My Professional-Grade Steamer Let Me Put Down the Iron for Good
Living in a historic home is one part character and two parts small closets. Add in the small footprint of my 1930s shotgun-esk house, and you can imagine the game of Tetris going on in every nook and cranny. In my bedroom closet, that means a packed rod of clothes that rivals the end-of-season sale rack at a department store—impossible to look through and even harder to keep wrinkle free.
No matter how crisp a top is when I first hang it up, it's doomed the second it hits my overstuffed wardrobe. The only antidote? An efficient de-wrinkling routine.
For many, that might mean pulling out the iron (though the art of ironing might slowly be disappearing). In my world, it's all about the steamer. Hassle-free with zero accessories required (goodbye ironing board), power steaming is simply easier. With all the steaming I do, you better believe the permanent fixture in my laundry room is professional grade too. I don't mess around.
If you're still convinced you have to drag out your ironing board every time you need to smooth a shirt, here are five reasons steaming your clothes is better than ironing.
Steaming vs. Ironing: The Case for Steaming
Steaming doesn't damage your clothes as easily.
While steaming is a safe, gentle way to release wrinkles, ironing comes with a bit of risk. If you don't pay close enough attention to your garment's care label, you could end up with a burn mark. A steamer emits a flow of steam with no contact with the fabric, so there's no hot plate posing a burn risk.
A steamer can be used on fabrics and styles that are difficult to iron.
If you've ever tried to iron a suit jacket, you can understand why hanging the jacket and using a hose with a steam wand on the end would be immensely easier.
It's more versatile.
You can easily move your steamer around the house, allowing you to freshen up everything from curtains to pillows.
It doesn't require any know-how.
There's a technique to ironing. You need to know how to move your clothes about the board and set your temperature just right to create the perfect crease. With steaming, you only have to turn on your machine and push the trigger.
Steam fights odor-causing bacteria.
According to Martha Stewart, you can steam odors out of your clothes. The heat and steam kills odor-causing bacteria and allergens. While you still need to wash your clothes, this can help freshen up fabrics that don't get washed as often, such as curtains, or remove a stubborn smell you can't seem to get out of your clean clothes.
Steaming is simply easier.
All you need is a plug, water, and a hook, and you're ready to steam. While you have to clean the plate on your iron frequently, a steamer requires no maintenance. There aren't any extra ironing boards or accessories that need storage, and it's quick. Simply put, it's easy.
Tips for Successful Steaming
- It's best to steam garments from top to bottom.
- Never steam clothing while you're wearing it. The hot steam could burn you.
- Steam the lining of the garment before moving to the outside.
- Wool, cashmere, wool blends, silk, silk blends, and delicate synthetics are all ideal fabrics for steaming.
- Avoid steaming waxed jackets and suede.
Since a steamer does not press creases into fabric, there may be a rare occasion that you'd want to grab your iron. Pressed shirts aside, I'll stick with my steamer.