What Does Cotton Feel Like? (How to Make Cotton Feel Softer)

Soft to the touch. That is what a lot of people want their fabric to feel like. It can be touch and go as the processing of the material plays a large role in how a specific fabric feels like. Sometimes it is not soft to the touch. That fabric can feel artificial instead.

What does cotton feel like? Cotton will feel soft and cuddly like flannel or it may feel a little bit rough like canvas. The feel is all in the processing the fibers undergo. To make cotton feel softer, just add some baking soda or vinegar to the wash load. 1 cup should do the trick.

To learn more about how cotton feels, just keep reading our article. It goes through the different aspects of the topic so you have the information you want to know about. It only takes a couple of minutes to read through.

Is Cotton Soft or Rough?


This will depend on how it was woven or if it was a knit fabric you were touching. Woven cotton can feel soft but it also can feel rough. A lot will depend on the thickness of the material as well as the purpose of the cotton fabric.

If you have cotton sheets with a high thread count, then you will feel the real softness of the cotton material but if you lose the thread count then you will lose some of the softness as well.

There are just too many factors involved here as even the raw material can range in softness to rough feel due to how it was grown and other conditions. Then the weight of the fabric will play a role in how soft or rough the cotton material will be.

What chemicals are used in the processing leave their mark as well. The key is to find the texture you like in spite of all these factors.

Is Cotton Itchy?

It can be if you are allergic to cotton and believe it or not, some people are allergic to that fabric. It may not be the cotton itself but some of the chemicals involved in the processing that triggers those allergies. But no matter what, cotton can be itchy in these cases

Other than that, cotton is not itchy. That is why it is often blended with linen to soften the latter material up. Cotton is or can be a very soft material that feels good next to your skin unless you are wearing canvas or similar thick options.

Then if you do have some cotton that feels itchy or scratchy, you can always soften the material to make it feel smoother when you wear it. Try some baking soda and some vinegar, not together, and see which ingredient softens your cotton clothing the bet.

What makes cotton itchy is the fabric's ability to absorb detergents which then leave a residue behind that causes the itchy feeling.

Why is Some Cotton Itchy?

The processing may make some cotton materials itchier and less soft or smooth than other varieties. Chemicals, quality of the fibers, and other factors lend their hand to making the material feel itchy.

Then the way cotton plants are grown can contribute to that itchy feeling. Not all cotton plants are grown in the same soil, the same environment, or have the same treatments so the result is a lower level of cotton fiber that will itch.

One important factor is how you launder your cotton clothing or bedding. Cotton absorbs a lot of moisture including soap and fabric softeners. When the wash is done, not all of that soap and other chemicals disappear. Those items make cotton feel rougher than they should be and cause it to be itchy.

A little white vinegar in the wash should help remove that residue and keep your cotton clothing, etc., soft.

Is Cotton Yarn Itchy?


Not normally. It is one of the go-to yarns to avoid any itchy feeling when you take that yarn and turn it into something gorgeous and wearable. Bamboo and linen are two other go-to yarns to use when you do not want to itch as you walk or work.

If by chance the cotton yarn feels a little itchy or rough, you can take some steps to soften it up and make it feel like you want it to. Sensitive skin is another issue here and even the smoothest of yarn can feel a bit itchy at times to those people.

Plant-based yarns usually do not trigger any allergic reactions while some animal-based yarns will. Read the label son the yarn and go for cotton as most likely it will be as soft and smooth as you want it to be.

There are always exceptions to the rule and the quality and processing of those yarns may have some types a little itchy. Nothing is going to be perfect in this world.

How Does Cotton Feel?

Initially and usually, cotton feels soft, comfortable, and like a friend giving you a nice hug after a bad day. In other words, it has a good feeling when you touch it. Normally, cotton is soft but different types of cotton fabric all have their own feel to them.

It would be impossible to list all the different feels or factors that produce those textures. There is just too much variety in cotton fabrics. Lightweight cotton feels different from medium weight and medium weight fabrics feel differently than heavyweight ones. And on it goes.

Then the processing of each type of cotton will add their own touch to the fabric and how smooth or soft it will feel. In a general sense, cotton feels soft and comfortable no matter what type it is. Just the level of softness and smoothness will be different.

You can always influence that soft feel by the way you wash and dry the material. You are not out of the loop in this issue and can take good steps to make cotton feel nice and soft.

Does Egyptian Cotton Feel Like Silk?

This topic is getting into what is called a gray or subjective area. What feels soft and silky to you may not feel the same to other people. The world is filled with differences which makes it a unique place to live.

Egyptian cotton is normally nice, soft, smooth and some people will mistake it for silk. Just like they mistake satin for silk because of its softness and the smooth feel to the fabric. Yet satin is merely a weave style and not a fabric of its own.

This style of cotton is not always made from Egyptian cotton even though it is called that. Sometimes Egyptian cotton is made from North American cotton plants that were replanted in Egypt.

To have this style of cotton bedding feel like silk sheets, check the thread count. The higher the count the softer the sheet. The only drawback here is that sometimes manufacturers exaggerate the thread count for whatever reason they may have. So be careful and make sure you are getting what you paid for

How Does Egyptian Cotton Feel?


Egyptian cotton does come from Egypt and due to the long growing season there, the cotton fibers are longer and smoother as well as softer than other cotton fibers. Grown in the nutrient-rich Nile Valley, these cotton fibers are said to be the finest of them all.

That translates into Egyptian cotton sheets feeling soft, smooth, and wonderful next to your skin. In comparison to flannel sheets, Egyptian cotton is the silk of the cotton varieties. But again we come into a little gray area here.

Because according to some people, Egyptian cotton is not the best version of cotton around. Some like Supima or Pima cotton is grown in Arizona over this version of cotton. They also say that anything marked 100% cotton is made from Supima cotton and not any other variety but that applies to bed sheets only.

When you see words like oxford, percale, or sateen on the labels, those words refer to a style of weave and not a version of the fabric. Each weave will influence the soft feel of Egyptian or other cotton varieties.

Does Organic Cotton Feel Different?

This would be one of the processing and growing influences that we talked about earlier. How cotton is grown does influence how soft the material will feel when woven or kitted into a nice fabric style.

All organic means is that something was grown without the aid of chemicals, pesticides, or artificial agents. Those may affect the softness of the cotton eventually. The processing style will have some say in the level of softness you feel when you wear or sleep under organic cotton.

As well as the quality of the organic material. Just because it says organic does it mean that the fabric is always woven, etc., in a top-quality manner. Organic cotton may be healthier than regular cotton fabrics but it will have the same range of feel according to those factors.

It may also be better for people with sensitive skin but that too is a trial and error issue. Then the thread count will have some say in how soft or rough organic cotton will feel like. The higher the thread count the better the softness.

Which Type of Cotton Feels Like Cashmere To The Touch

It would be hard to say as cashmere is a unique wool that comes with super soft but short fibers. Those fibers come from a special goat bred to produce such soft hairs. Cotton can be spun in the same way and make it feel like cashmere but to name a specific cotton variety that would answer the question is quite difficult.

This is a subjective area as well as what feels like cashmere to one person may feel like regular wool to another. Everybody’s touch and feeling sensation are different. Plus, the cotton would have to be very lightweight in nature to feel a little like cotton.

If the cotton was woven in the exact same way as cashmere is, then you would find that just about any cotton type would feel like cashmere. Let’s just say that low-quality cashmere would feel more like cotton than high-quality cotton would feel like cashmere.

That would be a better comparison as fine cotton materials are not always made into clothing items like cashmere is. They are woven into bedding and towels instead.

Can Cotton Feel Like Polyester?


It is very difficult to make natural materials feel like artificial ones. Cotton’s feel is a cut above polyester and other synthetic fabrics. That is because plastic cannot copy the natural feel that comes with plant or animal-based materials have.

That is the key here. Polyester is made from petroleum products and plastics and while manufacturers can soften the polyester down, the artificial feel remains. Cotton is just smoother, softer, and better than polyester.

It would be difficult to lower the feel of cotton to make it feel like polyester. Natural softness can never feel like plastic does. We may be hard on polyester here but there really is no comparison. Despite the upgrades to polyester processing, it will never feel natural or like cotton.

Part of the reason for that statement is based on the chemicals used to create polyester. Those chemicals do not have a natural feel to them either and only enhance the artificial feel that comes with polyester.

It is very doubtful to make natural fibers feel like plastic.

How To Make Cotton Feel Softer

If you do get some rough feeling cotton materials or you have washed them so much that the laundry soap or fabric softener has left lots of residues, there are items you can use to soften the cotton.

First, is a natural way. When your bedsheets are new, you should hang dry them in the sun. Let the sun’s rays soften the material for you. This is done after the first wash. Or you can use dryer balls to help soften the cotton materials up.

Fabric softeners tend to leave chemical residue behind which adds to the roughness. Dryer balls are all-natural and should fluff up your cotton fabrics without that problem taking place.

Or you can add 1/2 cup of vinegar to your wash and let that solution remove the residue build-up. Your sheets can be new or old, doesn’t matter here, and the vinegar should freshen up your sheets at the same time.

Finally, a cup of baking soda should do the same thing as vinegar does. Use warm water not hot to make sure all the chemicals from the new sheets are removed.

How To Make Cotton Less Itchy

This can be done by washing your cotton items a little more often. Often the extra washing can soften the material so that it doe snot feel rough any more. Or you can try using the right fabric softener, either in your washer or your dryer load.

Using the right fabric softener should smooth out those rough patches and have your cotton feeling good again. Then if you do not like fabric softener you can use dryer balls to help soften your cotton clothing or other items. This is a very safe method to use.

Finally, you can try baking soda or vinegar in the amounts prescribed already. These natural products keep your cotton items safe from harmful chemicals. As a caveat here, there are no guarantees made, your results may differ from others.

How To Make Cotton Feel Like Silk


Other than trying to make the material soft through different laundry techniques already mentioned here, the objective is more up to the manufacturer than you. It is fairly difficult for you to turn cotton sheets into a silk-like feel.

We are not trying to duck the issue here but making cotton feel like silk is like trying to turn a Chevy into a Rolls. It is very hard to do once the fabric has been woven. Satin or sateen weave styles come close but that is done for you.

The other way to do it would be to buy a higher quality of cotton clothing or sheets. Or up the thread count when you replace your old sheets.

Some Final Words

When you get right down to it, cotton has a natural feel that pleases a vast majority of people. It is soft, comfortable, and smooth, for the most part, and does not have any artificial feel to it unless blended with a synthetic material.

It is a great fabric to have next to your skin and with all the positive characteristics that come with cotton, you have a nice fabric to work with or wear. Cotton will feel food on you.

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