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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a number of T-shirts from the '80's which I can wear comfortably but any brand of shirt I try now bothers my skin to the point that I can't wear it. All my old ones are 100% cotton, off-the-rack name brands and not worn or washed a lot. I have to assume that the problem is with the cotton used now. Are there any manufacturers who still use old-style cotton?
 

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Old-style cotton? Cotton hasn't changed since...well forever.

Maybe it's the pesticides? Try shirts made with organic cotton.

Or, maybe your skin takes kindly to DDT, a now banned chemical which was used extensively in cotton back in the day. 馃檪 You'll have to go to India to still get those tees.
 

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Old-style cotton? Cotton has changed since...well forever.

Maybe it's the pesticides? Try shirts made with organic cotton.

Or, maybe your skin takes kindly to DDT, a now banned chemical which was used extensively in cotton back in the day. 馃檪 You'll have to go to India to still get those tees.
I would think that such chemicals were used back then, too.
 

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I assume you wash them before wearing? Maybe wash a few more times first. There is all sorts of chemical residue from the manufacturing and dying processes.

If you think it is more of a physical than a chemical issue, all I can suggest is combed ringspun cotton with a high thread count (at least 30). Examples would be Bella+Canvas 3001 and Next Level Apparel 3600.

All that said, an old shirt that has been washed that many times is going to be both soft and purged of chemicals. So again, maybe just need to wash the heck out of them before wearing. Also, you may have become sensitized over the years, but no way to know now if a virgin old shirt would bother you.
 

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I assume you wash them before wearing? Maybe wash a few more times first. There is all sorts of chemical residue from the manufacturing and dying processes.

If you think it is more of a physical than a chemical issue, all I can suggest is combed ringspun cotton with a high thread count (at least 30). Examples would be Bella+Canvas 3001 and Next Level Apparel 3600.

All that said, an old shirt that has been washed that many times is going to be both soft and purged of chemicals. So again, maybe just need to wash the heck out of them before wearing. Also, you may have become sensitized over the years, but no way to know now if a virgin old shirt would bother you.
Yes, I have washed the news ones many times, soaked them in vinegar for days, soaked them in salt, used sandpaper and pumice--anything I could think of. Nothing works. So I doubt it is a chemical issue. The old shirts weren't worn and washed very much, hence they're still being good shape after all this time. I really think it's the actual cotton fiber that is the culprit.

I tried a Land's End Supima polo which I can manage, but then I tried one of their Supima tees and I can't wear it. I've tried all sorts of modern brands across the board. Maybe organic ringspun (organic farming--unless it's a small family farm--uses chemical pesticides anyway, just fewer)--but these tend to be prohibitively expensive. But I'm tired at this point at wasting money on clothing I can't wear!
 

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Yes, I have washed the news ones many times, soaked them in vinegar for days, soaked them in salt, used sandpaper and pumice--anything I could think of. Nothing works. So I doubt it is a chemical issue. The old shirts weren't worn and washed very much, hence they're still being good shape after all this time. I really think it's the actual cotton fiber that is the culprit.

I tried a Land's End Supima polo which I can manage, but then I tried one of their Supima tees and I can't wear it. I've tried all sorts of modern brands across the board. Maybe organic ringspun (organic farming--unless it's a small family farm--uses chemical pesticides anyway, just fewer)--but these tend to be prohibitively expensive. But I'm tired at this point at wasting money on clothing I can't wear!
Well, one difference between the cotton of the 1980s and now, is that now it is virtually all GMO. So rather than spraying pesticide on the cotton, the cotton plant is engineered to produce pesticide itself and incorporate it into itself. That ain't gonna wash off 馃憰

"Bt cotton has been genetically modified by the insertion of one or more genes from a common soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis. These genes encode for the production of insecticidal proteins, and thus, genetically transformed plants produce one or more toxins as they grow. "

"Genetically engineered seeds have accounted for the majority of cotton acres since 2000, expanding from 61 percent of acreage that year to 96 percent in 2020 "

It is, of course, supposed to be perfectly safe. Remember that guy from Monsanto or Dow, or whichever, that took DDT pills along with his family to show what confidence he had in the product? :eek:

Organic cotton cannot be GMO, so that might be your best bet all around. Though, reality is that many crops are cross-contaminated if the seed crop itself was unintentionally pollinated by GMO pollen. Monsanto, and the like, was in the habit (maybe still is) of suing farmers who had the audacity to grow plants that had been contaminated via wind and bees by pollen from GMO crops. But, yes, organics use "natural" pesticides ... derived from things that some plant or critter (or soil bacterium or mold) used.

If I had to guess, I'd say your issue is the GMO Bt cotton, as it is now almost inescapable, and absolutely did not exist back in the 1980s. Bt pesticide did exist, but not endemically grown inside the crop itself as with GMO seeds.

Any food crops bother you? Most corn is Bt GMO.
 

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NoXid is right as rain, it is gmo cotton (india won't help, they are gmo cotton there too)

now they have Bt resistant weeds, so they still spray, but pick weeds by hand too (back to the future)

you could try hemp tee's, and see if it makes a difference
 

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I have a number of T-shirts from the '80's which I can wear comfortably but any brand of shirt I try now bothers my skin to the point that I can't wear it.
It's not DDT and it's not GMO cotton.
The problem is that these days pure 100% cotton is nearly impossible to find.
Fabric manufacturers modify natural fabrics with wrinkle resistance treatments (either a coating, or a cross-linking treatment).
You can try organic cotton or hemp, but if wrinkle resistant, those are also treated.
 
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