Dress for Success: A Clothing Blog

How To Keep Your Tee Soft — Or Resoften It

by Clifford Fowler

When you buy a men's ultra soft flowy tee, it feels so lovely against your skin. Of course you want it to stay that way forever — soft and pliable. However, if you just toss the shirt in the wash with any other clothing, using standard soap and a standard wash cycle, it will more than likely become rougher and less flexible over time. How do you go about keeping your soft tee nice and soft? And can you restore it to its original texture once it does become stiff and rough? Take a look at what we have to say.

Keeping Your Tee Soft

There are a couple of things that cause a tee shirt to roughen up overtime. One is mineral deposits from hard water. Another is soapy residue. A third is shrinking and bending of the fabric fibers due to over-drying. If you want to keep a shirt soft, you basically need to avoid these three things.

Make sure that if you have hard water, you are using a water softener. If you already have a water softener, ensure that the water that goes to your washing machine actually passes through it. If it does not, you will want to have a plumber come re-route the pipes coming into your washing machine.

Use a high-quality laundry soap and fabric softener, which are less likely to leave residue on your clothing. Every couple of washes, add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse water. This will dissolve any soapy residue before it gets a chance to thicken.

Dry your shirts on low, and make sure you turn the dryer off as soon as they are dry. 

Fixing a Rough Shirt

If the shirt is rough due to over-drying, you're stuck; there's not much you can do about it. On the other hand, if the shirt is rough due to soap or mineral buildup, there is a solution.

Soak the rough-textured tee shirt in a mixture of one part vinegar to one part water for about an hour. Ring it out, and then wash it well. Add another cup of vinegar to the rinse water. Keep adding vinegar to the rinse water the next few times you wash the shirt. You should notice that it softens up. Also make sure you change whatever factors led to the shirt's roughening. Either add a water softener to your setup or switch to a better laundry soap.

You can keep your ultra-soft tee shirts soft; you just have to put in a little effort.