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Repairing Tagging Gun or Safety Pin Holes

Have you found an adorable outfit, only to get it home and find a hole or two where the tag was attached with a safety pin or a tagging gun?  In many cases, those holes will close up with just a normal wash cycle and a few minutes in the dryer.  Occasionally, some patience and a little help from a couple of household items will save a shirt or dress from the rag pile.

You’ll need:

  • White vinegar
  • A paper towel
  • An iron & ironing board
  • A clean, light colored cloth
    (like a handkerchief or cotton t-shirt)


1. Pour white vinegar onto a paper towel until it is very damp, but not wringing wet.

2. Use the damp paper towel to test an inconspicuous area of your item for color-fastness. Dab it on an inside seam or hem.  If the color transfers to the paper towel as you blot the fabric, it is not colorfast.  Do not continue with this method. If there is no color transfer, you can proceed with the next step.

3. Use the wet paper towel to blot the garment on and around the holes.  The vinegar will plump up the threads in the fabric, making it easier to close the hole.

4. Scrub the damp area vigorously with a very soft bristled brush. Scrub the area around the hole for at least 30 seconds. This step will loosen and tangle the threads around the hole, helping it to close up.

5. Heat your clothing iron to a medium setting.

6. Lay the garment flat on an ironing board as a single layer and cover it with a clean, light-colored cloth.

7. Thoroughly iron the area with the cloth covering the area over the hole in your garment.   Repeat with each hole.

8. Turn the garment inside out and repeat steps 7 and 8.

This process may need to be done more than once, but it is usually successful with the first or second try.  Keep in mind that this method is not be suitable for all fabrics.  Do not use this method for silk, satin, taffeta or minky fabrics.

Prevent Tagging Gun Holes:

1. Always check with your sale to make sure tagging guns are acceptable.

2. Consider purchasing a fine fabric tagging gun, which has a smaller needle.  (Smaller needle means a smaller hole.)


3.  Tag through a seam in the garment or through the manufacturer’s tag only.    Do not tag in the tradition place where you attach a tag with a safety pin.

4. Never jeopardize the quality of your fabric to save a little time using a tagging gun.

5. If you buy an item that has a tag attached with a barb through the fabric, use scissors to cut the barb.  Do not pull it through the tag or fabric.

About the Author

Elizabeth Renfroe has a passion for all things consignment sale-related.  She enjoys coordinating the Children’s Market Sale at First United Methodist Church, Jacksonville, Alabama.


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