Steam Iron vs. Dry Iron

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Laundry with iron in background
Laundry with iron in background (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Ironing the wrinkles and creases from our clothing is the most effective way to get a quick, clean look, especially when dressing up. Two different types of irons -- steam and dry -- can get the job done, but some fabrics are better suited to either one or the other.

Dry Iron

Man using dry iron
Man using dry iron (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Dry irons are now the old-fashioned, classic type of iron. Its simplicity lies in only having to adjust the temperature of the iron depending upon the type of fabric. The benefit of the dry iron is that as long as it is never left unattended and monitored carefully while in use, it will not likely ever cause harm to your garments. Nowadays, the dry iron can be harder to find and is sometime more expensive. However, for some fabrics, such as silk, dry irons are the only option.

Steam Iron

Steam iron
Steam iron (Image: AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images)

Steam irons are today's standard iron; they are quicker, cheaper and easier to find. They also usually have the ability to either be used as a dry iron or a steam iron, depending on the project at hand. Steam irons are known to work quicker to release wrinkles and are more effective on bigger items. They can be more complicated to use than dry irons because you not only adjust the temperature but also the amount of steam being used. Wools will need much more steam than most average items of clothing, for example. However, as with dry irons, steam can damage certain types of fabric and must be monitored carefully.

Considerations

Iron with holes for steam
Iron with holes for steam (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

Most irons that are sold in stores today have the ability to be used as either a dry iron or steam iron depending on what you need. Be aware that when using a multifunctional iron as a dry iron, the holes where the steam comes out can cause marks on certain fabrics. Take the time to test your iron on different fabrics and types of clothing to determine which setting is best for each. Never use the steam iron on any fabric, especially silk, without checking the tag to see what can and cannot be used for each article of clothing.

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