Are New Hanes Undershirts Causing Neck Rash?

Some people have complained that their new Hanes undershirts are causing neck rash. If you are too facing the problem, please keep reading.

Hi Tug,

I recently purchased some men’s Hanes crew neck undershirts and have developed an awful rash on the back on my neck!!

My skin is sensitive but this has never happened before!

I remember opening the package and smelled this overwhelming odor. I didn’t think anything of it.

Have you heard of anything recently about Hanes undershirts causing a neck rash?


Sweat Proof Undershirts

Any help would be appreciated!

Thank you,


Photos of Rash

Melissa shared the following photo of her neck rash so we could see how wearing the new undershirts was affecting her.

neck rash from hanes undershirts

This is a photo of care label from the Hanes ComfortSoft undershirt that was causing the rash.

hanes undershirts

Rash Caused By Hanes Underwear or Undershirts

I looked through my archives and did find some other cases of people getting rashes after buying new undershirts or underwear, but none specifically related to Hanes.

One of the cases turned out to be related to Grover’s Disease and the other t-shirt rash case reportedly was the result of gesaprim pesticide, possibly caused by a batch of imported tea the person recently purchased and drank.

There was another case where some clothing products, including certain undershirts were actually making a person ill.

The most recent update I have from the person is as follows:

Again, the sickness is the result of my body’s reaction to the “trigger”…and for all we know, there could be a variety of chemicals that cause the problem.

It has nothing to do with the texture of the fabric. And the same chemicals don’t cause any problem for most people.

To sum up…it is the imbalance in my system that makes me susceptible to the triggers.

For years, I have been going down the wrong road by trying to find out what chemicals cause the problem.

Now Dr. Page [see above “t-shirt rash case” article] has demonstrated that if he can get my system balanced, I should not react to chemicals that previously caused problems.

He is working on me rather than trying to isolate and identify the triggers.

I emailed Melissa back to get some additional information:

Heya Melissa,

Good to hear from you and thanks so much for your question.

I dug through all my archives and I don’t see issues particularly related to Hanes and neck rashes.

Did you purchase just standard every day Hanes undershirts?

Or did they have some special function to them (i.e. cooling, etc.)?

For example, were they the undershirts from Hanes with FreshIQ (a chemical antimicrobial additive – tradename of Silvadur from Dow)?

A Note About Silvadur
SILVADUR™ 930 Antimicrobial is a polymer-based antimicrobial that uses a patented delivery system to transport and secure the silver ions to a treated article.

When incorporated into textiles and fibers during the manufacturing process, SILVADUR™ 930 can inhibit the growth of microbes to offer protection, durability and freshness.

Undershirts Causing Neck Rash

Melissa got back to me with the following update:

Just standard everyday shirts.

I believe I had a reaction to the new chemicals that they are treating the shirts with.

I decided to wash all of them in warm water with bleach and soap for 5 washes back to back.

Seems to have worked for now.

But there is still an underlying odor/smell of when they came out of the package.



Fabric “Finishing” Chemicals Causing Rashes

I suspect Melissa is right, when she says the rash was a reaction from chemicals that the undershirts were treated with.

Since the undershirts were 100% cotton and didn’t have any specialty characteristics, that would likely point to chemicals used in the cotton fabrics to soften it.

There are some non-chemical techniques to make cotton fabric softer, such as using long staple cotton (Supima, Pima, Egyptian cotton).

There are also fabric resurfacing options such as brushing, sueding, and peaching.

One of the more common chemicals used to soften fabric is using a silicone softener, but that doesn’t normally cause skin rashes.

I Asked an Expert

A while back I reached out to one of my friends who works at a large fabric mill overseas, who is an expert in all things related to fabric production.

I asked him about the chemicals that factories use in the production of standard cotton apparel such as undershirts and underwear.

Thanks for your message.

Actually what you mentioned can make the cotton fabric softer.

But normally we improve cotton fabric (without peaching) hand feel by following way.

Yarn spin method + bio-polishing + silicone.

But there is a problem of adding too much silicone on the fabric in a garment factory because it causes curl for the cutting pieces.

Especially for the single knit fabric like single jersey.

So some garment factories add silicone or softener during garment washing.

By the way, there is another cotton fabric with very nice hand feel called “liquid cotton” which is made in china.

The fabric should be treated with Ammonia liquid during pre-treatment in dyeing process.

Since it needs safety facilities and arrangements, there is only one or two factories that can produce this product.

Since bio-polishing and silicone are processes and chemicals used industry-wide to soften fabrics, I would have to believe they are not the cause.

So, it’s possible that the Ammonia liquid cotton process could be the culprit, though, that is just one hypothesis.

Have You Gotten A Neck Rash or Other Skin Rash?

Are you new undershirts causing neck rash or has your underwear caused a skin rash in other body parts?

Please tell me about it in the comments section below.


How to wear undershirts

22 thoughts on “Are New Hanes Undershirts Causing Neck Rash?”

  1. I have purchased my 2nd bad of Hanes t shirts and am having the same problem with both. Awful rash on my torso, particularly hivey which has never happened. I always wash all my new clothes before wearing so the first batch was wash x 1 and after breaking out I now have dye free soap and dryer sheets. it was about 2 months ago and took weeks to clear up after only wearing the t shirts for 2 days. Well, just washed the 2nd batch and wore a t shirt to bed and started breaking out again the same exact manner. I have always worn tagless hanes and never issues. Been trying to troubleshoot if it could be something else but so far this is all I got.

  2. Hi Tug,
    I am thankful that I found your web site. I was looking for information about the Hanes FreshIQ “finish” that is incorporated in my new t-shirts that I purchased on Amazon. I have not worn these t-shirts yet and am trying to decide whether to do so.That’s alarming that Waggy and others have reported getting rashes after wearing such treated fabrics. I have been suffering from an itchy rash on my torso for over two weeks now, and I have the suspicion that it may have been caused by wearing Columbia thermal tops next to my skin during these cold Pacific Northwest months, that have been treated with an antimicrobial chemical agent. Their label spells out exactly what chemical they apply. Human skin normally is said to be populated with beneficial bacteria and/or yeasts. I wonder if these can be disrupted by antimicrobial agents. And if that happens, couldn’t bad bugs start to proliferate on the skin?

  3. I bought a 10 pk of Hanes cotton underwear. Noticed a burning in my private area. Then noticed it went away when I wore some of my older underwear and came back when I wore the Hanes. Washed all the new briefs. They still seem to be causing the same problem. This time I got some OTC for the pain, which seemed to be UTI. I’ve never had a UTI before. Now I’m very sick, temp 101.2 last I checked, and hurting all over.

  4. I called Hanes headquarters, got a sweet young lady on the phone, told her my story of the itchy tee shirts. I also told her of all the people on line who were complaining and she said that she would let corporate know of the situation. These are the comfort soft 100% shirts made in the Dominican Republic. So it pays to let corporate know what is going on.

  5. I just bought a package of 3 Hanes white tee shirts to sleep in. For the first time they are itchy. I have washed twice. Still itchy. Same label. Never had problem before. Label says ComfortCotton, made in Dominican Republic. Help!

    • heya kitty — honestly, my best advice would be to:
      – try another hanes undershirt — those that have a blend of cotton and other fibers
      – if you’re on a budget, try something from jockey
      – if you’re not a budget, buy a premium undershirt

      it’s gonna be hard for a company to make a soft cotton undershirt when they likely pay less than $0.50/each to make them.

  6. Hi! I slept in a Gildan men’s t-shirt 2 nights ago without the A/C on and woke up sweaty.

    Later in the day, I saw a rash along the back of my neck in a store mirror. The collar is the more restrictive one (i.e., not V neck, I forget what you would call it).

    The rash isn’t itchy but it’s disturbing to look at. I think it’s from the t-shirt. I wore it without washing it first.

    The material is 90 cotton 10 polyester but since I didn’t wash it before wearing I’m thinking that combined with the sweat caused the rash.

    I don’t have a fever, etc. Glad I found this site.

    • Always wash your clothes before wearing them.

      I worked for a retail clothing store about 25 years ago. Clothes were delivered in boxes to the stockroom, unwrapped, and processed for the sales floor.

      The chemicals that were used, to prevent insects from damaging garments, had a very strong odor. After an 8 hour shift of opening hundreds of boxes, hanging and folding clothes, my hands would take forever to get clean.

      Nasty stuff. I should have been wearing gloves and a mask, but no one really cared about employee safety (at that level) in that company.

      I was in high school at the time, an easily replaced cog in the machine. I didn’t know any better.

      • wow, that’s crazy brien! thanks for stopping by and sharing that information.

        let’s hope it’s not like that any more — seems like a massive safety and liability issue for stores.

  7. I went to Kohl’s to by men’s t shirts on 1-23-20 and both Hanes and Fruit of the Loom had chemicals added to the fabric to prevent perspiration odors. One of these products had Dow Chemical listed on the packaging. These chemicals are absorbed by the skin and then the body has eliminate the chemicals. Dow is the same company that gave the world Agent Orange that caused serious health effects including Parkinson’s Disease in thousands of people. Why is there so much cancer? Look to the chemical industry that is pumping out the poisons!

  8. In Jan of 2019 I bought Hanes underwear and used it for couple of days. I developed severe rash within a week.

    It started at the waist and spread to the groin and armpits, then to the ribs and back. It was very itchy and painful.

    I then went to see my doctor who could not figure out what caused this rash that looked like poison Ivy. We went over a laundry list of things that I wore, used or ate and could not come up with anything concrete, even though I mentioned to the Dr that I wore the new type of synthetic underwear from Hanes but he did not pay too much attention.

    I suffered with this rash for 6-8 weeks and tried all kinds of itch relieving lotions, soaps, ointments, etc but nothing worked.

    I then tried Almond Oil and it seemed to have done the magic and got the rash and itch under control within couple of days.

    I made the mistake of keeping those 3 underwear and last week I decided to try it out and see if the rash comes back. Believe it or not, it came back but is limited to the groin and armpit area.

    The almond oil is helping to relieve the itch and rash temporarily but it keeps coming back.

    Will see a dermatologist soon to see if he has any ideas and also call up Hanes customer support to find out if they are aware of any allergic reactions to their underwear, probably it is something in the elastic waist band that is triggering this rash.

    • thanks for sharing that info waggy!

      so sorry to hear that those hanes underwear caused a rash & allergic reaction, but glad you’ve narrowed down the root cause.

      have you switched to another type of underwear in the meantime?

      • Yes, I switched to other underwear brand.

        Hanes customer service sent me a check for $15 towards the cost of the underwear pack after I called and complained to them.

        I consulted a Dermatologist and showed him the washed underwear. He said the chemicals used in the elastic waist band probably caused the rash and Eczema and prescribed a steroid cream and OTC xyzal antihistamine tablets.

        The rash and eczema started in the waist area and then in the armpits.

        I am glad the rash and eczema have disappeared after 3-4 days of using the above cream and tablets but I still have to go back to the Dermatologist for allergy tests to find out the chemical, etc that triggers this nasty reaction from my immune system.

    • hey waggy,

      by chance do you know if the hanes underwear causing the rash had any special features?

      for example, was it branded as hanes freshiq, or anything similar?

  9. Heya Tug

    I’m almost certain that Melissa’s “system” is just fine and that the culprit is Formaldehyde, especially since she describes that strong smell.

    Formaldehyde is used to – among other things – make fabrics wrinkle-resistant (just like the dry-cleaner), reduce shrinkage and bind other chemicals to the fibers.

    There is a reason why e.g. Europe and Japan limit the Formaldehyde release from textiles to 300 PPM but for clothing in direct skin-contact to only 75 PPM.

    Tug is correct, there are natural ways to achieve a soft, strong and skin-friendly fabric and it all starts with top-quality fibers and yarns. Extra long staple cotton (such as homegrown Supima/Pima cotton) is more expensive but doesn’t need to be drenched in a toxic cocktail of chemicals to make up for inferior materials.

    Certain textile chemicals however don’t cause a visible or painful reaction yet are still absorbed through the skin and can cause long-term harm to our “system”.

    Just like skin-care products, next-to-skin textiles should be free from harmful chemicals or “hypoallergenic” (= relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction). Go hypoallergenic!

    Best, Ruedi

  10. Many of the new, “improved” t-shirts coming out these days claim to have special properties such as odor control, improved ability to remain a bright white color, or improved wicking characteristics (e.g Under Armour’s “charged cotton”, Jockey’s “STAYNEW technology”, Hane’s “FreshIQ”).

    Assuming a 100% cotton t-shirt, I don’t see how these things could be achieved without chemical agents in the fabric.


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