Why is a clothes steamer better than an iron?
Here we look at some of the main benefits of clothes steamers.
Avoids damaging or burning your clothes
While irons are the popular choice for removing wrinkles they do come with a potential risk of damaging certain clothes if not used properly. Here are a few ways that an iron can cause damage:
- High heat setting: If the iron’s temperature is set too high for the fabric it can scorch or even burn the item. This is especially true for delicate fabrics like silk, nylon, or polyester.
- Incorrect ironing technique: Applying too much pressure or leaving the iron in one spot for too long can also cause damage. It’s important to keep the iron moving in a smooth, gliding motion to avoid concentrating heat on one area.
- Not using a protective cloth: Some fabrics, for example silk or synthetic blends, are more susceptible to heat damage. To protect these delicate fabrics, it’s advisable to use a press cloth or a thin cotton cloth between the iron and the garment. A good example is ironing trousers. Without a cloth to protect and/or the right ironing settings and technique, you can easily get shiney spots on the fabric, particularly along raised areas like the seams.
- The iron leaks water: If the iron’s steam function leaves water stains on the iron’s soleplate, it can leave unsightly marks on the fabric. These can be difficult to remove and may even cause permanent damage.
- Ironing delicates or detailed items: Items with delicate embellishments like beads, sequins, or delicate lace can be easily damaged by direct heat from an iron. These items require extra caution, and sometimes it’s better to use a clothes steamer to remove wrinkles without risking damage to the delicate details. This is especially true for items like wedding dresseshwere steamers have recently become popular.
Perfect for delicates
Let’s look at point 5 above in more detail.
The reason why clothes steamers are better for delicates lies in the difference in approach between a steamer and a steam iron.
A steam iron is an aggressive approach to removing wrinkles. Using a combination of steam, heat from the sole plate and pressure from the weight of the iron, the wrinkles are removed by compressing and crushing the clothes fibres.
A clothes steamer however works to relax the fibres and gently bring them back to their natural state. Not only does this help to reduce the risk of damage it also helps the prolong the life of the garment over time. As mentioned above, clothes steamers work well for delicates like wedding dresses, but are also popular for pre-loved clothes and the movement towards increased sustainability.
Similarly, items with delicate embellishments like beads, sequins, or delicate lace can be easily damaged by direct heat from an iron. These items require extra caution, and sometimes it’s better to use a clothes steamer to remove wrinkles without risking damage to the delicate details.
Easy to use on larger items
With curtains you have to remove from the curtain rail and it’s difficult to handle on the ironing board.
A steamer lets you steam curtains in-situ. There’s no need to remove from the rail.
They are in fact in the perfect place to steam direct, and you will find you can steam a set of curtains in just 15-20 minutes and instantly see the results!
The same applies to sofas, cushions, bed linen; even pillows.
Not only are creases removed but the steam action removes nearly all of the odour causing bacteria, so your house feels fresher.
Effective at removing odours
Clothes steamers have an added benefit over steam irons. The steaming action from a clothes steamer, particularly a Propress, means fabrics are deodorized, which can be useful for sanitzing things like baby clothes and bedding.
How is a steamer better at deodorizing than a steam iron?
- Penetration of steam: Clothes steamers produce a continuous flow of hot steam that can penetrate deep into the fabric fibers. This helps to reach and eliminate odour-causing bacteria and particles that might be trapped within the fabric. The steam can effectively freshen up the garment from the inside out.
- No direct contact: With a clothes steamer, there is no direct contact between the steamer and the fabric. This means there is no risk of transferring any residual odors or contaminants that might be present on the iron’s soleplate. The steam is the primary agent for refreshing the garment, ensuring a clean and odour-free result.
- Versatility in garment placement: Clothes steamers allow you to steam garments while they are hanging or draped, without the need for an ironing board. This flexibility allows for better air circulation around the clothing, aiding in odour removal. It also makes it easier to steam larger items like curtains or drapes that may be difficult to handle with a steam iron.
- Steam sanitization: The high temperature of the steam produced by clothes steamers can help sanitize garments by killing bacteria, allergens, and germs that may be causing unpleasant odours. This sanitization process can be particularly beneficial for items like baby clothes, bedding, or items that may have been stored for a while.
The perfect travel companion
Portable handheld steamers, like the Propress MINI, are perfect when you’re on the move. They pack compactly in to your suitcase, and when you arrive you can freshen clothes up without the need for an ironing board.
It means that now you can relax on the journey, safe in the knowledge that any creases caused by the journey or in packing them in to carriers or suitcases can be tidied up when you arrive.
Ultimately, the choice between a clothes steamer and an iron depends on your specific needs and preferences. But if you value convenience, versatility, and a gentle approach to garment care, a clothes steamer might be the better option for you.
For more on the benefits of a clothes steamer versus an iron, click here.