DIY Guide on How to Soften a T-Shirt

If there is a proper synonym for t-shirts, it has to be versatility. From casual clothes to everyday companions, from classy accompaniments to fashion statements, from merchandise to pajamas, t-shirts are everywhere.

But why t-shirts?

The answer lies in comfort. T-shirts are quite literally the most comfortable piece of clothing present in anyone’s wardrobe.

However, like everything else, there is a flip side of the coin, and suddenly t-shirts are not so comfortable anymore, but rather, they are stiff, scratchy, and unstructured.

No need to worry, though! It is extremely easy to learn how to soften a t-shirt. And the best part is, you can complete the process by yourself.

Want to know more? Well, read on.

How To Soften A T-Shirt | Easiest Methods

Softening a t-shirt is easy. So, let’s get on with the processes you can implement.

Vinegar Mix

Vinegar wash is the ideal way to soften cotton t-shirts. And with vinegar being a pantry staple, it is also not very difficult.

To start, gather the necessary ingredients – vinegar, baking soda, and a few measurement spoons and cups. It is to be noted that the vinegar should be clear, as any other kind, i.e., red wine, apple cider, etc., will stain the fabric.

Take a large bowl and put in a tablespoon of baking soda. Measure out a cup of vinegar and slowly add it in. Make sure to trap most of the resulting fizz in the bowl.

Once the fizzing stops, stir and dissolve the rest of the baking soda.

Pour the vinegar and baking soda mixture on the t-shirt and wash well. Leave to dry.

Salt Solution

The salt solution is mainly used to soften cotton and polyester t-shirts.

Get a large pot, some salt, and water. Fill the pot with water, stir in a cup of salt and leave it on the stove to boil.

Take the t-shirt and wet it, then carefully submerge it into the solution. It is advisable to use a wooden spoon or something similar to avoid any accidents.

After the t-shirt is placed, turn the stove’s burner down to low and leave for around forty minutes. Make sure to keep the lid on the pot.

Once the time is up, carefully drain the t-shirt in a colander. Let it cool, and then wash the excess salt away.

Pumice Stone

Pumice stone is a pretty ingenious way to soften t-shirts. Because really, if it can scrub away dead skin cells, what is stopping it from smoothening rough patches of fabric?

It is also very simple to use. Just take a pumice stone and brush it all over the t-shirt. Soak in some water and fabric softener overnight. Run it through a normal wash cycle the next morning.

Scouring Pads

Scouring pads are a great way to soften printed t-shirts, as it does the work without ruining the ink or making the pigment bleed.

Grab some salt, powder detergent, and of course, the scouring pads. Tackle the neckline, sleeves, and hemline of the t-shirt with the pads and completely avoid every other area, especially the printed part.

Place the t-shirt in a cycle set to high heat and allow the water to fill. When the tub is almost filled, add in a cup of salt and a quarter cup of detergent. Allow the machine to go through one wash.

Dry the t-shirt on high heat, and repeat the entire process a few more times till soft enough.


Sandpaper is an alternative for scouring pads. So, in other words, sandpaper is also a way to soften printed t-shirts.

The method is pretty much the same as it is when scouring pads are used, except sandpaper is used instead.

Tumble Dry

Tumble drying is a preferable way to soften t-shirts as opposed to air drying. While air drying is a more eco-friendly solution, tumble drying is one for comfort.

So get the t-shirt and give it a normal wash with water and fabric softener. Leave it out till at least seventy percent of the fabric is dry. Place it in a machine set to low tumble dry. Add in a few tennis balls to work the fabric of the t-shirt. Take it out once done.

Continuous Wash

Continuous washing is probably the most foolproof way to soften t-shirts because what better way is there than time and multiple washes?


Is It Important To Soften T-shirts?

Yes, t shirt will be more comfortable to wear. Another thing, washed processed will remove harmful chemical used to treat fibers which could be harmful to our skin. 

How do you soften a scratchy t shirt

Run them through a regular wash including fabric softener. Finally dry them to about 60-70% dryness. 

What’s The Easiest Way To Soften A T-shirt?

Rub the t-shirt with a pumice stone all over the fabric. And then soak them to fabric softener with water overnight. Clean normally, now its Done !

What can I Use instead of Fabric Softener? 

Many  of us look for the best alternatives to fabric softeners that can offer the same benefits but without the harmful effects. Wool Dryer Balls, Baking Soda, Vinegar, Epsom Salt with Baking Soda, Essential Oils  Softener Crystas, Hair Conditioner Tennis Ball are the best alternative of fabric softener. 


And there you have it! A number of methods on how to soften a t-shirt all by yourself. Just find the one that works best for you and get to work.

It is important to remember that the methods require time and multiple attempts before they allow the fabric to show any noticeable change.

So do not feel discouraged if they do not work right away. Be patient and slowly but surely, they will give the t-shirts the comfortable feel you have been looking for.

So here’s to a pleasant t-shirt experience! Happy DIYing!

  • Jenelle
  • Updated November 20, 2021
Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: