- “A cotton blouse that I haven’t worn for a while has a mysterious tear. I don’t recall snagging it on anything. What could have happened to it?”
A. Mysterious holes sometimes develop in cellulose fabrics such as cotton, linen, rayon, acetate and blends of these fabrics. The damage may appear as a circular hole, tear, or weak, thin area with no particular shape. There are two basic causes: one is the result of the fabric coming in contact with strong alkaline bleach such as chlorine. This can occur if clothing gets wet from swimming pool water, for example. Acidic substances can also cause damage, including fruit juices, soft drinks or foods like tomatoes or lemons. Sulfuric and hydrochloric acids can also cause damage. It’s important to clean clothing quickly after coming in contact with these substances.