How To Make Your Brand-New T-Shirts Feel Vintage Soft

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There’s nothing better than finding a perfectly-worn, dreamy-soft vintage tee at your local resale shop. Not only does a vintage piece give you instant cool-girl street cred (bonus points if you scored a vintage band tee!), vintage tees feel soooo soft and breathable on you skin. Here’s how to make your fresh-from-the-store tees feel and look vintage!

Wash Method

One of the easiest ways to give your brand-new t-shirt a vintage feel is to wash that baby! This method works on cottons, cotton/poly blends, and modals.

Step 1.

Create a mix of water and salt, or water and vinegar in a large plastic bucket. For one quart of water, you will need ½ cup of salt or vinegar. The salt and vinegar both help to open up the fibers of the shirts, and the mixture will add volume to the cotton, making it feel fluffy and soft.

Step 2.

Soak your shirt in the mixture for about seven minutes.

Step 3.

Wash and dry as normal! Use a mild detergent, and be sure to yank your tee out of the dryer before it’s completely bone dry, so it doesn’t stiffen up.

Sodium Carbonate Washing Soda Method

Much like the wash method, you can do this at home with just a couple ingredients and your washer and dryer!

Step 1.

Mix ¼ cup of sodium carbonate washing soda with 2 cups of salt in a bowl. The salt acts as an abrasive, making the shirt look older, while the washing soda will break down a new t-shirt’s coating that keeps it stiff and crisp.

Step 2.

Put your shirt into the washing machine with a towel or two for padding, and set the water on the highest temperature. Once the water line is above the shirts, pour in the soda/salt mixture along with your regular detergent and let the machine run through.

Step 3.

Dry on high for the full time.

Step 4.

Repeat the whole process 3-5 times, until you’ve achieved your desired results.

Sandpaper Method

Chances are, whatever graphic is printed on your tee will still be intact even after you’ve repeated the wash process a few times. You can also use this method to add a few strategically-placed holes to simulate years of wear and tear.

Step 1.

To distress the graphic, use a piece of fine-grit sandpaper and stroke the area in a circular motion until you’ve achieved your desired result! You can distress other Be sure to start small – you can always add more wear to a shirt, but once you file a big hole in the front of a garment, you’re stuck with it. Also, be aware that washing and drying will cause any small holes to grow bigger over time!

Bleach Method

What’s the easiest way to fade a dark t-shirt to fake aging? Bleach it! Just remember to do this project in a well-ventilated area, wear gloves and goggles, and be careful not to get bleach on anything you don’t want stained!

Step 1.

Fill a spray bottle with one part bleach and three parts water. Soak your shirt in water, and lay it on a flat surface (preferably outside!) and start spraying.

Step 2.

Let your shirt air dry in the sunlight to speed up the fading process. Once you’ve achieved your desired result, wash and dry the shirt in your washing machine!

Which method did you try? Let us know in the comments!


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