How to Make Lace Soft Instead of Stiff

by Sarah Vrba ; Updated September 28, 2017

Stiff fibers in lace are often caused by latent starch.

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The fine threads woven into lace can often irritate and rub our skin. Many lace fabrics are starched before they are constructed into garments to make the lace easier to work with. While the weaves of some laces will always have a rather stiff texture, many other types of laces only require a few washing techniques to soften and relax the fibers.

Rinse the lace in a sink full of cold water. Gently push and knead the fabric to release any of the initial starch left in the fabric.

Run a fresh sink of cold water and add 1/4 cup mild laundry detergent and 1/4 cup baking soda to the water. Mix the ingredients together until the baking soda is dissolved and the detergent is evenly distributed.

Wash the lace in this mixture. The baking soda will add softness to the garment while the detergent will wash away any residual starch. Always use gentle movements to refrain from warping the fibers in the lace. Ensure that the detergent and baking soda mixture soak into the fibers.

Rinse the lace in cold water to remove the excess detergent and baking soda. Place the lace on a clean, dry towel so that it lays flat and roll the towel up around the lace to remove the excess water.

Unroll the towel and remove the lace. Allow the lace to air dry on a flat, even surface for a few hours.


  • Wash white lace and colorful lace separately.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Sarah Vrba has been a writer and editor since 2006. She has contributed to "Seed," "AND Magazine," Care2 Causes and "202 Magazine," among other outlets, focusing on fashion, pop culture, style and identity. Vrba holds an M.A. in history with an emphasis on gender and fashion in the 19th century.