I don’t know about you ladies out there, but if there is one household chore I hate… and I mean HATE! … its ironing. I’d sooner mop the house and wash bathrooms than iron my clothes. I’d sooner dress in knits than cotton shirts and dresses. I’d sooner hire someone just to iron my clothes, if I had the means to. You get the general idea. I hate ironing.
A few years back however, I purchased a contraption that hasn’t made me love ironing clothes any more, but it has made me tolerate ironing just a little bit better. Enter the clothes steamer, or garment steamer, however you want to call it.
You might have seen this contraption in boutiques or the fashion departments in departmental stores. I used to notice it but I never quite thought about buying one for myself. It was only when I was chatting to a friend who used to own a boutique, that she pushed me into buying one – the best investment you can ever make, she told me. Know what? She was absolutely right!
Thanks to her connections, I purchased my clothes steamer from one of those little shops where boutique owners go to buy their supplies. So, mine is the industrial version, the one you will see being used in little boutiques – the not very attractive version. Since then, I’ve noticed in recent years, that some popular household brands like Phillips have come out with a more domestic version of the garment steamer that looks better.
Do excuse the mess. My laundry room is always a disaster :P
The concept behind the clothes steamer is simple. The water in the holder is heated up and the steam generated is pushed up through the hose and out through the nozzles. It is this hot steam that “irons” the wrinkles out of your clothes.
Using it for the first time takes a bit of work because its not quite as easy as you might imagine it. To optimize the use of the steam, you have to iron from the inside of your clothes. So, you hang your dress on a hanger, then slide the nozzle under and inside, and watch the wrinkles fall out on the outside. Its almost magical, especially when you are working with delicate and light material.
Be warned however, that steam is very hot. Science class would have taught you that steam is generated only with boiling water and it is at the same temperature as boiling water, so using a clothes steamer is a very hot, sweat inducing affair, and one if you are not careful, can cause burns on your hands. I’ve blistered my hands countless times from being careless or overly optimistic.
I find that using a clothes steamer has cut down my ironing time, especially when I work with light material – chiffon, silk – or synthetic material – nylon, polyester. These materials are delicate to start with, and using a conventional iron can sometimes result in disaster. With the clothes steamer you don’t have to worry about burning, melting or scorching your clothes of delicate fabrics anymore. Just run the nozzle lightly under the fabrics and you’re done. Especially helpful for clothes with strange cuts or ruffles or lace too.
However, cotton shirts and clothes still need the press of a conventional iron. Using a steamer helps the wrinkles fall out, but it never looks as crisp or smooth as when you press it with an iron. So guess what? I’ve reduced the number of cotton shirts in my wardrobe – yes, I hate ironing that much :P
Who needs a clothes/garment steamer?
- If you hate ironing
- If you can live with some wrinkles in your cotton shirts, you (and I) can use this on cotton shirts and clothes too.
- If you wear a lot of clothes made of delicate or synthetic material.
- If you want to get wrinkles out of your knitwear.
- If you don’t want to spend too much time on your ironing.
- If you like gadgets.
I can’t extol the virtues of a clothes steamer enough. It is truly a Godsend for ladies who hate ironing or who don’t want to spend so much time on your ironing or who have clothes of delicate material that you don’t know how to handle. I don’t have to worry about burning my clothes anymore, and I still don’t enjoy doing my ironing, but at least when I do it, I know I’m getting it done more quickly :)
Oh and it makes a great face steamer too – LOL! (Kidding! Face steaming is a side effect, don’t go holding it to your face or you will likely steam the skin off it :P )
Do you own a clothes steamer too? Do you love this as much as I do? Or are you now contemplating getting one? I promise you, you will not regret it one bit!
I purchased my clothes steamer from a boutique supply shop for about RM350 about 2 years ago. There is no brand and is some random Made in China product. There are various brands available for domestic purchase now and I know Phillips has one but I don’t know the price.