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How to Soften Fabric: Ultimate Guide

How to Soften Fabric: Ultimate Guide

Putting on clean, soft, and fresh-smelling clothes is a wonderful way to start the day. But clothes can lose their shape and become stiff over time. Well, say goodbye to stiff clothes and say hello to soft clothes for your whole family. The experts at Snuggle® are here to explain how to soften fabric. We’ve also put together some useful tips on how to make clothes softer and keep that Snuggly Softness® lasting longer.

How to Soften Fabrics

Soft and comfortable fabrics are a must-have in any home, but over time, they can become stiff and rough to the touch. The good news is, there are several simple steps you can take to soften up your favorite fabrics.

How to Soften Cotton Fabric

Cotton is a durable and versatile fabric that is used in a variety of clothing and household items, like linens, shirts, and tablecloths.

  • Line Dry: Hang your cotton fabric outside to air dry in the sun and breeze. This can help prevent any roughness caused by the heat of the dryer and keep your cotton clothing, like t-shirts, feeling soft.
  • Don't Overload the Washer: Overloading the washer can prevent the cotton fabric from agitating properly, leading to stiffness. To ensure your fabric is washed evenly, wash it in smaller loads.
  • Use Warm Water: Hot water can damage the fibers in your cotton fabric and make them feel rough. Instead, use warm water to help break down any soap residue and keep the fibers soft.
  • Avoid High Heat: Exposing your cotton fabric to high heat can damage the fibers and make them feel stiff. Instead, dry your cotton shirts or fabrics on a low heat setting and remove them from the dryer as soon as they are dry.

How to Soften Jeans

Jeans are a staple in most wardrobes, but they can feel stiff and uncomfortable when new.

  • Wash Them with Fabric Softener: Add fabric softener to the washing cycle when washing your jeans. This will help break down the fibers and make them feel softer.
  • Wear Them: Sometimes the best way to soften up your jeans is simply to wear them. The natural movement and friction from your body can help break down the fibers and make them feel softer over time.

How to Soften Towels

Towels are meant to be soft and absorbent, but over time, they can become stiff and scratchy. Follow these tips to restore some of their original softness.

  • Shake Them Out: Before folding and storing your towels, give them a good shake to fluff up the fibers and remove any stiffness. This simple step can make a big difference in the softness of your towels.
  • Don't Overload the Washer: Ensure your towels are cleaned properly by washing them in smaller loads. When washing your towels, leave room in the drum for proper agitation to avoid fiber stiffness.
  • Avoid High Heat: Instead of damaging fibers by exposing your towels to high heat in the dryer, dry your towels on a low heat setting, tumble dry, or let them air dry.

How to Soften Sweaters

Sweaters are a cozy and warm addition to any wardrobe, but they can feel itchy and uncomfortable when new.

  • Air Dry Flat: After washing your sweater, avoid wringing or twisting it to get rid of excess water. Instead, lay it flat on a clean, dry towel and let it air dry. This can help prevent stretching and keep the fibers intact, resulting in a softer feel.
  • Use a Fabric Shaver: Over time, sweaters can develop pilling or tiny balls of fibers on the surface. Using a fabric shaver can help remove these pills and restore a smoother, softer surface to your sweater.
  • Steam: If your sweater feels stiff or rough after washing, you can use a handheld steamer to help loosen up the fibers. Hold the steamer a few inches away from the sweater and move it back and forth to evenly distribute the steam. Be sure to let the sweater dry completely before wearing.

How to Soften Fleece

Avoid the stiff feeling of a new fleece blanket or sweater by trying out these tips:

  • Use a Fabric Softener: Add fabric softener to the wash cycle when washing your fleece. This will help break down the fibers and make them feel softer.
  • Tumble Dry: Place your fleece garment in the dryer and tumble dry on a low heat setting with a clean, dry towel. The towel will help to fluff up the fleece fibers and make them feel softer.
  • Wash with Like Fabrics: Fleece should be washed with similar fabrics, such as polyester or microfiber, to prevent friction and maintain its softness. Avoid washing fleece with heavy fabrics, like denim or towels, as they can cause pilling and roughen the surface of the fleece.
  • Don't Iron: Ironing fleece can damage the fibers and cause them to flatten, making the fleece feel rough. Avoid ironing your fleece garments to help maintain their softness.

How to Soften Sheets

Whether you want to soften new sheets you have just purchased or want to keep your bed sheets feeling soft for a long time, follow these tips:

  • Wash Regularly: Regular washing can help break down the fibers in your sheets and make them feel softer over time. Wash your sheets once a week using a mild detergent and warm water.
  • Line Dry: Similar to cotton fabrics, line drying your sheets can help prevent any roughness caused by the heat of the dryer and keep them feeling soft. Hang them outside to air dry in the sun and breeze.
  • Use Low Heat: High heat can damage the fibers in your sheets and make them feel rough. To keep your sheets feeling soft, dry them on a low heat setting and remove them from the dryer as soon as they are dry.

How Does Fabric Softener Work to Soften Clothing?

The textile industry used the first fabric softeners in the early 20th century to make the dying process less harsh. These first softeners were formulated with tallow, corn, or olive oil to add a lubricating layer to fibers.

Today’s fabric softeners have come a long way. Far more advanced, the fabric conditioners you can find today include sophisticated components that work together to keep clothes feeling soft, not feeling stiff, and smelling fresh. Here are just a few:

  • Conditioners: Conditioning agents do two things to prevent stiff clothes. They lubricate fabrics to make them feel soft and bind to negatively charged fibers to prevent static cling.
  • Emulsifiers: We all know that oil and water do not mix. Emulsifiers are used to get around this problem and ensure that fabric softeners work in your washing machine and reach every fiber in your clothes.
  • Fragrances: Clothes should smell as good as they feel. Fabric softeners ensure that they do with fragrances that add a wonderful aroma while they soften and protect your clothes.

Using Fabric Softener to Soften Your Clothes

Snuggle has a wide range of fabric softeners and dryer sheets that have been developed to help make sure that your clothes stay as soft and fresh as the day you bought them. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets can be used in combination with each other for optimal results.

Here are a few Snuggle products to consider using for softening your fabrics:

  • SuperCare: Snuggle® SuperCare fabric softeners keep clothes looking newer longer. These fabric conditioners protect your families’ clothes with specially formulated technology that prevents wear & tear and color fading. With scents like Lilies and Linen and Sea Breeze and long-lasting freshness, you will be snuggly soft.
  • Snuggle® UltraSnuggle® Ultra Blue Sparkle® Fabric Softener gives your family's laundry that little extra boost of Snuggly Softness®. With a fresh and clean scent of white floral and green citrus, Our Blue Sparkle® creates a comforting, long-lasting freshness. Snuggle® Ultra Sensitive Hypoallergenic Fabric Softener is dermatologist-tested and gentle on sensitive skin types. Your family can enjoy the special touch of Snuggly Softness® with hypoallergenic fresh scents.
  • Exhilarations: If your family loves fresh fragrances, the Snuggle Exhilarations line could be just what you are looking for. Go beyond the classic scents and explore aromas like Island Hibiscus & RainflowerBlue Iris & Ocean Breeze and Lavender & Vanilla Orchid Exhilarations products are available in liquid fabric softener, dryer sheets, and scent booster pacs. Our In-Wash Freshness Booster beads have odor fighting technology and infuse laundry with extraordinary freshness that lasts up to 100 days!**out of storage
  • SuperFresh: With its specifically formulated technology, Snuggle® Plus SuperFresh® liquid fabric softeners don’t just mask odors – they work to eliminate them. Replace the bad pet and body odor smells with fresh scents like Spring Burst and Violet Breeze and snuggle up close with your family while enjoying long-lasting freshness.

6 Fabric Softening Tips

reading laundry care symbols

Fabric softener must be added to your laundry during the rinse cycle. If you add it with the laundry detergent, it will be washed away along with the dirt. Here are a few more laundry tips for great results:

  • Tip 1. Check fabric care labels: Before you toss your clothes into the washer, check the labels to make sure they are machine washable. Pay particular attention to the labels on flame-resistant and performance clothes as they may not be compatible with some laundry products. For example, instructions for softening cotton fabric may be different than for softening blankets.
  • Tip 2. Consider Dosage: Shake the closed Snuggle® bottle, open the bottle and measure to the desired amount. If you are using a fabric softener for the first time, check the back of the bottle for instructions. Remember never to pour fabric conditioner directly onto clothing.
  • Tip 3. Front-loader washing machines: If you have a front-loading washing machine, you can pour a liquid fabric softener into the dispenser and your machine will know just when to add it.
  • Tip 4. Top-loader washing machines: In top-loaders, the dispenser is typically found in the center column. Measure, pour Snuggle® into the top of the dispenser add, and start your wash!
  • Tip 5. Use a softening dryer sheet: Try using a dryer sheet that features fabric softening benefits. Snuggle® Blue Sparkle® dryer sheets are made to freshen, soften, control static, and help reduce wrinkles.

Fabric Softener for Hand-Washing Clothes

hand-washing clothes

If you think fabric softener can only be used in a washing machine, think again. Snuggle’s amazing range of fabric softeners can also be used to keep your delicate clothes soft and fresh. Here is how you soften fabric when you hand wash:

  • Hand wash: Drop your delicate items into soapy water and gently swirl them around with your hand. Softly scrub if needed.
  • First rinse: Remove your soapy clothes and then drain and refill the sink or tub with cool water. Then swirl your clothes around to remove the soap.
  • Dilute fabric softener: Dilute a small amount of fabric softener in a cup or glass of water.
  • Second rinse: Drop your clothes into clean water, and then move them to one side so you can add the fabric softener. Then stir your clothes in the water for a few minutes to help the fabric softener do its magic.
  • Wring: The last step is removing your clothes from the water and then wringing them gently.

Related Articles

  • How to Use Fabric Softener in a Top Loader

    Depending on the type of washing machine you have, adding fabric softener can differ. Read on to find out how to use fabric softener in a top loader. 

  • How to Prevent Your Clothes from Color Fading

    Are your freshly washed clothes coming out of the laundry stiff? Read on to learn how to soften fabric and keep it feeling soft long after washing. 

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Products Recommended In This Article

  • Snuggle® Blue Sparkle® Fabric Softener

  • Snuggle® Island Hibiscus & Rainflower® Fabric Softener

  • Snuggle® SuperFresh® Spring Burst® Fabric Softener