A clothes steamer is a great alternative to irons for conveniently removing wrinkles from clothing and long, heavy fabrics, like draperies and upholstery. Tailors have used professional steamers for decades, but you can get the same results with a home clothes steamer.
Types of Clothes Steamers
Choose a steamer based on the type of materials you need to steam, as well as frequency of use.
Standing Clothes Steamers. A standing clothes steamer is handy for home use. This type of fabric steamer has a sturdy base containing a water tank, a metal hanging pole, a hose and nozzle, and a hanger. Keep its size in mind. It may require as much storage space as a vacuum cleaner.
Travel Steamers. Travel steamers, also known as handheld steamers, don’t have a floor base. They’re easy to take with you for crumpled clothes that have spent time in a suitcase. They’re also efficient for touch-ups at home. For easy steaming, simply hang your clothing on a shower curtain rack, doorknob or the back of a chair.
Steam Clothing Care Systems. For the household with a high volume of dry cleaning and ironing needs, an all-in-one laundry steamer system that includes sanitizing and pants-pressing functions may be your best choice. These high-end systems are pricey but may pay for themselves in saved trips to the cleaners. They’re also useful for steam cleaning hard-to-wash-items like bedding, pillows and stuffed animals.
No matter which you choose, look for a model with an automatic shut-off for when the water runs out or in case the unit overheats. Also, check for multiple settings, so you can control the amount of moisture the unit generates.
Tips for Using a Clothes Steamer
A steamer can remove wrinkles from most standard fabrics. However, there are some materials you don’t want to steam, like suede or vinyl. Test a small corner if you are unsure, and check the label for additional information.
Garment steamers can get wrinkles out of hard-to-iron items, including screen-printed t-shirts or textured fabrics like lace and ruffles. For printed clothes and delicate materials, it’s a good idea to turn the item inside out prior to steaming to avoid damage.