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How to remove stiffness and soften a fabric step by step

There is no feeling like putting on freshly washed clothes, either when you get out of the shower or before going to sleep, and feel its softness and clean smell. On the contrary, it is unpleasant to feel that the fabric is stiff, and if it is our favorite garments, the fiasco is huge. That’s why this blog article can help you to avoid these bad feelings. You can soften your fabrics without using commercial fabric softeners, which often contain strong ingredients or odors, and remove stiffness naturally with products you already have at home. Here you can learn why your clothes are not as soft as you expect and find out step by step how to solve this problem.

Why are my clothes so stiff?

If the fabric of your garments is far from being soft and stretchy and instead you find it stiff or rough, this is most likely due to the use of an inadequate amount of detergent in the wash and traces of detergent and minerals are left in the water. If too little detergent is used, there may not be enough active ingredients to combat the hardness of the water, which can affect the softness of the fibers. But if too much detergent is used, there may be concentrated detergent left on the fibers, which will have a rough feel. Therefore, it is recommended to use the amount specified by the package or use the cap included with these packages. If your company has surplus materials like textiles, yarns or trimmings, clear some space and earn money by selling it to other brands with Recovo. 

How can I remove the stiffness from my fabrics and make them soft?

Soften fabrics with baking soda.

Baking soda softens clothes and reduces unpleasant odors at the same time.

  1. Turn on the washing machine and wait until the tub fills with water.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda (90 g) to the water and let it dissolve before adding the clothes. If you have a front-loading washing machine, just add the baking soda to the compartment where you put the laundry detergent.

Baking soda also helps regulate the pH level of the water in the washer, which in turn reduces wear and tear and keeps clothes softer longer. You can also add the baking soda to the wash water along with your regular detergent.

Remove stiffness with vinegar.

Using vinegar alone is enough to soften clothes:

  1. Wait until the washer is in the rinse cycle.
  2. Add 1/2 cup (120 ml) of white vinegar. If the washer has a fabric softener dispenser, pour the vinegar in there. The vinegar helps remove residue and excess soap from the clothes, leaving them clean and soft. But above all, be sure to use the vinegar only in the rinse cycle so that there is no odor on the clothes.

Combine baking soda and vinegar to create a stronger fabric softener.

  1. Add 1 cup (200 g) of baking soda to a bowl and pour in 7 cups (1.7 liters) of white vinegar. Stir the mixture well until completely combined.
  2. Add 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the mixture to the fabric softener dispenser of the washing machine or add it during the wash cycle to soften clothes. Although baking soda and white vinegar can naturally soften clothes on their own, they can also be combined to form a very effective and simple fabric softener.

Remove stiffness with borax.

You can soften hard water, which in turn softens clothes, by adding ½ cup of borax powder to the wash water. Borax will also help brighten your whites and get your clothes cleaner.


Measure fashion’s environmental impact

Discover the water used, CO2 & phosphorus emissions related to a garment or fashion collection with our calculator.

Plus: Avoid static cling with aluminum foil

Crumple and form 2 or 3 balls of aluminum foil and throw them in the dryer to avoid static: If you don’t have dryer balls, you can make your own by taking about 0.3 to 0.4 square cm (3 to 4 square feet) of aluminum foil and crumple them as much as you can into a ball. Make 2 or 3 balls of aluminum foil and add them to the dryer along with the clothes. The foil discharges static electricity and keeps the clothes from sticking.


Baking soda, vinegar and borax can be used together. But avoid using chlorine bleach and vinegar together in the washing machine, as you promote the soda contained in the chlorine to neutralize and generate a highly toxic, health-damaging chlorine gas.

Is your fabric beyond repair, or do you want to buy fabrics to make new garments since you are no longer afraid of stiffness? If so, and you are looking for fabrics that are also circular and sustainable, you can find in our catalog fabrics that contribute to reducing textile waste and the environmental impact of fashion. You can also try selling your leftover fabrics in Recovo (that are not stiff!), as someone may be looking for them.

Reduce waste, minimize expenses and speed up the fashion production process, accesing real-time data on your internal stock with the Upcycling Saas by Recovo


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Recovo creates circular solutions for the fashion industry. We cover various aspects of the circular economy for brands:

A marketplace to sell surplus textiles and other materials; buy deadstock fabrics and other materials; Recycling services to connect fashion brands with third parties, and an Upcycling Saas for companies to manage the circularity of their materials internally.

Based in Barcelona, we have a global mission with our websites in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German and Dutch.

If you want to know more, please contact us.

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