Place the dried cornhusks in a pan or dish and cover with hot water, allowing husks to soak until soft (thin, pliable husks require less soaking time than tough, brittle ones). Softening cornhusks can take up to 30 minutes.
At least 30 minutes before assembling your tamales, soak the dried corn husks. Fill a large pot, or your sink, with hot water and place the dried corn husks in the hot water to soak (a dinner plate may have to be used to hold corn husks under water).
As you'd expect, there's corn silk between the husks, but I've found leaves and dried bugs as well. It's all harmless and easy to discard. Soaking the husks: