Garment Care Guide
You can only fit so many words — about 10, actually — on the teeny-tiny care label that's sewn into our garments. In reality, we have a lot more than 10 words to say about how to care for your clothing, Margu and otherwise, so we made a whole webpage about it.
We recommend hand-washing *almost* all our garments to keep them in the best shape possible. If you're new to hand-washing or just want to see if you've been doing it right, here's a quick walkthrough:
- Fill up a sink or basin with cool/cold water.
- As your sink is filling up, add a tablespoon or so of fabric detergent (or however much your detergent recommends; you don't need a lot). We recommend you choose a detergent that works on delicates and that is free of optical brighteners, chlorine, phosphates, and the ever-so-murky word "fragrance." Take a look at our recommendations here.
- Once the sink is filled up, add your garment and thoroughly swish it around. Depending on how dirty it is, you can leave it in the sink for up to 30 minutes, swishing it around every so often.
- Drain the sink, and refill it with cool/cold water. If the item you're washing is particularly delicate (like wool or silk), make sure you aren't shooting water directly on the garment as you're filling up.
- Swish the garment around, and drain the sink again. At this point, you can do another rinse if your item is extra dirty or if you added too much soap, but it shouldn't be necessary.
- Gently squeeze your garment. You want to remove as much water as you can at this point without wringing or twisting. The item should still be dripping wet, but not waterlogged.
- Lay your garment flat on a towel. Roll the towel and the garment up into a roll, gently squeezing as you go.
- Unroll the towel and proceed to drying your garment!
Most of our garment labels say "Line Dry," but that doesn't mean you have to string all your clothes in your backyard to do it right. Clotheslines work great for drying if you have space to set one up, but for smaller spaces I recommend a foldable clothes-drying rack (I personally use and love this one). Once you're done squeezing the extra water out after handwashing, just hang up your clothes and wait for nature to do its thing. Quick tip: clothes will dry a lot faster if they're in a sunny or otherwise well-lit spot.
For more delicate items, or for any item where you're worried around maintaining its shape, such as a sweater, you can do a flat-dry by placing the garment flat on top of a towel, blocking it in the shape of your choice. Once the top is dry, turn the garment over to give the bottom side some air.
Ironing, Pressing, and Steaming
If you've invested in a wardrobe full of natural fibers (yay for you!), you definitely need to invest in a good iron. Make sure your iron has adjustable heat for different types of fibers as well as a good steam function.
I won't go into how to use your iron here (there are lots of online resources for that!), but I do have two pieces of advice:
- Don't be afraid to use steam! Steam is what's really behind the magic of the iron, and you really can't use too much of it.
- For super pesky creases that won't come out no matter how much you press them, try spritzing the spot with some water from a spray bottle, thoroughly wetting the crease, and then press. Voila!
Finally, if the idea of ironing all the time is horrifying to you, you should still definitely have an iron, but I recommend you think about buying a steamer. A good steamer can get most wrinkles out of clothing while your clothing is still on the hanger and without having to set up a board. I use Jiffy steamers both for my personal wardrobe and for Margu and highly recommend them.
How Often Do I Need to Wash?
How often you should be washing your clothes depends on the type of clothing as well as how vigorous your day-to-day lifestyle is (in addition to your personal preferences, of course!). My recommendation: wash your clothes when they feel, smell, or look gross. This may be after one wear if you're running around all day outside in your Margu dress, or it may be after five wears if you lead a pretty sedentary lifestyle.
Here's a tip: if you want to save the water (and time) of starting a load of laundry and the garment in question really only needs a touch-up before you wear it again, you can make your own germ-killing fabric freshener spray using a few household ingredients:
- 2 ounces distilled water
- 2 ounces vodka (don't splurge for the fancy stuff; any kind will do)
- 10 drops of the essential oils of your choice (optional)
Shake the mixture up in a 4-ounce spray bottle and spray away!
Machine Washing & Drying
We don't recommend machine washing or drying our garments due to the tremendous wear and tear machines can put on clothing. (Seriously, clothes wear out so much more quickly when they're put through numerous high-heat drying cycles than they would otherwise.) That said, I'm human, you're human, and sometimes hand-washing is just not going to happen. I've put several Margu garments through the wash (due to a combination of curiosity and occasional laziness), and I've picked up a few tips:
- Use cold water! This is not only better for the environment, but it's better for your clothes.
- Use the delicates function, and put your garment in a mesh delicates bag before dropping it in the machine.
- Don't over- or under-stuff your machine, and use appropriate soap.
- You can usually safely dry cotton garments on the lowest heat setting available in your dryer. The higher the heat you use, the worse of a beating you're giving your clothing. (Kind of like with hair.) Low/no heat is ideal.
- DO NOT PUT SILK OR WOOL IN THE DRYER, EVER. Bad things will happen.
All our garments are technically dry-cleanable, and we do deem a select few of them "Dry Clean Recommended," but generally speaking, we don't recommend you dry clean your Margu pieces.
Why is that? Well, dry cleaning is not the most earth-friendly process. The majority of dry cleaners use a chemical known as perchloroethylene (aka perc) that is an air pollutant as well as a likely carcinogen. Since we're not so much into pollution or cancer, we recommend you avoid the dry cleaner if you can.
What about all the garments in your closet that say Dry Clean Only, you ask? Three answers:
- A lot of Dry Clean Only items (such as silks and most sweaters) are actually hand-washable, as long as you're gentle!
- Most of the Dry Clean Only garments that aren't hand-washable are things that probably don't need a total wash anyway, such as coats and suiting. Try spot-cleaning them with our DIY garment freshener spray mentioned above.
- If you need to bring your clothes to the cleaners and live close to a metro area, look for a wet or liquid CO2 cleaner rather than a traditional dry cleaner. The methods they use are just as effective and don't leave your clothing covered in weird chemicals!