Friday, July 7, 2017

How to soften those stiff race t-shirts

Most races I do give out nice tech t-shirts but then there are the occasional 5Ks that still give out cotton t-shirts (ehem, Disney). The 4th of July race I did on Tuesday gave out nice tech tees last year but this year they were cotton ones. What gives?


Unfortunately these cotton race shirts are not always the softest but I've found a way to soften them up so I actually WANT to wear them.

Follow these 5 easy steps.


1. You will need a bucket, dishpan, or sink and fill it with a quart of warm water.




2. Add a half cup of plain old table salt.



3. Submerge your race shirt in the water.

4. You will need to let the shirt soak in the salt water for three days. Check on your shirt each day and stir it around.

5. After the third day, launder your shirt as normal.

Leaving your shirt in the salt water is like marinading it. You marinade meat so it becomes tender and in a way, the salt water is doing the same thing to your shirt.

I did this process with a shirt I didn't much care for just in case the salt water damaged it, but it didn't. It actually came out softer than when I put it in.

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37 comments:

  1. I don't know if I'll use this for a race shirt (I just really don't wear them), but my kids are always getting school pride shirts that they hate because they are so stiff. I'll have to try this on one of those to see if it helps.

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    1. That's a great idea, those school shirts are usually a bit stiff!

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  2. This is so interesting, and I had no idea there was a way to do this! I have several t-shirts from small 5ks that are pretty stiff so Ill have to give this a try!

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    1. Yes, do it. Wash in some liquid fabric softener too. I forgot to do that. Maybe that will make it even softer.

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  3. Great tips! I don't know how many stiff race shirts I've donated to Goodwill. I'll have to try it next time I get one. Thanks! (BTW, this site won't let me comment under my Wordpress account, this is Sharon from Ramblings of a Runner Cacher :) )

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Sharon! I didn't want to get rid of my shirts but I knew I didn't want to wear them because they didn't feel good. Glad I discovered this!

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  4. Great tip! I usually end up saving all my cotton race shirts to make a blanket because they are so hard. I'll definitely try your tips in the future to soften up any more cotton race shirts that I receive. Thanks!

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    1. I thought about making a blanket as well. Don't know if I'll actually do it though!

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  5. How cool! I've never heard of that. It only works for cotton, right?

    I like the 5 format (although sometimes it's confining) & I like topics, but I often go off on my own topics anyway. :)

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    1. I assume you could probably do it for other things like maybe denim. I'm not sure how the salt would react with other fabrics.

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  6. I've noticed that the trend seems to be cotton shirts you can wear after running. Personally, I like it! I don't wear my tech shirts very much (except my marathon ones).

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    1. I wear my tech shirts for running and to the gym but hardly ever wear my cotton ones unless its around the house.

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  7. That seems like a lot of work just to soften a shirt, but at least there is a way to do it in case someone really wants to wear their race shirt. I do prefer tech shirts so I can wear them while I'm running!

    I personally like the Friday 5 format and that you are always okay with me not following the topic as long as I stick with the 5 theme.

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    1. Maybe if you double or triple the amount of water and salt you could do several shirts at one time so it wouldn't seem like a lot of work for just one shirt.

      Thanks for your feedback on the Friday 5.

      Delete
  8. I love this! Roger loves his soft shirts and goes out of his way to buy extra soft shirts all the time! now we can do some softening, he will want to do this with everything!! Thanks for testing it for us!

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    1. Soft shirts are the best! Do you use liquid fabric softener? I think adding that may even making softer.

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  9. OK... I've never heard of this but its fantastic. I HATE that 'stiff' feel
    I'm totally pinning this.

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  10. How neat! I never would have thought of this! Thanks for sharing!! :)

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    1. I knew there was a way to soften t-shirts so I did a little research!

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  11. I thought Disney only gave out technical shirts? I don't remember ever getting a cotton shirt.

    I rarely keep my race shirts. The ones I do have are the cotton ones which I use as a pajama top. The technical shirts I give away.

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    1. Yes, Disney gives out cotton t-shirts for the 5k races. I often wear mine around the house or for pajama tops as well.
      Why do you give away your tech shirts? don't you like to run in them?

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    2. I do not like to run in them. Plus, there was a time when I did a lot of races and just had too many shirts.

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  12. I never tried this. My 5k Disney shirt is in the pile for a race shirt quilt. I have no idea when I'll have enough shirts, and I don't know how big I want the quilt. I guess that's important to know how many shirts I'll need.

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    1. I assume if you make a quilt you would have some sort of real soft fabric on the back, no?

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  13. Oh, this is a great tip! I had never heard of a way to soften up stiff t-shirts before. I've definitely got a couple t-shirts from work that are really stiff and I never wear.

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    1. Hopefully it works on your work shirts too!

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  14. I'm going to try this on one of my "cute but too stiff" shirts - thanks for the tip!

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  15. Brilliant!! Why not try?! I have a few that need softening up :-)

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  16. How cool is this??? And it doesn't damage the design on the front? I'm going to definitely give this a try!

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  17. I often wonder if it's the shirt itself or the graphics? If it has a large vinyl graphic logo or image, THAT annoys me because it feels like cardboard LOL I love the "free" Friday 5 format! It gives us some versatility ;-)

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  18. I hate how stiff t-shirts are, and have plenty of them for work that I'm expected to wear. I'll have to give this method a try, thanks!

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  19. Oh wow, what a great hack! I'm not a fan of cotton race shirts either...I should try this on some of my older shirts!

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  20. What a great idea! I need to try this. I love a nice soft tshirt.

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.