6 Easy Ways To Soften Denim Jeans | Alara Style

6 Easy Ways To Soften Denim Jeans

soften denim jeans

Denim jeans are super versatile and durable. However, this durability often results in stiffness. If you are looking at how to soften denim jeans then read on.

Denim jeans are a timeless piece in any wardrobe and are loved by many for their versatility and durability. But let’s be real – they can be pretty darn uncomfortable, especially when they’re new jeans! The good news? We’ve got plenty of tips and tricks for softening up those blue jeans and making them more comfortable. Whether you’re into natural remedies or DIY techniques, we’ve got you covered.

Why Do I Have Stiff Jeans?

Denim fabric is known for its stiffness, but the stiffness level can vary depending on the type of denim used. For instance, heavier weight denim tends to produce a more stiff and durable pair of jeans, while lighter weight denim may feel less rigid due to its flexibility. Additionally, higher-quality denim is typically made of pure cotton, which is naturally stiffer than cotton blends that incorporate synthetic fibers.

How To Soften Denim Jeans Naturally

If you are looking for different ways to break jeans in, .and don’t want to use harsh chemicals or treatments to soften them, you may want to consider a more natural approach. Softening your jeans naturally through regular wear and washing is a sustainable and gentle way to achieve a softer, more comfortable fit without compromising the quality or appearance of your denim.

TIP: These techniques can also be applied to soften other denim items, such as a denim jacket.

1) Use Salt In The Wash Cycle

salt on table with spoon
Photo: @acouplecooks

Most new jeans are stiff as a result of starch that is added during the manufacturing process. Washing your jeans with salt can help soften them and reduce this stiffness because the salt helps to break down the starch in the denim.

To do this, simply turn the jeans inside out, then add a cup of table salt to the wash cycle along with the regular detergent. This process can be multiple times, however to avoid shrinkage, wash with cold/ low heat.

The salt acts as an abrasive so if you are worried it will ruin your jeans, try soaking them in a warm salty solution for no longer than 60 mins.

TIP: If you don’t want to add salt to o=your wash cycle, fill a bucket with cold water and dissolve a cup of salt into it.

2) Use Baking Soda To Soften Stiff Jeans

baking powder
Photo: @clockworklemon

Just like the salt trick, baking powder is another great way to soften denim jeans. The acid helps to break down the starch in the denim fabric to make them feel softer (they are also a great way to eliminate odor!)

Start by adding about half a cup of baking soda to a bucket of cold water or your washing machine. Fully submerge your jeans in this baking soda solution. Ensure every part of the jeans gets soaked in the mixture. Allow your jeans to soak in this solution for several hours, or even overnight if possible. This duration allows the baking soda enough time to penetrate the fabric and soften it.

After the soaking time, wash your jeans in a regular cycle without any detergent. The baking soda from the soaking process should take care of any odors and grime. Then, let your jeans air dry.

TIP: Using cold water is always recommended for denim as it helps maintain the color and overall structure of the jeans.

3) Add Vinegar To The Rinse Cycle

vinegar next to jeans and tennis balls
Photo: @Byrdie

Adding vinegar to the rinse cycle can help to soften denim jeans by breaking down the starch in the denim fabric.

To soften jeans with vinegar, you can add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle in place of fabric softener. Although vinegar can have a strong smell, this should go away after the clothes dryer or after a second wash.

Start your regular wash cycle, washing your jeans with laundry detergent as you normally would. After the wash cycle, when it’s time for the rinse cycle, add one cup of white distilled vinegar into the washing machine.

Alternatively, you can give your jeans a vinegar soak with warm water and vinegar. Turn your jeans inside out and leave in this vinegar solution for 60 mins. Rinse with cold water then put them in the dryer on a low heat setting.

TIP: It’s important to use distilled white vinegar, as other types could potentially stain your jeans.

4) Stretch The Denim Fabric

woman sat on chair with white shirt and jeans
Photo: @Whowhatwear

Normal wear and tear will soften denim jeans over time but if you want to speed this up slightly then you can stretch the denim to help soften them. This helps to loosen the fibres and make them more comfortable to wear.

Either wash jeans as normal and while they are still damp, put them on. Or you can use your hands to manually stretch your jeans. Simply grab a portion of your damp jeans and pull gently. Be careful not to pull too hard, as this can cause the fabric to rip.

For more ways on how to stretch out jeans, click here!

Chemical Methods To Soften Denim Jeans

There are several ways to soften denim jeans and one of these ways is with chemicals. Lots of people way be frightened by the word ‘chemicals’, however these are all common household items!

5) Use Fabric Softener In Wash Cycle

washing machine and someone pouring liquid fabric softener
Photo: @insider

Adding liquid fabric softener to your wash is great to soften your everyday clothes, but they are also great as softening your jeans! For the softening process, simply add fabric softener into the wash cycle. Easy!

  1. Get a bucket of warm water

  2. Mix with in a generous amount of fabric softener.

  3. Add your jeans into the softening solution and let it sit for at least 30-60 mins.

  4. Drain and rinse with cold water, then add to a regular wash cycle and dry.

6) Applying Hair Conditioner To Jeans

wet jeans and bubbles
Photo: @goodhousekeeping

Hair conditioner isn’t just great at softening your hair, it also works great to soften denim jeans! Remember to use a basic conditioner for this, not one containing additional ingredients like silicones or proteins that might leave residues on your jeans.

  1. Get yourself a bucket or basin and will with warm water.

  2. Add a generous amount of hair condition to the water and mix well

  3. Turn your jeans inside out and let them soak for 30-60 mins

  4. Take the wet jeans and rinse with cold water or machine wash jeans

  5. Hang the jean to air dry, or put them in the dryer on a low heat setting

Precautions To Take When Softening Denim Jeans

You want to make sure you are careful when trying out different methods to soften denim jeans. You don’t want to damage your favourite pair of jeans so here are some precautions to keep in mind:

Avoiding Over-processing

wet jeans with bubbles
Photo: @batikindonesia

If you have let your jeans sit in a solution for too long and over bleached or over processed them, it can be very hard to restore them back to there original state. So if you are wanting to soften denim jeans with natural or chemical techniques, a good place to start is by testing a small area first. This way you can see how the method reacts with your jeans before committing to the whole fabric.

Checking The Label For Care Instructions

Denim care label
Photo: @hellolaundry

You want to make sure to check the care instruction of your jeans because these can vary across different denim fabrics. This can help ensure that you are following the best care methods for those specific jeans and therefore help to avoid any damages.

Being Careful With Chemical Treatments

person cleaning surface wearing blue glove
Photo: @uniquetonshots

If you are using chemicals to soften your denim jeans, not only do you want to avoid over processing, but you might need to take extra care to not irritate your skin. Make sure to wear protection such as gloves if needed.

Conclusion- How To Soften Denim Jeans

If you want to soften denim jeans then there are a variety of ways in which you can do it. However, the goal is to achieve more comfortable jeans so whether this is by natural or chemical methods, find the one that works best for you. From utilizing everyday household items like vinegar and baking soda to using hair conditioner, or even a good old stretch, softening your jeans has never been easier. Remember, the key to keeping your jeans soft and comfortable is regular maintenance and proper washing techniques

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