How to soften cotton sheets

Written by kayar sprang
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You probably buy cotton sheets because you like the way they feel. The higher the thread count, the softer the sheets. If you find your sheets are a bit rougher than you like, probably because of the chemicals the manufacturers use to size them, you'll want to soften them. As you use and wash them, your sheets will become more comfortable over time. There are some things you can do to help the process along and make your bedding feel better quicker.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Vinegar

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  1. 1

    Place the cotton sheets in your washing machine. Set the water temperature to warm if the sheets are dyed so the colours don't run. Use hot water if the cotton sheets are white. Add your usual detergent and launder the sheets on a "Normal" cycle to help remove the chemicals.

  2. 2

    Set the rinse water temperature to cold. Add a cup of vinegar to the washing machine when it's filling up for the first rinse cycle. The vinegar will also help dissolve the chemicals that make the fabric feel rough.

  3. 3

    Rewash the cotton sheets and add another cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle the second time around to soften them.

  4. 4

    Hang the cotton sheets on a laundry line in direct sunshine for a few hours. The sun's powerful rays will help break down any chemicals left over in the cotton that's making it feel stiff and rough.

  5. 5

    Wash and dry the cotton sheets according to the instructions on the care tag for subsequent washings. They will continue to soften over time.

Tips and warnings

  • You can add a fabric softener to the rinse water when you wash the cotton sheets after the first few uses. It's not recommended to use fabric softener to soften the cotton sheets initially because you're trying to remove the chemicals, not add to them.

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