How to Get Jeans to Stop Being Stiff

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Wearing your jeans while hanging out helps soften the fibers.
Wearing your jeans while hanging out helps soften the fibers. (Image: Photos.com/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Purchasing new jeans makes you feel fashionable, but wearing new jeans can make you feel itchy and irritated. Denim is a naturally stiff, rough fabric, but chemical treatments at the factory, pumice stone tumbling and certain dyeing processes make some jeans softer than others before they even reach the merchandise shelves. Softening jeans requires attention and care, as many incorrect softening methods, such as repeated washing and drying, will ruin your new pants.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric softening sheets
  • Fabric softener
  • 4 spiked drying balls

Wash your jeans using cold wash and cold rinse water temperatures on a gentle wash cycle. The gentle agitation of the machine softens your jeans by breaking down the stiff denim fibers. An initial wash helps remove chemicals sprayed during shipping and processing, but afterward, avoid washing your jeans more than twice a year.

Add a tablespoon of fabric softener to the dispenser of the washing machine during the rinse cycle. Skip this step if your washing machine does not have a dispenser, as pouring fabric softener right on your denim will cause discoloration.

Air-dry your jeans away from sunlight until completely dry. Drying your jeans in the air instead of the dryer helps preserves the color and fit. Once your jeans are completely dry, toss them into the dryer on the low-tumble setting with three or four spiked drying balls for five minutes. The spiked balls loosen the tight denim fibers without the damaging heat of a full drying cycle.

Wear your jeans often and move around in them. Your favorite worn jeans are just that -- worn. Wearing stiff jeans regularly loosens and stretches the denim fibers, making them soft and comfortable.

Rub an unused dryer sheet over your stiff jeans. Turn your pants inside out and repeat on the opposite side. Prevent skin irritation or allergic reactions by using a brand and scent of dryer sheet you know has no affect on your skin.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult the care instructions specific to your brand and wash of jeans so you don't accidentally ruin them while softening the material.

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