Sick of Itchy Undershirts?

May 24, 2013 | By | 2 Replies More

If you’re like me, wearing an undershirt is primarily about comfort and protection.

Of course, these items comes in many forms including:

  1. Protection from sweating through to your outer shirts
  2. Prevent underarm stains from getting on your nice shirts
  3. Concealment of tattoos and/or chest and back hair
  4. Keeping sweat, oils and body odors from coming in contact with your dress and outer shirts. Allowing them to stay cleaner, longer
  5. Masking/smoothing body parts
  6. Avoid nipple chafing (yes, I have heard and written about this before)
  7. Masking puffy nipples
  8. Adding a layer of comfort between a scratchy outer shirt (possibly Wool?) and your torso

While that’s a pretty impressive list, there are probably more reasons that I’m just not thinking of right now.

One of my really BIG pet peeves is itchy or scratchy undershirts. I hate them with a passion and give really low marks to undershirts that aren’t smooth feeling right out of the package. Some say they soften up after some washing, but why in the heck should I have to wash something for it to be soft?


Image credit:

Loving this question from a reader about Itchy Undershirts:

Hi Tug,

Over the last few years, I developed some wicked allergies. Some of which include sensitivity to dyes, perfumes and some chemicals. My wife bought me some new t-shirts from wal-mart. An hour or so after wearing one, my eyes were watering and my face was itching. I think these first ones were Jockey.

She took those back and got me Hanes t-shirts. These, out of the bag, felt EXACTLY the same as the first set; cheap, thin and itchy. I washed them several times but they caused the same reaction.

Months later, we bought a package of Hanes t-shirts from a different store, thinking that maybe that might get us something else. Didn’t help. These were exactly the same and I have the same problem.

The t-shirts I got years ago were much better. Thicker, soft and comfortable. Most importantly I didn’t have any reactions. Where are THOSE shirts? (those were Hanes brand).

Can you recommend anything? I really need some good t-shirts that won’t cause me to break out.

thx, Sean

I got back in touch Sean and asked about whether or not he had any per undershirt budget in mind:

Well, if I can get some good t-shirts that last and don’t itch I would be willing to spend some money on them. I’m sure I spent close to $80 just trying to get shirts (:

The 6 pack of Hanes I just got was $30ish, so about $5 there. If I had to do $8 or so I probably would.

Non Itchy Undershirt Recommendations

I emailed Sean back with the following recommendations:

hey sean,

1.) did you check out my favorite undershirt list yet? the top 4 are all priced from around $7 – $10 per undershirt. i’m pretty picky about itchiness too, so you’ll find any of the top 4 to have a nice smooth feel.

2.) also, fruit of the loom makes a really nice 95/5 blend active collection undershirt (#2 on the list in the below article — likely will make my top 5 list pretty soon):

3.) costco’s crew neck undershirts (made by gilden) are pretty soft too, and they are super cheap.

4.) here a some more (tactical 5.11 could be a good choice):

5.) and last but not least, check out #4 (campbellsville apparel moisture wicking):

i’m 100% certain you’ll find something you’ll love from the list above!

if you’re not sure which one to pick, i’d recommend picking the least expensive out of the bunch first, and work upward in price from there.

enough info for you? (:

Tags: , ,

Category: Ask Tug

About the Author ()

Tug is the world's undershirt expert. He is also one of the most knowledgeable individuals on sweat management solutions, men's shapewear, grooming, and new fabric technologies. Got a question? Visit Tug's contact page and hit him up.

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. DAN


    The problem I’m running into is older T shirts developing a scratchiness around the collar due to exposed plastic thread.

    The cotton T shirt material is fine; it’s the relatively stiff plastic threading that, over time, becomes exposed, that is causing the problem.

    I wonder if there’s some kind of pre-made adhesive strip of soft material one might adhere to the plastic threading; some way to easily cover the scratchy plastic.

    • Tug says:

      heya dan, good to hear from you.

      surprisingly, you’re the second person recently that has mentioned issues with an itchy collar line. though, i’m not sure the other reader was having an issue with the thread itself. note, the shirt likely has polyester thread, since that is most like a plastic material. shirts are usually sewn with cotton or poly thread.

      i’ll be writing an article about this topic soon, but i do have some suggestions you may want to check out in the meantime.

      there are a couple companies making something referred to as a “collar guard”, made with a fabric front and an adhesive back. here’s an article that references some of the products:

      other ideas could be to:
      1. use medical tape
      2. try some of the microfoam tape from 3m
      3. or even cut a thin strip of fabric (something from an old tee maybe) and adhere it to the inside collar line of your t-shirts using a fabric fusion (peel & stick) or hem tape (iron). you can get these on amazon or at a place michaels (

      hope the information helps.

      if you do try something above and it works for you, it would be great if you could pop back by and let us know what worked for you.

Leave a Reply

I promise you'll enjoy reading the rest of this article. If you're not 100% satisfied, just unsubscribe at anytime. Sound good??
I promise you'll enjoy reading the rest of this article. If you're not 100% satisfied, just unsubscribe at anytime. Sound good??