How to Make Heavy Denim Jeans Softer

by June Ramadhan

Softening your jeans shortens the breaking-in process.

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One of the greater downsides to buying jeans at affordable prices is that the denim is usually not as soft and comfortable as more expensive counterparts. Breaking the jeans in is not only uncomfortable for the wearer, but takes so long, the jeans are usually worn out before they're comfortable enough to enjoy wearing. Using a few of techniques and a bit of elbow grease, you can make your jeans comfortable in a short amount of time.

Items you will need

  • Washing machine
  • Detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • Vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Cola
  • Baking soda
  • Clothes dryer
  • Tennis balls or sneakers
  • Iron
  • Starch
  • Knife or scissors
  • Sandpaper or pumice

Wash the Jeans

Step 1

Remove all tags and stickers. Turn the jeans inside out.

Step 2

Set your washing machine to the cold setting. Add detergent, fabric softener and 1/2 cup salt to the water. The sodium in the salt will soften your jeans and help the dye set.

Step 3

Run the washer on the regular cycle. Vinegar, bleach, cola and baking soda will also help to soften fibers. Bleach will lighten your jeans and disintegrate the fibers, so use only if you don’t mind the distressed look. Exercise caution and moderation.

Heat the Jeans Up

Step 1

Throw your jeans in the dryer with tennis balls or a clean pair of sneakers. This creates resistance and beats the jeans, helping to “fluff” up the fibers as the material softens. Turn the heat up to make the fibers more pliable.

Step 2

Iron your jeans with a bit of starch. Use a formula that won’t reinforce stiffness. Steam the jeans as you iron. The moisture ensures that heat is distributed all the way through the denim.

Step 3

Rewash with hot water and salt but use caution. Hot water might remove some of the dye in darker pairs. Throw a pair of sneakers or tennis balls in the load to stimulate the material.

Roll the Jeans Up

Step 1

Thoroughly wet your jeans until soaking wet. Roll tightly and stick in the freezer until frozen. Let the jeans thaw at room temperature.

Step 2

Roll the legs of the jeans, pulling the fabric as tight as possible. Pound with a heavy object to crush the fibers soft. Leave the jeans rolled for an hour or until cool.

Step 3

Tie the jeans in a tight knot as another option. Pull the jeans, making sure the fabric is stretched tight.

Scrape the Jeans Soft

Step 1

Lay the jeans on a flat surface, inside out. Use a knife or a pair of scissors to scrape against the grain of the denim to remove some of the harsher fibers.

Step 2

Warm the jeans if you want to make them more pliable before scraping. Alternatively, use sandpaper or pumice to "sand" the interior of the jeans. This makes the jeans softer against your skin.

Step 3

Shake the jeans or toss in the dryer on fluff or no heat setting to remove the loosened fibers.

Tips

  • Wearing jeans also helps break them in.

Warnings

  • Be careful not to overdo any of the washing or scraping steps, as you can wear out the denim.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images