Welcome to our article focused on helping you soften your newly bought jeans. 

Buying high-quality denim jeans is an investment in your fashion and duration of clothing. You might have noticed the cost of your tall jeans was higher than jeans that mix elastic and other fabrics into their making. 

Where the cost will set you back more, the life you will get out of them will make up for it. 

But now that you have your jeans, it’s pretty noticeable how stiff they are, so let me help you fix that problem by softening them (also referred to as breaking in your jeans.)

Table of Contents

  • Fastest way to soften jeans: Roll your jeans
  • Best way to soften jeans: Wear them often
  • Best way to soften jeans that doesn’t take months: Using vinegar
how to soften jeans

Supplies & Tools:

  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Belt
  • Vinegar
  • Shampoo
  • Fabric softener
  • Salt
this is a photo of a washing machine used to soften jeans
Washing machine
this is a photo of vinegar used to soften jeans
Vinegar
this is a photo of a dryer used to soften jeans
Dryer
this is a photo of shampoo used to soften jeans
Shampoo
this is a photo of a belt used to soften jeans
Belt
this is a photo of fabric softener used to soften jeans
Fabric softener

How To Soften Jeans

We have put together to top 8 methods to help you pick one that appeals to your most. Softening your jeans should be your first step whenever distressing, fraying and ripping your jeans.

Once you have softened them don’t chuck them in the corner of your room. Hang your jeans up or fold your jeans and put them away properly.

"Denim is naturally a stiff material but when it is not treated, it can be very uncomfortable. This is ironic because one of the softest materials for clothes can be denim, after it has been worn and washed a lot."

1. Wear them often

Total time: 1-2 months

Cost: 0$

The best thing you can do to soften your jeans is to wear them as much as possible right away. By wearing them to ‘break them in,’ the jeans will soften, mould and fold in the exact areas your body wants them to. By letting your muscles, bones and joints wear down the jean denim, you will not put any unwanted wear on the fabric from outside factors.

Pull up your jeans, put on a belt and get active!

This is a photo of softened jeans being worn

2. Use the washing machine

Total time: 60 minutes

Cost: 0.53$

  • Buy Tide Pods for $45.34

Put your jeans in the washing machine to soften them. Using the washing machine is an easy way to address this issue. Do not use hot water (hot water shrinks clothes.) Instead, for the first wash, use cold water. Using cold water will make sure you do not alter to shrink the denim. Once the jeans are dry, try them on to see if they have softened enough. If not, repeat the process (how long does a washer take?), but use warm water this time. 

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to wash your jeans & how to wash jeans without shrinking.

this is a photo of a pair of black jeans on the washing machine to soften them

3. Use the washer and dryer

Total time: 120 minutes

Cost: 0.53$

  • Buy Tide Pods for $45.34

Put your jeans in the washer and dryer to soften your jeans. I would not suggest doing this method if the jeans you bought fit you perfectly. By putting the denim through the dryer’s tumble dry settings, you will give it a chance to shrink and change the complete feel of your jeans. However, if the jeans are a little big or baggy, this is a perfect method. Learn how to use a dryer properly.

Your jeans will shrink in the dryer so I suggest you read this guide to not let your jeans shrink in the dryer. And also understand how long a dryer takes.

Follow my guide on how to wash jeans with step-by-step photo instructions.

this is a photo of a pair of denim jeans on the washer and dryer to soften the jeans

4. Use vinegar

Total time: 120 minutes

Cost: 5.00$

  • Buy White Vinegar for $24.99

Put your jeans in a vinegar solution to soften them. Follow these steps to create the vinegar/water solution properly and soften your jeans.

For the 4 guides below, be sure to air dry your jeans. Line drying or drying flat both work well. But there are many ways to dry your jeans without using a dryer.

1. Fill basin to soften jeans with vinegar

Get an 8-12 quart stock pot, large tupperware container or sink and fill the basin with 3/4 full warm water.

this is a photo of a sink filled with water to soften jeans in vinegar

2. Add one cup of white vinegar

Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the water filled container.

this is a photo of a cup of vinegar being added to water to soften jeans

3. Submerge the jeans into the vinegar solution

Submerge the jeans fully into the vinegar solution. Making sure every part of the denim fabric gets soaked.

this is a photo of jeans being submerged into a vinegar solution to soften

4. Place a heavy object onto the jeans

Place a soup can, bottle or weight onto the jeans to keep them submerged in the vinegar.

this is a photo of a heavy object on jeans to soften them

5. Soak jeans in vinegar for 20 minutes

Let the jeans soak in the vinegar water for 20 minutes.

this is a photo of jeans in vinegar water for twenty minutes to soften

6. Rinse off vinegar in cold water

Remove the jeans from the basin and rinse them in cold water until the smell of vinegar is gone.

this is a photo of vinegar being rinsed off jeans in cold water

7. Air dry jeans to let them soften

Air dry the jeans, do not put them into the drying machine.

this is a photo of jeans air drying to soften them

5. Use warm water and shampoo

Total time: 130 minutes

Cost: 0.60$

  • Buy Tea Tree shampoo for $18

Put your jeans into a shampoo and warm water solution to soften them. This process of softening your jeans is similar to the softening with vinegar. Follow the steps below to soften your jeans with shampoo.

1. Fill basin to soften jeans with shampoo

Get an 8-12 quart stock pot, large tupperware container or sink and fill the basin with 3/4 full warm water.

this is a photo of a sink being filled to soften jeans with shampoo

2. Add two squirts of shampoo

Put in 2 short squirts of shampoo (It’s better to have more than less.)

this is a photo of two squirts of shampoo being added to water to soften jeans

3. Submerge the jeans into the shampoo solution

Submerge the jeans into the shampoo solution, making sure every inch gets wet.

4. Place a heavy object onto the jeans

Place a soup can, bottle or weight onto the jeans to keep them submerged in the shampoo.

this is a photo of a heavy object on jeans to soften them

5. Soak in shampoo for 30 minutes

Let the jeans soak in shampoo for 30 minutes.

this is a photo of jeans soaking in shampoo water for thirty minutes to soften

6. Rinse off shampoo in cold water

Take out the jeans and rinse off shampoo in cold water.

7. Air dry jeans to let them soften

Air dry the jeans, do not put them into the drying machine.

this is a photo of jeans air drying to soften them

6. Use fabric softener

Total time: 110 minutes

Cost: 0.52$

  • Buy Attitude softener for $14.52

Use fabric softener to soften your jeans. Soaking your jeans in fabric softener will help break down the rigidness of your denim. Follow these steps to soften your jeans with fabric softener.

1. Fill basin to soften jeans with fabric softener

Get an 8-12 quart stock pot, large tupperware container or sink and fill the basin with 3/4 full warm water.

this is a photo of a sink filled with water to soften jeans

2. Add one cap full of fabric softener

Add one cap full of fabric softener, or two good glugs.

this is a photo of fabric softener being added to water to soften jeans

3. Submerge the jeans into the fabric softener solution

Submerge the jeans into the fabric softener solution, making sure every inch is wet.

this is a photo of jeans submerged into fabric softener water to soften them

4. Place a heavy object onto the jeans

Place a soup can, bottle or weight onto the jeans to keep them submerged in the fabric softener.

this is a photo of a heavy object on jeans to soften them

5. Soak in fabric softener for 10 minutes

Soak in fabric softener for 10 minutes.

this is a photo of jeans soaking in fabric softener to soften them

6. Rinse off fabric softener in cold water

Remove the jeans and rinse off the fabric softener thoroughly under cold water.

this is a photo of jeans being rinsed under cold water to remove fabric softener

7. Air dry jeans to let them soften

Air dry the jeans, do not put them into the drying machine.

this is a photo of jeans air drying to soften them

7. Use salt

Total time: 180 minutes

Cost: 0.27$

  • Buy Iodized salt for $7.57

Use salt to soften your jeans. Similar to the other methods, letting your jeans soak in salt will help soften them. Just be sure you rinse them thoroughly as the salt could harm the denim if allowed to set in over time. Follow these steps to use salt to soften your jeans. 

1. Fill basin to soften jeans with salt

Get an 8-12 quart stock pot, large tupperware container or sink and fill the basin with 3/4 full warm water.

2. Add two heaping spoonfulls of salt

Add two heaping spoonfuls of salt to the basin.

this is a photo of salt being added to water to soften jeans

3. Submerge the jeans into the salt solution

Submerge the jeans into the salt solution, making sure every inch is covered.

4. Place a heavy object onto the jeans

Place a soup can, bottle or weight onto the jeans to keep them submerged in the fabric softener.

this is a photo of a heavy object on jeans to soften them

5. Soak in salt for 60 minutes

Let them soak for 60 minutes in the salt solution.

this is a photo of jeans in salt water for 60 minutes to soften them

6. Rinse off salt in cold water

Take out the jeans and rinse thoroughly with cold water.

this is a photo of salt being rinsed off jeans

7. Air dry jeans to let them soften

Air dry the jeans, do not put them into the drying machine.

this is a photo of jeans air drying to soften them

8. Roll your jeans

Total time: 75 minutes

Cost: 0$

  • Buy Men’s leather belt for $24.95

You can roll your jeans while they are warm to soften them. If you are not worried about shrinking your jeans, this method will be helpful for you. Be sure to have a belt or string/rope handy. Follow the steps below to roll your jeans once warm to soften them.

1. Put your jeans in dryer for 15 min

Throw your jeans into the dryer on a medium setting. Take the jeans out after 15 minutes or fully warm and loose.

this is a photo of jeans going into a dryer for 15 minutes to soften

2. Start rolling your jeans at the hem to soften them properly

Starting at the hem of your pant leg, roll up tightly.

3. Roll your jeans like a sleeping bag

Mimic rolling up a sleeping bag. Get both hands and scrunch them tight as possible.

this is a photo of tall paul rolling his jeans like a sleeping bag

4. Wrap your belt around the rolled up jeans

Once your jeans are fully rolled up, take the belt and wrap it around the center.

this is a photo of jeans with a buckle wrapped around the middle to soften them

5. Tighten the belt around the jeans

Tighten the belt or string as tight as possible, once you have got it centered and the jeans have stayed compact.

this is a photo of a belt wrapped around jeans tightly to soften them

6. Let the jeans cool for 60 min

Let your jeans cool like that for 60 minutes. Lay them down, hang them up, put the wherever, just let them cool in peace.

7. Unroll the jeans and try them on to see how soft they are

Once the jeans are cool take off the belt and unroll the jeans. Give the a try on to see how they fit.

FAQ

To soften hard denim jeans, the quickest, most effective way is to soak your jeans in vinegar, shampoo or fabric softener. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with cold water once done and let air dry.

The fastest way to break jeans in is to wear them all day long for a whole week. This will not only break your jeans in but also soften them in the exact areas your body needs for the denim to mould.

To soften jeans with salt, you need to submerge the teams in warm water with two heaping spoonfuls of salt. Let the jeans sit in the water for one hour, then take them out and rinse them thoroughly with cold water. Let them hang to air dry.