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How Long Will a T-Shirt Last?

Worried that your favorite t-shirt’s days are numbered? That it’ll die a premature death? Worry no longer. T-shirts never die. Ok, they do eventually, but most of them will live a very, very long time as long as they are not worn every single day. But even if you do want to wear the same shirt every day, the t-shirt will still give you a few blissful months of comfort.

The more often you wear and wash a t-shirt, the more likely it is to wear out. The number of times that the shirt is dried in a clothes dryer also has a lot to do with how long it will last. Any shirt will last longer if it is laid flat to dry or hung up to drip dry rather than being put into a clothes washer. A shirt worn for only an hour or two may not need to be washed and dried at all. If the shirt can go without being washed every time it’s worn, it may last even longer.

A t-shirt that is worn rarely or only once every month or two can certainly be dried in a drier and still last a long time. A shirt in a smaller rotation of clothes, worn once a week and dried in a machine may only last a few months. A shirt that is worn more rarely will last for years or even longer. A shirt that is worn only once or twice a year for a specific type of occasion will last significantly longer than one that is worn weekly or monthly.

Taking good care of a t-shirt means not using bleach on it more than once or twice- bleach causes fabric to weaken and will create holes in it over time. When something is spilled on the shirt and you’re afraid it may stain, try to get the substance out of the fabric right away so that bleach will not have to be used. For a blood stain, soak the t-shirt in cold water immediately. This will take even large quantities of blood out without having to weaken the fabric.

To make the shirt last longer, use a gentle detergent and use slow agitation. This is a good guideline for any other clothing that you want to make last longer as well. A very harsh detergent and fast agitation can make the fabric thinner, weaken the seams and eventually cause holes in t-shirts and many other types of garments. Look for detergent that is made for babies or that doesn’t contain harsh fragrances.

Taking good care of a t-shirt will mean that it will last just about as long as you want it to. It is by no means unusual for a t-shirt to last for decades. If you’ve ever seen anyone wear a vintage t-shirt with a year on it, you have seen how long it is possible to keep a t-shirt. There may not be very many Roaring 20’s t-shirt still around, but there are probably plenty of Woodstock ones.

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1 Comment

  1. AlanP · July 1, 2009

    good quality tshirts can last for 8 years or even longer if you wash with cold water and dry it in your dryer with low heat. Colors will eventually fade a bit but it’d be stabilized and won’t shrink/stretch even a bit. True story.

    Bad quality tshirts ex. Hanes, Fruit of the Looms, etc.. you can trash them each season.

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