Try This Laundry Recipe for the Softest Pajamas You’ll Ever Sleep (or Live) In

published Sep 2, 2020
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Pink patterned pajamas in a wicker laundry basket

Your coziest pajamas and you cutest pajamas are never the same pair. The cozy ones are old and worn-in, thanks to being washed a million times. Then there are the cute matching sets; they’re not worn or washed as often as the cozy ones, so they maintain a new-to-the-touch sort of starchy feel. But they don’t have to.

I received the cutest PJ set as a gift this year, but instead of waiting around for them to get softer after 10 or so washes, I speed up the process by tweaking my usual laundry recipe.

Here’s my new go-to, three-step method for washing for softening your PJs, minus the wait time:

1. Wash in cool water with your favorite detergent

Always wash in cool water to avoid shrinking, especially if the PJs are made of cotton. And if you really want to amp-up your PJ-washing game, invest in a special detergent, and reserve it for your pajamas and delicates to give them a special touch. I recently discovered this all-natural powder detergent scented with cedar and bergamot, and it’s the most soothing smell ever.

Using a special detergent also makes the washing process less of a chore and more of an act of self-care. It might sound silly, but since I’ve started investing in nicer detergents, I really look forward to doing my laundry and cannot wait to slip into my pajamas at night. 

2. Find a fabric softener that works

I usually steer clear of add-ins like dryer sheets when it comes to laundry, but a gentle fabric softener can make all the difference for garments like pajamas. The Laundress’s liquid softener has a mild scent, the product is eco-friendly, and it makes your fabric significantly softer than before. I’ve tested it out on my PJs by washing the top and bottoms separately. When washed with this fabric softener, I found that the top was significantly softer than the bottoms. Just double check the labels on your nightwear before using a softener on them. (And never use fabric softener on towels!)

If you don’t want to use fabric softener, you can try making your own by mixing vinegar (for softness) and essential oils (for scent). Vinegar won’t make your laundry as soft as liquid fabric softener, but it does help! Try adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils to ½ cup of vinegar and add it to the rinse cycle.

3. Dry them halfway, and iron out the wrinkles.

For truly soft-to-the-touch pajamas, tumble dry them on low, but remove them from the dryer while they’re still a bit damp (your dryer might have a “damp dry” setting already). Then, lay them flat to air-dry the rest of the way. Cotton tends to wrinkle very easily, so you might need to take a steamer or iron to them. De-wrinkling is step is extra, of course, but it sure does make your pajamas feel like a treat at the end of the day.

Whether you’re planning to spend five minutes in your new nightie or a solid day of lounging, you shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to comfort.