How to Soften Your Denim

Have you ever found the perfect pair of jeans, or that denim jacket that fit perfectly but it was just too stiff? Denim shirts and jackets are very trendy right now and one of the best places to find them is at a thrift shop, but the problem with this is that a lot of the time they are a heavy, stiff denim that doesn’t feel so nice against the skin. Lucky for us, there are some easy ways to soften those hard denim jeans and jackets so they are wearable, and have that softer worn look.


One of the easiest ways involves white vinegar, fabric softener and a washing machine. For this method you want to set the washer to the smallest load setting, on normal wash. You add a cup of the vinegar and twice the recommended amount of fabric softener. If you are doing jeans you want to turn them inside out and make sure that you only put items into the wash that you want to soften. You want to make sure that no other non-denim items get into this wash because they can get dyed blue since there is no soap.  An alternative to vinegar and fabric softener would be salt. You add a cup of salt to the wash and then run it the same way as before, and follow it up with a dry on low heat.

If you do the wash and you haven’t gotten the desired affect that you want then you can repeat the steps above, or try adding old, but clean sneakers into the washer and then into dryer. The sneakers help to loosen the fibers of the denim. It is possible that even after all of this washing that you may still want to make the denim even softer.


One thing that you can do to jeans after they are dry is to roll them into a tight bundle, stretching the fibers of the denim. You can leave them like this for 15 minutes before unrolling them. After that you can turn them inside out and take either a pumice stone or light sand paper to them, rubbing horizontally on the legs. This process breaks down some of the outer fibers, giving them the kind of wear that they would experience after prolonged wearing. If you want to give the jeans a distressed look on the outside you can rub them gentle the same way.  You might want to wash them again to get rid of the loose strands of fiber, but after all of that work your denim should have that soft feeling that you want.

Written By: Courtney White

Photo Sources: