How to Make Cotton Denim Softer

Denim can be stiff and unforgiving. If it's new, it can be even more uncomfortable. Soften a denim jacket, jeans or other type of garment in just a few steps. Over time, repeated wear and washes will naturally soften your denim, but if you can't wait there are some things you can do to accelerate the process without hurting the fabric.

Soften stiff denim in the washer and dryer.

Step 1

Turn denim inside out before tossing it into the wash.  This will help protect the color of the fabric.

Step 2

Wash denim in cold water. 

Step 3

Add 3/4 c.  of white vinegar or 1/2 c.

of salt to the rinse cycle in lieu of fabric softener. 

Step 4

Place a few clean, new tennis balls into the dryer with your denim while the garments dry.  The balls will agitate the fabric and make it softer.

Step 5

Soak the denim overnight in two caps full of fabric softener.  Wash and dry as normal the next day.

Step 6

Repeat all or some of these steps if the denim isn't soft enough.  It may take more than one cycle to make the denim as soft as you want it to be.

Things You Will Need

  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • Tennis balls
  • Fabric softener

About the Author

Christi Aldridge has been writing professionally since 2009. She graduated from Texas Christian University, where she was a featured contributor for several campus publications and won an award for best columnist.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images