Not people have steamers which is really a shame since they cost just a little more (sometimes the same if you catch a sale!) than a standard iron.
Steamers will extend the life of your clothes. Exposing a garment to an iron crushes the fiber itself. Steam literally relaxes it.
They are far safer than irons. Have you ever rushed home screaming “I left the steamer on!” You can tell when a steamer is on and when it is off just by looking at it. Not so with an iron. I received a pretty bad burn on my hand as a teen when I picked up what I thought was a cooled iron.
And they are so much faster! I don’t know about you but I HATED how long an iron took to heat up! Let’s face you wake up in the morning all prepped to wear your fave blue dress to your power meeting but OH NO! it fell off the hanger is in a crushed heap on the floor of the closet. You can have that steamed in 10 minutes. No joke. How many times have you avoided wearing something simply because it was wrinkled?
You can also use your steamer to clean quilts, pillows and comforters but be sure they are completely dry before making up the bed. Steam also can freshen up upholstery and mattresses (Some claim that steam kills dust mites, but there is no scientific data to back that up. ) There apparently is a way to use a clothes steamer to make quick work of removing wallpaper!
Fabrics or textiles that cannot take heat or moisture, should never be steamed. If a garment is labeled – dry clean only – steaming could damage or leave moisture spots on the fabric. And use caution when steaming, especially with colors that could run; best to test a small area inside a seam first. When in doubt, leave it for the experts at the cleaners.
Our leader Bridgette Raes, who considers herself a bit of a steaming snob, loves the the Home Touch Garment Steamer and offers some additional steaming thoughts and tips:
“Leaning to steam is a rite of passage among fashion designers right out of school. Believe me, I have done my fair share of steaming! In fact, we used to say that part of the initiation into the fashion design world was to endure multiple steam burns. In time, you get masterful enough to avoid them, but, be careful, a steam burn can really hurt! In the industry, we use Jiffy Steamers which are industrial and incredibly powerful. They’re also expensive and unnecessary for home use. If you want to invest in a Jiffy Steamer you won’t be sorry, however, for the money, I have been really impressed by the power of the Home Touch Garment Steamer.”
Bridgette goes on to give the following tips on steaming:
- Steam from underneath- It’s a skill you develop after the boring task of steaming dozens of garments in a day. The weight of the fabric against the steam head gets the wrinkles out quicker. Obviously, some parts of the garment can’t be steamed from the underside, so an under, over approach works well.
- Avoid steamers for cotton-Lycra fabrics, especially over the seams- Steamers are great but some garments require a hard press. In the case of cotton-Lycra fabrics, especially when steaming over seams that curve, you can actually do more harm than good. Because Lycra and cotton react differently, the fabric can start start to pucker. Steam or moisture in these areas do more harm that good. A dry iron is often better. If you notice that your steamer is causing puckering near the seams of your garment, stop steaming and either get it professionally pressed or, ugh, break out the iron.
- Don’t overfill your steamer- This is definitely the case if you are using an industrial Jiffy steamer. Obey the fill line on your machine and don’t overfill unless you want to create your own geyser of hot, steamy water in your home.
- Don’t expect your steamer to press clothing- Like mentioned earlier, some fabrics do require pressing to get a sharp finish. Steamers are great for lightweight fabrics or on tailored fabrics, like tailored pants and jackets, if you want to get a few crease wrinkles out between dry cleaning. However, if you find that a steamer doesn’t work on your husband’s wrinkled cotton shirts, for example, it isn’t the steamer it’s the fact that a steamer can’t do this sort of job.
- Let your clothing dry before storing- Steamers use moisture and it’s very normal for your clothing to be damp after using. Allow your clothing to dry thoroughly before shoving them into a cramped closet or folding. You will only create more wrinkles if you don’t.
- If you don’t have a steamer, try the shower- If you don’t have a steamer, and what you want to wear has wrinkles needing to be released, try taking it into the shower with you. Hang the garment as close to the shower as possible without getting wet. The steam won’t be as focused as it would be if you used a steamer, but for a quick fix this works. I swear by this trick when staying at hotels.
- Instant facial- Okay, this one is sort of a joke, but we used to say that all assistant fashion designers had the most beautiful skin from the steam. Seriously, don’t use it as a form of skin maintenance. I’m just kidding with this tip.
Lastly, one word of caution. If after a few months your steamer isn’t working as well as it used to, might want to check to see if there has been some mineral build up. Cleaning it with white vinegar might do the trick. You can also use spring water instead of water from your faucet to keep you steamer in check.