If you are looking for the softest fabric, you are in the right place! Whether you are looking to choose a fabric for your next piece of clothing, or are deciding between bedding options, it helps to know which the softest fabrics are, in order to make the best choice!
What are the softest fabrics? Natural fibers tend to produce the softest fabrics available, like silk, cashmere, and certain types of wool, among others. There are also a few soft synthetic fabrics, including bamboo lyocell. There are also a few ways to soften other fabrics you already own.
Not many of us know the softest fabrics around off the top of our heads, so to get you started, we have compiled a complete list of the softest fabrics out there.
Some of these fabrics are more accessible and affordable than others, while others are rarer and come with a higher price tag. Whatever you are looking for, take a read through the below to find the softest fabric for your specific purpose.
What Is The Softest Fabric?
It is tough to say outright what the softest material is, as people do have their own preferences for the material they prefer to use.
Nowadays, there are both natural and synthetic materials. Previously, only natural materials were used, and now as synthetic materials and the process of making them has advanced, some synthetic materials can be just as soft as their natural counterparts.
There is such a wide variety of materials available today, and deciding which fabric is the softest is difficult. However, it does seem that natural materials still reign supreme as the softest fabrics around, but synthetics are quickly playing catch up.
Wool, bamboo, hemp, and cashmere fabrics are as soft as can be and are an absolute pleasure to wear and use against your skin.
To help you better understand the difference between soft materials, we have broken them down into two main categories, natural and synthetic fabrics. All of these fabrics are super soft and are suited to different uses.
Softest Natural Fabrics
Natural fabrics, for now, still remain as the softest fabrics out there. There is just something about that natural feel, free from synthetic properties, of natural fabrics that put them above synthetic.
Natural fabrics are great for many reasons. Not only do they retain that soft, natural feel, but they are mostly hypoallergenic, and for those who suffer from polyester allergies, natural fabrics are a great option.
The downside of using natural fabrics is that they do carry a higher price tag, as the materials used to make the fabric, and the process of making the fabric itself, does not come cheap.
However, natural fabrics are of high quality and have some great characteristics. They last longer than most other fabrics too, so the initial investment is worth it.
It is worth noting that natural fibers do take some special care and attention, and maintaining natural fibers does take some work. They are fairly delicate, and one wrong wash can ruin the fabric!
Possibly the softest natural fiber is silk. Silk has been a popular fabric for centuries, but it isn’t the most affordable fabric. Here are the softest natural fabrics around:
Silk is an incredibly soft material that is finished with a beautiful sheen. It is considered a high-end fabric, and with its luxurious appeal, it definitely deserves this title.
Even though it is luxurious and incredibly soft, silk is also incredibly strong and has great durability. It is one of the strongest fibers as well, as long as it is not wet!
Silk can be blended with other fibers, such as cotton, to give it more sturdiness, but on its own, it is wonderfully soft, strong, and has a beautiful finish to it.
2. Vicuna Wool
Vicuna wool is one of the softest natural fibers in the world. Vicuna wool comes from vicunas, which live high up in the Andes mountain range. When the wool is knitted together, it is incredibly soft, warm, and luxurious.
Many people think that vicuna wool feels more like satin than wool while keeping all the amazing properties of wool.
It is considered to be one of the finest fabrics you could use, but it does hold quite a high price tag. However, the softness and these amazing properties make it worth it!
Cashmere is another fiber that is considered to be one of the softest fabrics to be found in the world.
Thin hairs of cashmere can be woven into beautifully soft, luxurious pieces of clothing. It is a long-lasting natural fiber as well, but it also does have a bit of a high price tag. This fabric is made from the undercoat of Kashmir goats.
With a high moisture content, cashmere has good insulation properties, and this makes it comfortable to wear in all climates, as it attracts moisture away from the body.
Unlike certain types of wool, cashmere is not itchy or scratchy against the skin and instead is soft and comfortable to wear.
4. Merino Wool
Merino wool is a super-soft and super-fine wool. A single merino wool fiber is around 1/3 of the diameter of a human hair, showing just how thin it is.
When it comes to softness and comfort, merino wool is a great option. It is also very durable and sturdy. It is resistant to piling as well, making it a great option for clothing. It can be used in winter and warmer months, as it regulates temperature well.
Merino works wonderfully as a next-to-skin layer as it is so soft, it has moisture-wicking abilities, and it is temper regulating.
Cotton is a popular fabric that is used around the world. It is soft and lightweight and can be used for so many different purposes.
Made mostly from the cellulose fibers of the cotton plant, cotton is considerably sustainable and when farmed and processed responsibly, is a much more earth-friendly option than other fibers.
Cotton breathes well and allows for decent airflow, which is why it is a popular fabric used for bedding, sheets, and summer clothing. It is soft and cool against your skin.
6. Alpaca Wool
Alpaca wool is soft and silky, and unlike sheep wool, it is not scratchy against the skin.
Alpaca fiber is naturally softer to the touch than sheep wool, as it is smaller in diameter, much like merino wool, which is where its softness comes from.
You can expect a higher price tag with alpaca wool, but it really is wonderfully soft and long-lasting, so it is a favorite among many.
Alpaca wool is also warmer than sheep wool, which is why it is a good option for winter accessories, such as socks, gloves, or hats. The softness and non-irritating feel of alpaca wool make it great for this.
Hemp fabric fibers are long and sturdy, and this means that hemp fabric is not only very soft but very durable as well.
Compared to regular cotton, hemp fabric lasts much longer too. The fibers do not degrade after continual washing, and it retains its soft feel.
Hemp is considered to be sustainable and a better option for the environment, so hopefully with more people recognizing the softness and durability of hemp, it will become a more popular fabric.
Linen is a soft natural fiber that is made from the flax plant. While heavier than cotton, linen is around 30% stronger and is still soft.
Linen can feel crisper at first, but with continued use, linen does tend to soften and become silkier to the touch. It is a good fabric to use for summer and spring clothing, as it is light and breathable.
Softest Synthetic Fabrics
Synthetic fibers might not be what we first consider when we think about the softest fabrics, but as technology advances, synthetic fabrics are becoming softer.
There are three specific synthetic fibers that are considered to be as soft as natural fibers. These are bamboo lyocell, micro modal, and acetate fabric.
Other synthetic fibers such as polyester, fleece, and acrylic can be considerably soft, but they are not near the level of some of the softest natural fibers. The benefit to using them, however, is that they are easy to care for and do not require much maintenance.
Synthetic fabrics are also lightweight and are considerably more durable, so they can last longer too. The downside is that you will be missing that luxurious, soft feel that comes with natural fibers. Synthetic fibers might also be a problem for those who suffer from sensitive skin.
Here are the softest synthetic fabrics:
1. Bamboo Lyocell
Bamboo lyocell is a semi-synthetic fabric. It is made from rayon fiber which is extracted from bamboo plants, and it goes through some heavy processing to be made into a soft material. While the fibers are natural, the heavy processing does make it semi-synthetic.
This is a popular fabric used for sheets and bedding, as it is breathable, cool, and super soft. It’s almost as if you are sleeping on a cloud! Bamboo lyocell fabric can be used all year round, as it helps to regulate temperature.
Bamboo lyocell is also hypoallergenic and bacteria-resistant, making it perfect for many uses in the home.
2. Micro Modal
Micro modal is incredibly soft and silky against the skin, giving the sensation of silk without the need to actually buy silk.
This fabric is known for its premium softness. It is a thin fabric, but this makes it breathable and allows it to wick moisture as well. It is a popular choice for loungewear, undergarments, and athletic wear.
It is a semi-synthetic fiber that comes from hardwood trees. It is a type of modal rayon that is known for its resistance to shrinkage and for its wonderfully soft feel.
3. Acetate Fabric
Acetate fabric is a man-made fiber that comes from cellulose. It is obtained from wood pulp, where a chemical reaction with certain chemicals is used. The result is luxurious and soft.
This fabric is soft and silky and is quite lightweight as well. However, unlike most synthetic fibers, acetate fabric is quite delicate and does need to be hand-washed most of the time.
Garments that are made from acetate fabric tend to be very comfortable to wear and are commonly used as a lining fabric. It has good moisture absorption compared to other synthetic fabrics too.
Soft and comfortable, acetate fabric is one of the best synthetic fabrics you could ask for when looking for the softest and silkiest option!
What Makes Fabric Soft?
What makes fabric soft differs between natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics. For natural fabrics, the way the fibers are made, grown through a natural process, whether a plant or the wool of an animal, determines how soft the fabric is.
Natural fibers often do not require much processing to make them softer than what they are, and this allows them to not change too much.
Synthetic fabrics are a little more complicated. Heavy processing is used to make synthetic fibers, and the way the synthetic fibers are made, and the properties of the synthetic fibers themselves, determine how soft they might be.
However, no matter the process, it is very difficult to get synthetic fibers as soft as natural fibers are. As technology progresses, newer synthetic fabric processing methods are being discovered, and softer synthetic fibers are made.
There are some in-between synthetic fabrics, such as bamboo lyocell and rayon, which are the best of both synthetic and natural fibers, which are considerably close to the softness that some natural fibers have.
Can You Make Fabrics Softer?
There are some ways that you can make fabrics softer at home. This works for some fabrics, not all, but these simple methods can work to soften fabrics to be more enjoyable to use and wear.
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda can be added straight to your washing machine. You can add in your regular detergent, your clothes, and less than 1 cup of baking soda. You can add in less baking soda for smaller loads.
This will help to make your fabrics softer, and will also deodorize your clothes too.
Other than baking soda, you can add in vinegar to your regular wash. You can add the vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser, and this allows it to be added into the wash at the right time.
3. Fabric Softener
You could also add a normal fabric softener to each load that you do. There are some great fabric softeners to use that can soften and deodorize clothes.
Natural fibers will always be considered softer and more comfortable to wear, but there are some synthetic fibers that are wonderfully close to them.
There are some pricey soft fabrics available, but there are also some that are affordable and suitable for daily use. With quite a few options of soft fabrics available, you will definitely be able to find the fabric that suits you best!
What Fabric Is Best For Daily Use?
Cotton is probably one of the best fabrics you could use daily. It is most suited for hot weather as it is lightweight, breathable, and wicks moisture away from the body. This helps to keep you cool in the warmer months.
Cotton is also affordable and is widely available.
Is Linen Cooler Than Cotton?
Linen is considered cooler than cotton, as it has better breathability and moisture-wicking. You will experience less sweat when wearing linen than you will with cotton, but cotton is also very suited for warmer months too.
The lengthy fibers of linen allow for more air to pass through the fabric, which goes a long way to ensure you are kept cool.