Maggie Marilyn’s Maggie Hewitt and Olive Cashmore On How To Clean Your Clothes
When it comes to fashion and sustainability, I often think a piece that’s missing from those conversations is what we should do with the clothes we already have. How can we get the most out of the garments currently hanging in our closet? How can we clean and care for them in a way that extends their shelf-life and ultimately incentivises us to buy less over time?
In honour of Earth Day, I asked Maggie Marilyn designer Maggie Hewitt, and her Design and Sampling Manager Olive Cashmore, to answer a few key questions.
Looking after silk can be tricky, and a lot of girls are terrified they’ll ruin it. What are your general rules for cleaning and caring for silk garments? And is it true that you should never get it wet?
Silk is a bit of a tricky fabric to care for however it’s also an incredibly strong and durable fibre that has been worn for thousands of years! Don’t be scared of ruining your silk, it won’t break! But here are some simple guidelines that you can follow. Personally, I don’t often dry clean my silks as I think the chemicals are too harsh, especially on silk. Hand washing is your best option.
Never put your silk in direct sunlight to dry – always dry it in the shade or a safe place inside.
If you’re spot-cleaning a mark, make sure you fully submerge your garment so it’s completely wet to avoid water marks, then hang it to dry or lay flat (and don’t squeeze the water out as this will crease the silk too much.) Water or rain can leave your silk with water marks. If this happens, come home and hand wash it with soap and rinse. If the marks don’t come out, then take it to a trusted dry cleaner and see what they can do.
‘Wonder soap’ is an awesome product for cleaning silk and you can buy it from the supermarket.
Avoid over-washing your silk, give it the sniff test and if it doesn’t smell it doesn’t need to be washed!
A question for you guys, would you like to see a cleaning tutorial video? Would this help? Let TTC or Maggie Marilyn know.
How does ironing and the use of intense heat impact certain fabrics? Are there any you’d recommend steaming or using another gentle method to remove creases?
The trick with ironing is to make sure your temperature is suited to the fabric. If you’re nervous, do a patch-test on the corner of the garment first, or start the temperature low as you can always make it hotter. Don’t leave the iron in contact with the fabric for too long as this will burn the fabric. For delicate fabrics like silk I often place a tea towel overtop of the garment before ironing to create a safe barrier.
There are two great tips for getting creases out: Firstly, grab your garment off the line when it’s still damp, just before it’s fully dry. The damp mixed with heat gives the garment a crisp finish. Secondly, dampen a tea towel and place this on top of the garment and then iron on top. If your iron has the “spray button” you can press, use this! Your shirts will love you for it.
Onto denim! Is it true that you should never wash your jeans? And what’s the most effective way to remove stains if you can’t wash them?
No, I wouldn’t say that at all! Denim is an incredibly hardy and durable fabric. Most denim jeans have gone through such intense washes before you even buy them, especially blue denim that’s made to look worn. So they won’t change much in appearance because most of the colour is already gone. In terms of black denim, wash inside out and with other dark colours. Stains are hard. Unfortunately some things just won’t come out, but try a couple of washes and then dry flat in the sun and the stain should begin to fade.
It seems like a general rule of thumb is to store all your knitted items lying flat, rather than suspended on coat hangers. Why shouldn’t we hang our winter woollies?
Yes, you definitely shouldn’t be hanging your wool, it will drop and lose its shape. Especially big chunky knits, there is a lot of wool that makes up that knit, so the weight of it hanging will be too heavy. You want to make sure these pieces last.
Keeping with the topic of wool, what’s your best advice for avoiding/getting rid of pilling? Is there a particular brand of fabric comb you love?
Wool will always pill a little bit due to the natural nature of the fibre. I do recommend investing in a good quality piece though, as it will pill less because the yarn is of a better quality. I don’t actually own a fabric comb, I am one of those weird people that sit down and pull the bits off! However fabric combs are great, just use them gently. I would recommend our Somewhere merino pieces, I personally wear-tested these garments when they were in the design process and the quality is beautiful.
Aside from the usual advice of washing all of your whites together, how can we keep our white tee shirt’s looking fresh and, well, white?
Get your white t-shirts in the sun! The sun is a natural bleacher. I was cooking a curry the other week in my white 01 T-shirt and got the sauce right down the front (classic for me, always spilling food). I washed it the next day and lay it in the direct sun, and the stain came right out. Turn your t-shirt inside out and get the underarms, where deodorant can stick, and any marks in the sun.
Is there a supermarket brand of washing powder that you’re both a fan of in terms of low environmental impact and efficacy?
Ecostore are a great option. They’re affordable if you’re on a budget and kind to the environment. Also see below an entirely natural make at home washing detergent recipe:
1 cup distilled white vinegar.
1 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
And lastly…A huge part of Maggie Marilyn’s goal in creating a circular and regenerative business comes down to the fabrics you use. You’ve said that by the end of this year, 50% of your collections will be made using repurposed and recycled materials. What inspired you to set such an ambitious goal for your team, and are you on track to achieve it?
We have always been really ambitious as a business, I think you have to be ambitious if you want to see change. We believe moving fashion to a circular based economy is the solution to truly being a sustainable industry. We have enough existing garments and materials to last us all multiple lifetimes so we have to find creative solutions for diverting these garments and materials from landfill. We are still on our journey to completing this goal, but we are feeling optimistic.