How to Soften Stiff Thick Jeans: In 1 Simple Wash

soft jeans

A good pair of jeans is a fashion staple that everyone needs in their wardrobe. However, sometimes jeans made of thick, durable denim fabric can be stiff and uncomfortable to wear. Don’t worry! Softening your jeans is easier than you think. In this article, we will share effective methods to turn your stiff jeans into the ultimate comfort and style piece.

Why Do Jeans Become Stiff?

Before we delve into the methods of softening jeans, it’s essential to understand why jeans become stiff in the first place. Denim, a heavy and sturdy fabric, is often treated with various chemicals during manufacturing to achieve the desired fit and finish. These chemicals can make the fabric stiff and uncomfortable to wear. Additionally, the use of indigo dye during the dyeing process can also contribute to stiffness. New jeans, especially those with multiple layers of fabric, can feel stiff until they are broken in with regular wear.

Step-by-Step Process to Soften Thick Jeans

0. Gather Supplies:

  • Scotch Brite scouring pads (pack of 10)
  • Warm or cold water
  • White vinegar
  • Salt (optional)
  • Fabric softener
  • Dryer sheets

1. Prepare the Jeans:

  • Turn your jeans inside out to protect the color and finish.
  • Cut the Scotch Brite scouring pads into strips of approximately two inches in width.

2. Fill the Washer

  • Fill the washing machine with warm or cold water, depending on your preference.
  • Add a cup or two of white vinegar to the wash water to help preserve the color of your jeans. You can also add salt as an alternative option.

3. Add the Jeans and Scouring Pads

  • Place your jeans inside the washing machine, ensuring they are fully submerged in the water.
  • Add all 30 strips of the cut Scotch Brite scouring pads into the wash water with the jeans.

4. Run the Wash Cycle

Start the wash cycle and let it run for about three times to thoroughly agitate and scuff up the jeans.

5. Add Fabric Softener

  • After the wash cycles are complete, remove the scouring pads from the water.
  • Add double the usual amount of fabric softener to the rinse water in the washing machine.

6. Rinse and Dry

  • Run the rinse cycle to ensure the fabric softener coats the jeans evenly.
  • Once the rinse cycle is complete, remove the jeans from the washer.
  • Gently wring out any excess liquid from the jeans.
  • Put the jeans in the dryer with about half a dozen dryer sheets.
  • Dry the jeans on a low-heat setting in the dryer until they are fully dry.

7. Enjoy Your Softened Jeans

  • Your jeans should now feel significantly softer and more comfortable to wear.
  • Try them on and feel the difference in softness and flexibility.

Important Tips

  • Check the care label on your jeans to ensure they are suitable for this process.
  • Be cautious when using vinegar and fabric softener, as excessive use may affect the color and finish of your jeans.
  • For the best results, follow all steps carefully and be patient.

Benefits Of Softening Jeans

Soft jeans offer several benefits that enhance the overall comfort and wearing experience. Here are some of the advantages of wearing soft jeans:

  1. Enhanced Comfort: Soft jeans are much more comfortable to wear than stiff ones. The softness of the fabric allows for better flexibility and movement, making it easier to walk, sit, and engage in various activities without feeling restricted.
  2. Reduced Irritation: Stiff jeans can cause irritation and chafing against the skin, especially in sensitive areas like the thighs and waist. Soft jeans, on the other hand, are gentler on the skin, reducing the risk of discomfort and redness.
  3. Improved Fit: Soft jeans tend to mold to your body shape better, providing a more personalized fit. This not only enhances your overall appearance but also prevents the discomfort of ill-fitting jeans.
  4. Ease of Styling: Soft jeans are versatile and easy to mix and match with different outfits. Whether you’re dressing up for a semi-formal event or going for a casual look, soft jeans can adapt to various styles effortlessly.
  5. Increased Durability: Contrary to the common misconception, soft jeans can still be durable and long-lasting. The softening process mainly affects the comfort and flexibility of the fabric while retaining its strength and resilience.
  6. Faster Break-In Time: Softening your jeans before wearing them can significantly reduce the break-in time. Soft jeans are more pliable from the beginning, allowing you to achieve the desired level of comfort quicker.
  7. All-Day Wearability: Soft jeans are comfortable enough for all-day wear. Whether you’re running errands, working, or going out with friends, soft jeans ensure you stay comfortable and at ease throughout the day.
  8. Versatility: Soft jeans can be dressed up or down, making them suitable for various occasions. They can be paired with a casual t-shirt for a relaxed look or dressed up with a stylish top for a more polished appearance.
  9. Ideal for Travel: If you’re on the go, soft jeans are the perfect travel companion. Their comfort and versatility make them an excellent choice for long flights or road trips.
  10. Better Breathability: Soft jeans allow better air circulation and breathability, preventing excess sweat and promoting comfort in warm weather.

In conclusion, soft jeans offer a plethora of benefits, including enhanced comfort, improved fit, and versatility in styling. Investing in softening your jeans can make a significant difference in your overall wearing experience and ensure you enjoy your favorite denim for years to come.


Are all denim fabrics suitable for softening?

While most denim fabrics can be softened effectively, some specialized denim with unique finishes or treatments may not respond well to certain softening methods. Always check the care label and instructions provided by the manufacturer before attempting to soften your jeans.

How often should I soften my jeans?

Softening your jeans occasionally, when they feel stiff or uncomfortable, should be sufficient. Over-softening or using harsh chemicals frequently may weaken the fabric over time.

Will softening my jeans make them lose their shape?

Softening methods should not significantly alter the shape of your jeans if done correctly. It is essential to follow the care instructions and use proper techniques to avoid damaging the fabric or affecting its fit.

Are there any risks in using chemical softeners on my jeans?

Using chemical softeners may have minimal risks if you follow the instructions provided on the product label. However, excessive use or using products not suitable for denim may damage the fabric or affect its color and finish.


In conclusion, softening stiff thick jeans is a simple yet transformative process that can significantly enhance the comfort and wearability of your favorite denim. Following the method, you can turn your once-uncomfortable jeans into a soft and flexible wardrobe staple. The result will be the ultimate comfort and style piece that you’ll love to wear day after day. So, don’t let stiff denim hold you back – soften those jeans and experience the difference in your denim game!

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