Removing Itchy Clothing Labels

Removing Itchy Clothing Labels

I'm not a Label-Lover. I'm not talking about Designer Labels; I refer to ANY clothing labels. I hate them. I can't bear the feeling of tags itching the back of my neck (or my sides), waist, or anywhere an offending label is attached to my clothing. I can honestly say that I prefer a hole in a garment to an irritation caused by an itchy tag.

Cut off tag

In the good old days, you could often reach back and yank that label right out with impunity. Not now. New regulations require clothing manufacturers to sew multiple layers of labels into garments, from material composition to place of origin and washing instructions in multiple languages. It's like a polyester deck of cards! Unfortunately, all this extra labeling means that many manufacturers offset that additional cost by sewing those labels into the seams of their garments. Ugh.

If you remove a label, you probably have a hole in your new garment, even before you've washed or worn it.

I’ve ripped holes into a surprisingly high percentage of my clothing, and since I neither own nor possess the talent to use a sewing machine, I’m forced to try and stitch it up with a needle and thread as best I can.
It's a problem.

I complained about this fact over drinks at a party recently, and 3 out of the four people I was talking to expressed similar frustration with their clothing tags.

"I thought it was just me!" 

In the interest of public sanity, we've decided to research and tell you the best way to remove itchy clothing labels with minimal damage.

First, figure out how the offending label is attached. If it's sewn directly into the seam of the garment, a seam ripper will likely create a hole.


In that case, there's nothing for it but to cut it out. Use magnifying glass (I don my trusty Peepers) and an intense task light. Make yourself a cup of tea and sit down because you'll be there awhile!


Get the sharpest, littlest scissors you can find, and cut as close to the seam as possible without cutting into it. Go s-l-o-w-l-y. In this situation, patience really is a virtue!

Be careful to avoid cutting into the fabric or the seam. This is my least favourite option, and there can be a sharp edge to the remaining tag, but, after a few washes, your labels will soften up a bit.  

On the other hand, if your label has easy-to-see stitching not sewn directly into a seam, you're in luck! Then, you can bust out the seam ripper.

It's generally best to start at the top right corner of a label. Push the tip of the seam ripper under one stitch. Ensure the seam ripper rests on top of the label rather than underneath it when you begin. Pull up, and your seam ripper will cut through the thread easily. Pulling the top stitches out first lessens the chance of an accidental tear in your clothing.

Removed label

Rip out several more stitches in a row. Move right to left as you work and pull the stitches out consecutively. Keep going until all of the stitching is gone.  

Use tweezers to pull out any loose or remaining thread. There will probably be a few stray threads embedded in your garment after you remove the label. Carefully tweeze them out, but make sure the threads are loose before attempting to yank them out.


Ahhhh. That feels better already. I regard every successful label removal as a personal victory. And for the less successful attempts: At least my needlework is improving!  

Xx, mlk