Dry Rot

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jimmyj
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Re: Dry Rot

Post by jimmyj » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:02 am

Knock curing off the list - I just watched a screen printing video - it looks like they focus the heat on the design only. I assumed the whole tee was put under lamps. So if it was over curing - it would probably only be the fabric around the design.

I think the something in the dye that corrodes the fabric over time seems like the best theory thus far!

Is it strictly 90s? Strictly black tees? share you experiences. Together we can wipe out dry rot. Actually, no we can't but at least we can figure out why it happens.

Oh, one thing to add - there's a very distinctive smell to these tees - so if you're buying, sniff 'em and tug at em.

Demo video here: http://www.youtube.com/embed/FiPP5UIC6Xg
Jimmy J
skippyhaha
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Re: Dry Rot

Post by skippyhaha » Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:41 pm

i had my first experience with a shirt that disintegrates and can be torn like paper last month.

picked up a deadstock michael bolton 1991 black t-shirt with a hanes tag at the thrift store. it was very thin. it started disintegrating onto the other shirts next to it in the bag. i tried to soak it in white vinegar (cigarette smoke smell) and when i picked it up from the sink it was shredded! like a pile of black shreds.

very interesting comments above, i'll watch this thread for more info!
timetraveltees
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Re: Dry Rot

Post by timetraveltees » Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:49 pm

I heard from one of my suppliers this week that had to dump about 600 black deadstock concert tees because they were all dry rotted, he's saying that there's some kind of dye/chemical on black tees specifically that needs to be washed off. It comes off naturally in the first couple of washes naturally but I guess if it doesn't get washed it corrodes over time and then it's too far gone which would explain the smell/feel/texture since the shirt has essentially just wasted away because the chemical was allowed to just sit there. So I think that's enough corroboration for me to call it basically case closed as to what the cause is. If there was some genius out there that could reverse the spell that would be something but I think that's only possible in a fantasy world.

Curing may still play a part in it but who knows for sure. Although in my experience, I grew up hanging out with friends whose dad ran a t-shirt shop and back then at least they cured them on something that essentially looked like a small/short pizza oven type deal. It had like a conveyer belt and he would put the shirts on the belt and they would go through one cycle and pop out the other side into a box. So it wasn't targeted curing at least in that respect. And I had some shirts made a while back at another t-shirt store and they did the same thing so I think that's still common. I think if you're doing them at home you just cure them with the lamp deal but in the industrial mass-produced world where these shirts come from I'd imagine they're all being done on this conveyer belt scenario. Again, who knows if it has anything to do with it at all but just another part of the puzzle I guess
jimmyj
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Re: Dry Rot

Post by jimmyj » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:08 pm

Yeah seems like the black ink effecting the integrity of the fabric is the best explanation.

Did he say what year they were?

Perhaps one ink manufacturer experimented with a new formula in the early 90s - then realized the issue and removed it.
Jimmy J
timetraveltees
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Re: Dry Rot

Post by timetraveltees » Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:48 pm

That could be possible, it would make sense if it was a different formula or something. I guess it's hard to pin down the exact years that seem to be affected but I know I got some of the same ones that he knew were dry rotted and they were New Kids on the Block shirts from probably 1990-92 so that seems consistent with what we're seeing overall, that GNR shirt is probably early 90s as well right? The tags on mine were Hanes 50/50, the square red/white/blue one. Don't know if it's isolated to those few years or if you guys have had experience with shirts before then too
jimmyj
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Re: Dry Rot

Post by jimmyj » Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:04 pm

Yeah seams all early 90s. GNR was 92. 100% cotton. And now that you've said it happened with 50/50...anyone else please chime in with dates! Any before 91 or after 92...we will be able to pin down the timeframe and develop a time machine.
Jimmy J
waxandthreads
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Re: Dry Rot

Post by waxandthreads » Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:54 pm

This is why I love this forum!! Thanks for the input TTT.
.
Had another dry rot shirt today. 1991, NOS and black. At least it was only Rod Stewart.... but I did rip it to shreds doing a sexy strip tease for some very uninterested female co-workers. Goodbye Vagabond Heart, Hello sexual harassment case.
timetraveltees
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Re: Dry Rot

Post by timetraveltees » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:43 am

Actually you know what, I misspoke, I meant that it was the Hanes red white and blue tag, but it was actually a 100% cotton version. Do we have anyone that has had it happen to a 50/50 shirt? Could be close to nailing down this sucker once and for all if it's just happening to nothing but black and 100% cotton from those few years.
jimmyj
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Re: Dry Rot

Post by jimmyj » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:06 am

Funny - in my shipment of GNR came a really weird tee. It's a whitesnake design on the front, and david bowie back (I'll post it shortly.) A part of it tore a little bit - and I thought uh oh, another one of these. But it wasn't consistently brittle - only ripped in a few parts, under the arm and a bit on the chest.

I just examined it again - it's a Spring Ford 50 50. It's see through - almost as if it's been washed many times, but it's deadstock.

And there's a black residue that comes from it.

I wonder if it's possible that the dye killed the cotton content only? Isn't that basically how threadbare tees come to be? the natural fibres wear thin over, wear, washes and dries?

This one is from 87 though.

If the dye has an effect on cotton it would have to effect 50 50 tees too.

Let's just keep reporting the years and fabric content of 'em. Hopefully we can rule out it happening to W&T's deadstock fort knox.
Jimmy J
blancobros
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Re: Dry Rot

Post by blancobros » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:17 am

I always thought some chemical in the finishing process was the culprit.
My dad would always make wash any new clothing we got growing up before we wore them. He knew someone who would break out in a rash/hives if they wore something without washing it first.

Also, many items have to be fumigated when being imported into the United States. I've worked in retail for many years. You could always tell which boxes came direct from the overseas manufacturer and which ones were repacked once they entered the US.
The smell of the overseas boxes had such a strong, distinct scent when you first open them. Sometimes it was so overpowering, we would leave the box to air out behind the store for a half hour or so.
In the case of NOS items, since the fumigation chemicals were never washed off, maybe they eventually cause clothing to disintegrate?
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