How to Use a Garment Steamer Properly
Why wait for the dhobi to remove wrinkles from a dress or shirt when you can easily iron it without even having to set up your ironing board? A garment steamer can be an excellent alternative, provided you know how to use it correctly. These handy devices use high-temperature steam, often reaching 200 degrees or more, to smooth out the fabric and eliminate wrinkles. Many people prefer steamers over irons because they pose less risk of damaging their cherished clothing.
Nonetheless, the effectiveness of the best clothes steamers hinges on proper usage. If you're not careful, you might end up with water splatters and just as many wrinkles as before.
If you're unsure whether to opt for steaming or ironing when caring for your prized possessions, it's worth considering the advantages of garment steaming. Choosing steaming over ironing is beneficial for maintaining the fabric's quality. Many of us have experienced ironing clothes and noticed that the fabric can appear shiny, which happens when excessive heat crushes the garment's fibres. Steaming, on the other hand, is a gentler method that avoids this fibre-crushing issue.
The list of pros doesn't end here - In addition to its fabric-preserving benefits, steaming offers the added advantage of killing bacteria on clothing due to its high-temperature steam. Moreover, many handheld steamers are exceptionally compact, requiring less storage space compared to an iron and ironing board. Furthermore, they boast versatility beyond just clothing care. As the saying goes, "A steamer is not limited to garments alone," as it can also be employed on curtains, various fabrics, and upholstered furniture. Additionally, a clothing steamer can effectively eliminate dust or dust mites from textiles, contributing to allergy relief.
The Right Way
Hang the Clothes A notable distinction between ironing and steaming lies in the clothing preparation process. While ironing typically involves laying clothes flat on an ironing board, steaming is more effective when you hang up the garment you intend to work on.
#BorosilTip: To achieve optimal steaming results, it's recommended to suspend your clothing item from a glass shower wall or door and commence the steaming process from the top and work your way down. Alternatively, you can also use a wooden or painted door, but it's advisable to place a towel as a protective barrier when hanging the garment.
Let it Heat All the Way Up
Numerous handheld garment steamers boast a rapid heat-up time, and it can be tempting to start steaming your clothes as soon as you notice the initial wisps of steam emerging from the nozzle. However, it's advisable to exercise patience and allow the steamer to fully reach its operating temperature before applying it to your clothing. This ensures a consistent and effective steam flow that swiftly removes wrinkles while minimizing the risk of the steamer sputtering on your garments, a situation that can occur if there's residual water in the nozzle from previous use.
#BorosilTip: Once you observe the initial steam, it's a good practice to grant the unit an additional 60 seconds of heating time to ensure optimal performance.
Distilled Water for the Win
It's worth taking a moment to consult the manual, primarily to determine the type of water recommended for your specific steamer model. Most garment steamers require the use of distilled water to function optimally, as using other types of water can potentially harm both the appliance and your clothes. Water sourced from wells, for example, may contain elevated levels of iron or other minerals that have the potential to cause discolouration during the steaming process.
#BorosilTip: It is advisable to stick with purified or distilled water as your top choice for filling your steamer's reservoir. Using water with mineral content can also lead to clogs in the internal components of your steamer, necessitating more frequent deep cleaning and potentially shortening the lifespan of the device.
Keeps Fabric Taut
One of the most common errors people commit when using garment steamers is allowing their clothing to hang loosely during the steaming process. Garment steamers function by relaxing the fibres in the fabric, but if you simply let the fabric dangle, these fibres may return to their original wrinkled state as they dry.
#BorosilTip: To achieve optimal results, position the steamer at the top of your garment and gently move it downward. For the best outcomes, gently pull down on the lower part of your garment while steaming to ensure the fabric remains taut. By doing so, as the fibres are steamed, they are stretched straight, resulting in a smooth and wrinkle-free surface when they dry.
Nozzle Placement is Important
Understanding the correct nozzle placement is crucial when using a garment steamer. You can safely steam a variety of fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool, silk, and synthetic materials like polyester and nylon. However, it's essential to be aware that certain materials should not be steamed. Suede, leather, and waxed jackets, for instance, are best entrusted to professional cleaning services to maintain their crisp texture, as using a steamer can cause them to melt and damage their appearance and feel. Different fabrics require specific handling for optimal results. When steaming cotton, wool, synthetic materials, and fabric blends, it's advisable to place the nozzle directly on the fabric while steaming. This ensures that the steam thoroughly penetrates the fabric, expediting wrinkle removal.
#BorosilTip: However, it's crucial to exercise caution with delicate fabrics and maintain a distance of at least 1 inch between the steamer and the garment to prevent watermarks or streaking. Furthermore, the angle at which you hold the steamer is equally important. Visualize it as a pitcher of hot water – tilting it too far forward can result in damp clothing and potentially hot toes.
Don't Forget to Clean After Use
The convenience of using a steamer lies in its simplicity and easy storage. However, it's important to perform occasional cleaning to prevent the buildup of limescale and minerals that can clog the wand and nozzle. This cleaning routine should be followed even if you use distilled water to ensure your steamer continues to perform optimally. To do so, fill the water tank with distilled white vinegar (a popular cleaning product), then switch on the steamer as usual. Position the steamer over a sink and run it until the tank is empty. Subsequently, refill the reservoir with fresh water and repeat this procedure. Allow all the components to thoroughly dry before storing your steamer in your laundry room or designated storage area until its next use.
#BorosilTip: It's recommended to clean your steamer every two to four weeks to maintain its peak performance.
Safe to say that knowing how to use a clothes steamer properly can make a significant difference in the appearance and longevity of your clothing. So, make the most out of this versatile appliance and enjoy the benefits of well-maintained, wrinkle-free clothing.