light green sweatshirt

How to Make Sweatshirts Soft Again

Picture this: a chilly evening, a hot cup of tea in hand, and the embrace of a soft, velvety sweatshirt that feels like a warm hug.

There’s nothing quite like the comforting touch of a well-loved sweatshirt, but over time, even the cosiest of garments can lose their softness.

In this article, we’re here to guide you on a journey to revive the luxurious softness of your sweatshirts and bring back that delightful snuggle factor.

From understanding the causes of stiffness to choosing the right washing techniques and exploring natural fabric softeners, we’ve got you covered.

So, if you’re ready to reclaim the plushness of your favourite sweatshirts, grab your laundry basket and let’s dive in!


Why Do Sweatshirts Lose Their Softness?


When it comes to the stiffness of sweatshirts, several factors can contribute to the gradual loss of their soft and cosy texture.

By understanding these causes, you can take proactive steps to revive their plushness and bring back that delightful snuggle factor.

Here are the primary culprits:

Frequent washing and drying

Sweatshirts are prone to stiffness when subjected to frequent washing and drying cycles. The agitation and high temperatures can cause the fibres to become stiff and lose their natural softness.

Over time, this repeated exposure to mechanical stress can lead to a noticeable decline in the overall texture.


Use of harsh detergents and fabric softeners

The choice of detergents and fabric softeners also plays a significant role in maintaining the softness of your sweatshirts.

Harsh detergents with strong chemicals can strip away the natural oils and protective coating of the fabric, leaving it feeling rough and stiff.

Similarly, certain fabric softeners may leave a residue that can contribute to stiffness.

woman hand washing pink sweatshirt


Natural wear and tear

As with any clothing item, sweatshirts undergo natural wear and tear over time.

The constant friction and stretching experienced during everyday use can cause the fabric to lose its original softness.

This wear can be accelerated if sweatshirts are subjected to rough handling or exposed to harsh environmental conditions.

By identifying these underlying causes of stiffness, you can take targeted measures to restore the softness of your sweatshirts.

In the following sections, we will delve into the step-by-step methods that will help you rejuvenate your beloved garments and bring back their cosy comfort.


Preparing Your Sweatshirts for Revival

stained sweatshirt

Before embarking on the journey to restore the softness of your sweatshirts, it’s essential to assess their condition and sort them accordingly.

Follow these steps to ensure an effective revival process:

Identify sweatshirts in need of softening

Take a close look at your collection of sweatshirts and identify the ones that have lost their softness or feel stiff.

Look for signs of wear, stiffness, or roughness in the fabric. This will help you prioritise your efforts and focus on the garments that require the most attention.


Pre-treat heavily soiled garments

If you come across sweatshirts with stubborn stains or heavy soiling, it’s best to give them a pre-treatment before moving forward with the softening process.

This will ensure that the stains are properly treated, and the overall cleanliness is restored before focusing on restoring the softness.


Spot-treating stains and areas of stiffness

Treat any visible stains or areas of stiffness before washing the sweatshirts.

Gently dab a small amount of stain remover or mild laundry detergent onto the affected areas and allow it to sit for a few minutes.

Then, using a soft brush or cloth, gently work the product into the fabric to help break down the stains and loosen any hardened fibres.


Soaking in a gentle laundry detergent

Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a gentle, pH-neutral laundry detergent.

Submerge the sweatshirts in the solution and gently agitate them to ensure even distribution of the laundry detergent.

Let the garments soak for 15-30 minutes to allow the laundry detergent to penetrate the fabric and start loosening any dirt or build up that may be contributing to stiffness.

By inspecting, sorting, and pre-treating your sweatshirts, you set the stage for a successful softening process.

With these initial steps complete, you are now ready to move on to the washing techniques that will restore the softness and comfort of your beloved sweatshirts.


The Best Washing Technique for Sweatshirts

sweatshirts and laundry pods

When it comes to washing your sweatshirts to restore their softness, selecting the appropriate water temperature and cycle is crucial. Use the following guidelines for optimal results:

Water temperature

To avoid further damage to the fabric and preserve softness, opt for cool or lukewarm water instead of hot water.

Hot water can cause the fibres to shrink or become distorted, leading to increased stiffness.

Stick to the care label instructions on your sweatshirts, but when in doubt, cooler temperatures are generally safer.


Cycle selection

Choose a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine to minimise agitation.

This will help protect the fibres from excessive friction and ensure a gentler treatment for your sweatshirts.

If your machine has an option for an extra rinse cycle, consider using it to ensure all detergent residues are thoroughly removed.


Eco-friendly and hypoallergenic detergents

Opt for gentle, eco-friendly detergents that are free from harsh chemicals and additives.

Look for detergents specifically formulated for delicate fabrics or sensitive skin.

These products are designed to clean effectively while being gentle on the fibres, helping to maintain the softness of your sweatshirts.

sweatshirt and fabric softener


Fabric softeners

Fabric softeners are specifically designed to soften and enhance the texture of fabrics, making them a perfect addition to your post-wash routine.

You might be thinking, how do fabric softeners actually rejuvenate stiff sweatshirts?

Fabric softeners work by coating the fibres of your sweatshirts with a thin layer of softening agents.

This layer helps reduce friction between the fabric threads, making the garments feel smoother and more supple.

When searching for an effective and gentle fabric softener, look for ones that are suitable for delicate fabrics and hypoallergenic.

These options are typically formulated to be gentle on the fibres and won’t leave a heavy residue that can contribute to stiffness.


Avoiding overloading the washing machine

Avoid overcrowding the washing machine when laundering your sweatshirts.

Overloading can prevent proper agitation and rinsing, resulting in inadequate cleaning and potentially leaving residues that contribute to stiffness.

Ensure there is enough space for the sweatshirts to move freely during the wash cycle.

By choosing the right water temperature, cycle, and using gentle detergents, you provide the optimal conditions for rejuvenating the softness of your sweatshirts.


Drying Methods to Maintain Softness

sweatshirts on clothes rack

Proper drying techniques are essential for maintaining the softness of your revitalised sweatshirts.

Air drying

Air drying is one of the gentlest ways to dry your sweatshirts and preserve their newfound softness.

Air drying allows the sweatshirts to dry naturally without the heat and agitation of a dryer. This method helps prevent excessive fibre stress and maintains the integrity of the fabric, resulting in a softer feel.

Choose a well-ventilated area to hang your sweatshirts for air drying. Avoid direct sunlight as it can cause fading or discolouration.

Use hangers or drying racks to support the garments, allowing them to maintain their shape while air drying.


Tumble drying with care

If air drying is not feasible or time is a constraint, you can tumble dry your sweatshirts with some precautions.


Heat setting

Set your dryer to a low or delicate heat setting to minimise any potential damage to the fabric.

Avoid high heat settings as they can lead to shrinkage or stiffness. Additionally, opt for a shorter drying time to prevent over drying.


sweatshirt, dryer balls and tumble dryer

Use dryer balls

Place a few dryer balls or clean tennis balls into the dryer with your sweatshirts.

As they tumble, these balls create gentle agitation, helping to fluff up the fabric and restore its softness. This technique also aids in reducing static cling.

Remember to always refer to the care label instructions on your sweatshirts and adjust your drying method accordingly.

By employing the appropriate drying techniques, whether through gentle air drying or careful tumble drying, you can ensure that your sweatshirts retain their softness and remain cuddly and inviting.

In the following section, we will explore the power of natural fabric softeners as an additional step to elevate the plushness of your garments.


Natural DIY Fabric Softeners

When it comes to restoring and enhancing the softness of your sweatshirts, natural fabric softeners can work wonders.

These alternatives to traditional chemical-laden products are not only gentle on the fabric but also eco-friendly.

Let’s explore two powerful natural fabric softeners you can incorporate into your laundry routine:


distilled white vinegar as fabric softener alternative

Vinegar, a staple in many households, can be a game-changer in softening your sweatshirts.

White vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener by helping to break down detergent residues and remove mineral deposits from the fibres.

This process restores the fabric’s natural softness and reduces stiffness.

During the rinse cycle, add half a cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser or directly into the water.

The vinegar will work its magic as the sweatshirts are rinsed. Ensure thorough rinsing after the vinegar treatment to remove any lingering scent.


Bicarbonate of soda

baking soda and laundry

Bicarbonate of soda, a versatile household ingredient, not only aids in cleaning but also contributes to fabric softness.

Bicarbonate of soda helps neutralise odours and soften the fabric. It works by adjusting the pH balance of the water, allowing the sweatshirts to feel softer and more comfortable against the skin.

Add half a cup of bicarbonate of soda to the washing machine along with your laundry detergent.

It will help enhance the softness of your sweatshirts during the wash cycle.

On top of this, you can create a bicarbonate of soda paste by mixing it with water and applying it to any stubborn stains or areas of stiffness before washing.

Incorporating natural fabric softeners like vinegar and bicarbonate of soda into your laundry routine can take the softness of your sweatshirts to the next level.

Experiment with these gentle alternatives and discover their effectiveness in revitalising your beloved garments.


Proper Storage Techniques for Maintaining Softness

to hang or fold sweatshirts

After putting in the effort to restore the softness of your sweatshirts, it’s important to store them properly to preserve their plush texture.

Ensure the Sweatshirts Are Dry

Before storing your sweatshirts, make sure they are thoroughly clean and completely dry.

Lingering moisture can lead to the growth of mildew and unpleasant odours, compromising the softness you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Ensure the garments have gone through the entire washing and drying process before proceeding.


Folding vs. hanging

When it comes to storing sweatshirts, the method of folding or hanging depends on the fabric and your available space.

For most sweatshirts, folding is the preferred method of storage. Fold each sweatshirt neatly, ensuring the sleeves and body are aligned.

This method helps maintain the shape of the garment and prevents stretching or distortion.

If you have ample closet space and the sweatshirt fabric is less prone to stretching, hanging can be an option.

Use sturdy, non-slip hangers to avoid any shoulder distortion. Be cautious with heavier sweatshirts, as hanging them for an extended period may cause the fabric to stretch over time.



pile of sweatshirts

Reviving the softness of your sweatshirts is a rewarding journey that allows you to enjoy the comfort and cosiness of your favourite garments once again.

Remember, caring for your sweatshirts is not only about restoring their softness but also about preserving their quality and longevity.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your sweatshirts remain cuddly companions for years to come.

So go ahead, put your newfound knowledge into action and embark on the journey of making your sweatshirts soft again. Embrace the luxurious comfort and enjoy the delightful experience of wearing them.

With proper care, your sweatshirts will continue to provide warmth, style, and softness, making every wear a truly enjoyable one.