Aug 02, 2012

How to: An Easy Way to Make a New T-Shirt Feel Vintage Soft

created at: 08/02/2012

There's nothing like a well-worn t-shirt, faded just so and perfectly soft from repeated wearing and washing. Many new shirts try to mimic this effect, with pre-cracked screen prints and ultra thin fabric just of the verge of tearing...but those end up looking like, well, brand new shirts with pre-cracked screen prints and ultra thin fabric just of the verge of tearing.

Fortunately, there is a better way to get your new shirts ultra soft.   Octane shirts came up with this easy technique: brine your shirts in salt water for three days.

I'm not sure as to the chemistry of what happens here, but it's not unlike a few dozen days of sweating and repeated washings, so I believe it. Plus, I love that it's goal is to simply soften the fabric, not prematurely age the design or wear out the colors.

I'm definitely interested in trying it on some of my next purchases.

For more ideas on aging new t-shirts, check out our friends Found Item Clothing's test lab they performed last year:

Be sure to visit Octane to see more of their designs, and special thanks to my favorite neighborhood t-shirt shop, Homage in Columbus, Ohio, for the top photo.





Post Comments

Add Your Comment!

(2000 character limit)

Ashley on May 20, 2015:

It probably has to be Epsom salt. That's known to soften skin (and it does) so I don't see why it wouldn't work for a shirt. I don't believe table salt would do the trick.

Moo on Jun 24, 2013:

Doesn't work! Shirt actually came out even more rough than before!! Epic fail for Octane!

Kris on May 14, 2013:

You can try this for 3 or 30 days but it won't soften your t shirts! The easiest and cheapest way to get a vintage shirt is to scour thrift stores or buy one that's already soft. The electricity and water you waste to do this the proper way would buy you a shirt! 
(you need salt and baking soda btw, as well as a shirt a size or 2 larger than you wear.)

Anonymous on Mar 22, 2013:

I tried this and it did not work. Super bummed about it too.

Emily on Aug 03, 2012:

That's a great tip; thank you! I'm always on the hunt for the softest t-shirt. But are you sure the salt doesn't shorten its lifespan?