How to Make T-Shirts Soft

Try to stay away from polyester-blend T-shirts, which easily pill and stain.
Try to stay away from polyester-blend T-shirts, which easily pill and stain. (Image: 2p2play/iStock/Getty Images)

Few articles of clothing can rival the comfort of a clean, soft T-shirt. Unfortunately, some T-shirts lose their softness over time or become rough after air-drying, but there are ways to make your shirts as soft as possible using fabric softener and your dryer. When clothes shopping, look for T-shirts made with combed cotton -- these T-shirts are usually the softest you can buy.

Things You'll Need

  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • Fabric softener ball, if applicable
  • Dryer sheets

Put your T-shirts in the washing machine on a warm water setting, and add the appropriate amount of laundry detergent.

Fill a fabric softener ball up to the fill line and drop it into the washing machine. Fabric softener balls work best in top-loading washers, so if you have a front-loading machine, simply add the instructed amount of fabric softener into the dispenser on the front of your washing machine.

Remove your T-shirts from the washing machine when the cycle is over and place them in the dryer. Add one dryer sheet into the dryer with your T-shirts.

Dry your T-shirts on low heat until they are completely dry. Using a dryer is one of the easiest ways to make your T-shirts as soft as possible; air-drying can leave your shirts rough and stiff.

Wear your T-shirts often. One of the best ways to create that lived-in feel is to wear and wash your T-shirts often to gradually break down the fibers.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are reluctant to use chemical fabric softeners, try baking soda instead. Apartment Therapy recommends adding 1 cup of baking soda to the water in your washing machine as an alternative to fabric softener.
  • Drying your T-shirts in the dryer will soften them, but it may cause shrinkage as well. If you are concerned about shrinkage, air-dry your T-shirts until they're nearly dry, and then put them in the dryer for five to 10 minutes.

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