How to Soften a T-Shirt?

One of the many advantages of cotton is that it’s soft to the touch, but sometimes new shirts can be a little stiff. There are a few ways to soften them up, so they’re more comfortable to wear. But how do I soften a t-shirt more quickly since it can take some t-shirts a bit to break in?

T-shirts can be softened using fabric softener, but the process can be time-consuming. Using items you already have at home, there are quick and simple ways to soften a t-shirt. Your t-shirts can be softer with tumble drying, vinegar, salt, scouring pads, and a pumice stone.

Why Should I Soften a T-Shirt?

Making a t-shirt more comfortable is one of the main reasons to soften it.

Another benefit of softening a t-shirt is that it can give a vintage appearance, which is wonderful if you often have a vintage-inspired wardrobe. Also, softening a t-shirt can increase its breathability by allowing more air to travel through and circulate more freely, thanks to the pores in the fabric being opened up.

The fact that many types of clothes, including t-shirts, are frequently treated with chemicals to preserve them during shipment or make them more resistant to specific elements is another reason why you might want to soften them. Softening the new t-shirt, gets rid of some of these chemicals as some of them may irritate the skin.

How to Soften a T-Shirt?

You can soften your shirt in various ways to give it the look and feel of a well-used t-shirt without really wearing it. Some individuals prefer to age their shirts without causing damage, making this a very popular method.

You can try all of these DIY hacks at home with only a few common supplies and methods.

1. Fabric Softener

Using fabric softener in the washer is one of the simplest ways to soften a t-shirt. However, it can take some time, or at least a few washing, for the fabric to get softer. Additionally, as was already said, some persons may have allergies or other sensitivities that prevent them from using chemical fabric softeners. Fabric softener can also make some materials less pleasant due to the way it coats the fibers.

2. The Vinegar Wash

We typically associate vinegar with cleaning, but it may also be used as a natural way to soften t-shirts. Vinegar is a common home item. This technique works best with fabrics that are either 100% cotton, organic cotton, or a cotton-based blend.

  • You should start with clear vinegar. Avoid using red wine or apple cider because they can leave stains on your shirt. 
  • Prepare a few measuring spoons and cups, as well as baking soda.
  • Place one tablespoon of baking soda in a very large bowl.
  • Add one cup of vinegar gradually so that most of the fizz stays in the bowl. Give the mixture a vigorous toss once the fizzing has subsided to ensure that all the baking soda has dissolved.
  • After that, add your t-shirt and the baking soda and vinegar solution to your washing machine, and give it a thorough usual rinse.
  • Finally, dry as usual and revel in your softer t-shirt!

3. The Pumice Stone

This method is clever and relatively easy to use. Moreover, it doesn’t require any liquids, in contrast to the ones mentioned above:

  • First, thoroughly scrub your t-shirt, including the sleeves and hem with a pumice stone.
  • After that, soak the t-shirts overnight in a mixture of fabric softener and a few teaspoons of water.
  • Finally, wash it normally the following morning, and there you have it!

4. Tumble Dry

Your t-shirts may occasionally be overly stiff since you air-dried them. Drying your t-shirts on a line or rack is far more environmentally friendly and keeps their quality over time.

Follow these quick and simple instructions to make your scratchy or stiff t-shirts more comfortable.

  • First, put them through a regular wash cycle with fabric softener as you normally would.
  • After that, hang on the line to dry it until they are roughly 60–70% dry.
  • Finally, place them in a low-heat tumble dryer. Tennis balls can also be added to the mix if you want to really “beat” the fabric kinks out.
  • Your t-shirts won’t be stretched out by using this method to soften them.

Tip: If you have a soap allergy, you might want to try this method: wash your stiff t-shirts in the washing machine on the warm wash/cold rinse cycle. Then, in place of your customary replacement, use 1 cup of non-fat “dry” milk (evaporated). Dry your clothing on delicate in the tumbler. 

5. The Salination Method

Another simple DIY method you may make at home is the saltwater solution. Just make sure your pot is big enough, such as a pasta pot or Dutch oven.

This process should make your shirt considerably softer, but it is only suitable for cotton and polyester blends; it is not suitable for rayon.

  • First, add one cup of salt and one cup of water to the saucepan. To make sure it dissolves, stir it in.
  • The water should then be brought to a boil by placing your pot on the stove and increasing the heat.
  • Then, carefully dip your t-shirt into the solution after thoroughly wetting it under the sink. Make sure the hot water doesn’t burn your hand.

6. The Scouring Pads

The abrasive nature of the scouring pad helps to break down the fabric fibers, making them softer and more pliable. In addition, the scouring pad will help to remove any build-up of sweat or body oils that may be causing the shirt to feel stiff. To use this method, simply wet the scouring pad and rub it over the shirt in a circular motion. Be sure to focus on areas that seem particularly rough or stiff. Once you have finished scrubbing, rinse the shirt in cold water and air dry. You should notice a significant difference in the softness of the fabric.

How to Soften a Screen Printed Shirt?

The scouring pad approach or fine-grit sandpaper are the two best ways to soften a screen-printed garment. However, how you use it depends on whether you want the garment itself to be softer or if you also want the print to be.

Use the scouring pad or sandpaper as directed above to make only the shirt softer. If you don’t want to remove some of the print, simply stay away from it. Run the fine-grit sandpaper lightly over the printed area to soften it (it can frequently feel stiff). If you’re overly rough, it can scratch portions of the print off.

After that, wash the shirt in warm water with your regular detergent and some fabric softener or vinegar. Dry it on a line until moist, then finish drying it in a low-heat tumble dryer.

How Are T-Shirts Made to Look Vintage?

A scouring pad or piece of sandpaper can also be used to make t-shirts appear old, especially if they feature a logo. The best technique to obtain the vintage effect is to soften the t-shirt and degrade the logo.

Run the pad over the clothing, paying specific attention to the collar and sleeve areas. When you get to the logo, you can choose how much distressing you want to apply, however more distressing will be applied if you use greater force or coarser grit sandpaper.

Afterward, combine salt and washing powder in the same manner as described previously, and wash the shirt in hot water. When the machine fills up with water, don’t forget to add salt and washing powder. If the clothes can handle it, tumble and dry them at either a high or low temperature. Depending on how vintage you want the shirt to seem, repeat the process a couple of times.

Final Tips

These clever tricks can help you save a ton of time and money.

But keep in mind that you might have to repeat some of these processes with your t-shirts to get the softness you want.

Also, keep in mind that these techniques should not be used on materials intended for athletic performance. You probably won’t need any of these techniques because synthetic fabrics are naturally pliable and soft. Check out this post to delve even further into the world of blank clothing and discover which shirts are the softest.

Natural materials like cotton and rayon are made for durability, which is why they create the best t-shirts. Of course, you might need to soften them first, so there is a trade-off.

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