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How Do I Make a Shirt Look Like Vintage

How Do I Make a Shirt Look Vintage

There’s nothing like a vintage shirt. Not only does it feel super soft but it’s also quite classic. If you are like us, then you’ve got two or three of them in your closet that you wear every now and then, particularly during the weekends when relaxing. If only all shirts could feel that good.

Fortunately for you, we have discovered a trick that can make any shirt, even the new ones, look vintage. All you need are basic items like salt that can be easily found at your local store, and follow the following instructions:

Steps to Make Shirts Look Vintage

Step 1: Choose a shirt

Of course, any shirt can look vintage but we recommend starting out with one that’s one size up from what you usually wear. That’s because cotton might shrink in the course of softening, and the process involves lots of heat.

Step 2: Mix 2 cups of salt with a quarter cup of sodium carbonate washing soda

Mix the two ingredients thoroughly in a bowl or bucket. The salt will function as an abrasive, and thus make the shirt look older. The washing soda, on the other hand, will break down the shirt’s coating that gives it that crisp, rigid look and feel that makes it appear new.

Step 3: Switch on the washing machine

Place the shirt into the machine alongside a towel and set the machine to its highest temperature. The relevance of the high heat is to weaken the shirt’s fibers. As soon as the water line goes above the shirt and towel, pour in the washing soda and salt mixture together with your typical detergent and allow the machine to run through.

Step 4: Dry the shirt on high heat

After the washing process is complete, take the shirt to the dryer. Run the dryer on its highest heat setting for about an hour.

Step 5: Repeat the process 3 times

Blend another batch of salt and washing soda and repeat the whole process thrice, ensuring that the shirt dries on high heat after every wash. You can repeat the process for up to 6 times if you’re convinced the shirt needs more work. Just wash and dry it as long as you can, until you achieve your desired results.

Step 6: Brush off the printings

To make your shirt really look vintage, you will need to remove any printings on it, whether they’re logos, writings or images. Use a sandpaper to stroke the printing in a circular motion until all the ink in the printing is gone.


Once you’re done with all the steps, you will be amazed at how vintage and super soft your shirt feels. Remember, this strategy is not just effective for shirts, it also works great for t-shirts and pants as well.

Do you know other ways of making your shirts look vintage? We’d be pleased to know your tricks.

James M. Rai has been screen printing T-shirts and other textiles professionally and as a hobby for more than 15 years. During that time, he owned and operated a small screen printing shop in northern California for more than 7 years. More recently, James has gotten involved with Cricut and other cutting machines.