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How to Soften Stiff Fabric

Vinegar is widely used in cooking, but creative minds use it for other household purposes.
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Things You'll Need:

  • Sewing machine
  • Dry, nonfat milk
  • White vinegar


Be careful as you measure the white vinegar, but rest assured that using a little more than called for will not harm your fabric. Sew a line of stitching around the entire perimeter of the fabric to ensure it doesn’t fray while in the washing machine or dryer.

You find a colorful and beautifully woven dress or coat in your favorite fashion boutique. But, upon closer inspection, you realize it is stiff and coarse, and you don’t want to risk any abrasions on your body after wearing it. So do you forego the fabulous garment and continue your search, or do you take on this toughie and attempt to soften it? With two common household products, you can make this washable garment soft enough for a baby to rest on.

Put 1 cup dry, nonfat milk in your washing machine in place of your usual detergent or wash solution. Set the machine for a warm wash and cold rinse cycle.

Pour between ½ cup and 1 cup white vinegar in the washing machine at the beginning of the first rinse cycle.

Put the garment in the dryer instead of hanging it to dry. The tumbling action of the dryer helps soften fabrics while letting the fabric hang dry will only make it stiff again.

Toss in a fabric softening sheet as an extra softening agent, if you choose.

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