Over the years in clothing care history, humans have invented a lot of things that will make taking care of clothes easier, from detergents to lint rollers, you name it! Garment steamers can be mysterious at first, but as people learn how to steam clothes, it gets easier, especially when you know the advantages of it.
Garment Steamer: Advantages and Disadvantages
A garment steamer is typically a vertical handheld device that releases steam to help remove the wrinkles from your clothes. The steam from this tool will help remove wrinkles and tidy up your clothes without touching your garments.
The process is quite simple, as the user just needs to hold it in their hands and wave it over the clothes, letting it hover and release its steam into the clothes.
- No bulky additional purchases like an ironing board. When using garment steamers, there will be no need for you to place the clothes on the ironing board.
- Steamers are usually smaller in size, so they take up less space.
- Using a garment steamer is also more convenient, as you won’t need to turn your clothes around and around on the iron board.
- A steamer is also quicker at doing the job. There is no need to get the clothes off their respective hangers and fold them up and around; you can just steam your clothes while they hang on the hanger.
- There is less risk of ruining the clothes through burning, or placing too much heat on the fabric, especially for more sensitive fabrics like silk, velvet, and satin. Using a steamer is also gentler on clothes, so the fabric will be less prone to wear and tear.
- Steamers have many functions. Steamers also offer more than just getting rid of the creases and wrinkles on your clothes. They can also get rid of bacteria, dust mites, and bed bugs. It can even be used on soft furnishings.
- Achieving a sharp and crisp look would be difficult and technically impossible.
- If you are in a hurry, steamers are not so great of an option as you cannot wear the clothes immediately after you steam them as they can still be damp.
- Steamers are not capable of removing creases and wrinkles in tough fabrics.
- Deep-seated creases can be extra hard to remove, and you might want to opt for an iron to do the job.
- When using steamers with smaller water tanks, you may need to refill the steamer as it may require repeated refilling.
How to Steam Clothes: Steps and Processes
After preparing your garment steamer, your clothes, and everything else you need, get ready to steam your clothes effectively.
- Get your steamer ready. By this, it means pouring water into the tank before turning the garment steamer on.
- After turning the steamer on, wait for 2 to 3 minutes. After waiting, you can test the steamer by pulling the trigger or pushing a button and seeing if it does not have any issues and works just fine. Give the steamer enough time to convert the water into steam. Remember to always test the quality of the steam by sampling it in the air or on another surface. Testing the steam can minimize the risk of over dampening your clothes.
- Prepare your clothes and, if they haven’t already been hung, hang them in the location where you want to work on them. Hanging your clothes is the most effective position for them when they are steaming. Make sure you hang your clothes in a way that you can reach and steam every part you want to.
- In contrast to using an iron, using a steamer does not require pressing it into the fabric. However, an effective motion pattern for steamers would be down strokes. Having a patterned motion would loosen the wrinkles more effectively.
- Give it time to dry. Steam is water in a gas phase, and it is still capable of leaving wet marks on your clothes. Therefore, you would need ample time for your clothes to dry. Do not worry, as it will dry quickly in just about 5-10 minutes after steaming. Before steaming your clothes, make sure to secure about 10 minutes of allowance time so you won’t have to wear damp clothes.
A Closer Look at Garment Steamers
While garment steamers’ purposes can be quite apparent to us, not all steamers are alike. Like any other tool, they also come in different shapes and sizes. Their sizes can differ depending on the nature of use and price range. To understand the science behind garment steamers, it would be helpful to get to know the parts that make up the whole.
As the majority agrees, this is the most important part of the steamer. This is the foundation of all the actions this tool could possibly take.
This is the part that usually determines the steamer’s capability, as performance and capacity are usually dependent on the type and size of the water tank. So, if you are opting for a steamer, you need to check and choose a tank that can accommodate your needs.
Steam is necessary and practically the reason for its purpose. Garment steamers are heavily reliant on steam as it is the most important part of the whole process of steaming your clothes. Thus, every steamer has a heating element. The heating element is usually dependent on the size of the tank. The larger the tank, the higher the performance heating element it requires.
The steam nozzle is the one that directs the steam to your clothes. Most of the time, steamers come with soft brushes that are used to get rid of hair or other unnecessary mess on the clothes while steaming.
When using a garment steamer, it’s important to have control over the temperature as some types of fabrics may be more sensitive than others and can’t take higher temperatures. Note to self: check the clothes’ care instructions to see what temperature they can take and what temperature is their limit.
Some steamers come with hose pipes, especially larger steamers. The larger steamers have hose pipes attached to them to let the steam pass from the tank through the pipe and into the nozzle.
Take note that it’s important to keep the pipe straight when using it. This is to ensure that pressure is not affected and compromised. Take care of yourself when using a garment steamer, especially if it’s set to a high temperature, because steam is dangerous and can do damage to your skin.
Tips For A More Effective Steaming Process
- When steaming overly wrinkled clothes, you might want to steam from the inside or underneath the fabric. Steaming on one side can damage clothes with highly sensitive fabrics.
- When dealing with delicate fabrics, do not let the steam have too much direct contact with the cloth. Allow 1-2 inches of space between the fabric and the nozzle. Let it be 1-2 inches away from the areas you want to target.
- While there are sensitive fabrics that restrict your steamer’s temperature in some ways, there are also ideal types of fabrics to steam. Wool, wool blends, cashmere, silk, silk blends, synthetic wool-like fabrics, and other delicate fabrics.
- There are also fabrics to avoid. It would be best to avoid waxed jackets, suede, and anything plastic. High-temperature steam can melt them.
- It is recommended to steam from top to bottom.
- Remember to steam clothes when they are hung using a hanger and never while you are wearing them.
Other Uses of the Garment Steamer
Garment steamers do not only work on your clothes, but also on other things. They can be useful for cleaning inside your home.
Garment steamers release high-pressure steam that can kill germs and bacteria. Therefore, they can be used to sanitize surfaces like countertops. A steamer is qualified to sanitize bathrooms and kitchen areas.
Removing stains and grease
High pressure helps in softening the stain, so pointing the nozzle at the target area will let you have an easier process of stain removal. Also, damp places are very susceptible to mold. Molds are attracted to damp places. Using a steamer helps in removing mould and prevents it from building up.
Steamers are also effective in removing grease. If you have a problem with grease buildup in your appliances, like ovens, and other surfaces, you can point the nozzle and clean up. Steamers can clean up curtains, carpets, shower door stains, etc.
Propping up upholstery
Steamers can also clean cushions and cover sheets. Using a garment steamer can refresh and revitalize upholstery. The nozzle allows for targeting stained areas, and high pressure will help clean up the surfaces.
Taking care of clothes is essential and there are a lot of ways to do it. One of these ways is with garment steamers. Garment steamers are helpful in getting rid of wrinkles from your clothes. And so, learning how to steam clothes is essential, especially for those who opt for them more.
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.