is it possible that the wire is snagging on the fabric causing wear?
If it is across the front or back of the material, around waist height, it’s possible that it’s just wear and tear from leaning against kitchen counter tops. Apparently granite worktops are particularly abrasive to clothing.