Holes in Merino Clothing - Wear and Tear is a Thing

The Hole  Discovery

The thing that you never wanted to happen - has happened. There is a hole in your merino base layer. You just got it out to wear and discovered it. This may the first time you've dealt with this, or it maybe the 10th time - time to investigate!

 How did this happen? How can you fix it? How to prevent this from happening?

This post is part of an ongoing series investigating holes in your merino wool clothing. See our first blog post - Holes in Merino Clothing - The Laundry Investigation for the start of the investigation, and the most likely culprit. 

So - you've read through the Laundry Investigation, but don't think it can be that - read on for our second most likely culprit for a new take on wear and tear that you may not be aware of!


Wear & Tear is a Thing

Wear and tear can happen in any garment - in natural garments like merino wool, wear & tear can take on a new meaning. 


General Wear & Tear

This is the most common type of wear & tear in your merino wool clothing, and what most people think of when we talk about it. In general it is pretty obvious what happened because of where the hole is - around the knee area - could be from a fall, or climbing, or anything really that bumped the knee when flexed.

(Flexed knees / elbows, or other places create a stretched surface - which makes the garment thinner and taut in the area, so when pressure or scuffing happens, it is more easy to get a hole in it. )

Or maybe the hole is near an elbow, or rear, etc - bumping up against rocks, climbing trees, sliding down nature, etc. Kids can be tough on clothing. Also - the knee in your base layer can get a hole even if it is underneath pants. For instance - has your kid ever fallen down and hurt their knee, but their jeans didn't show any holes? This can happen because the skin is fairly thin, and can be scraping along the underside of the jeans during the fall. Same can happen with the base layer. 

When the hole is near a point of impact - it is easier to figure out what must have happened. There is also usually a little fuzz around the hole, so you can guess it was a snag or tear. 

But what about wear and tear that is not so obvious?



Chemical Wear & Tear

One not as obvious issue with merino wool and one that affects more adults than kids - is chemicals you might not be aware of that can get into your merino wool clothing. Deodorant & anti perspirant. They will rub off from your body onto the garment - especially when we typically are wearing base layers tighter so they are like a second skin. So if the hole is somewhere near where you wear these products  - you may have found your culprit. This generally happens over time and use. Weakening the fabric until at some point a hole appears. 

This isn't to say don't use them - but more be mindful that it can cause an impact. Though you may also notice that your merino tee won't smell after sweating like cotton tees do - thank the merino wool power of sweat wicking!


Unseen Wear & Tear

There is another not so obvious method of wear & tear that impacts merino wool a little harder than other natural fibers - sweat, oils, saliva, and the sea... 

Sweat type of wear & tear is mostly seen on the edges of the merino wool top or leggings. Sweating at the neckline, chewing or sucking at the sleeve and bottom cuffs, picking, and scratching are naming a few of the most common unseen types of wear & tear. 

Have you ever scoured the closet for a cotton t-shirt that you or your partner had 20 years ago - only to find holes and fraying at the neckline? Yeah - this is the sweat and oil build up of years of wear, and the breakdown that is natural and normal. With a merino wool t-shirt - this can happen a lot faster, as it has a faster compostable breakdown than typical processed cotton. 

Holes seen around the edges of tops, and sleeves can be typically caused by saliva - our mouths have a great enzymes that helps break down food - so yeah - it'll help break down merino too. This is seen most often in kids - and usually at night or when their bored, or need something to fidget with, etc..

Picking and scratching are no joke either - nails can snag the clothing, dig in while picking, scratching can wear down the clothing. Kids have a habit of finding and getting to that itchy spot - no matter the amount of layers!

Then there is the sea... Our kids love the get wet in the ocean - and it shows in the many many photos on socials and this website - but the ocean also has so many things in it to help nature along from salt to enzymes etc. So just as you need to rinse out your wetsuits, lifejackets, boats, and gear to wash away the sea so it doesn't break down - rinse out your merino wear too!



The last category under this post is pets. Typical pets such as dogs and cats LOVE merino wool. It's cozy, it smells like sheep and you, they want to roll around in your merino wool clothing, chew it, knead it with claws, or in some dogs even eat it! So care should be taken to where you are setting down your laundry that day so you don't create an impromptu cat scratching area with your hanging laundry! And yes - I've had customers reach out to me to say their mail was partially eaten by their dog.... 



There is alot of typical, seen, and unseen types of wear & tear that can happen to cause holes, snags, and thinning of your merino wool clothing. While you can't prevent many of these scenarios, it is something you can be aware of, and take into account in your routines so you are not as surprised when you do find a hole.

Kids wearing their merino as a baselayer under other clothing does help the impact of falls and scrapes. Our next post - Holes in Merino Clothing - Taut Tension & GSM (coming soon) will delve into this a bit more.

Washing your merino tee after it's been excessively sweat in, or been in the ocean. And taking care to keep pets away from your laundry will also help! 

If you've read through The Laundry Investigation, and this post, and still come up empty - stay tuned for the next in the series: Holes in Merino Clothing - Taut Tension & GSM (coming soon)



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