Do Garment Steamers Work?

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As every fashion stylist knows, a garment steamer is a must-have accessory when it comes to getting clothes prepped for the next photo shoot. At home, it is an invaluable resource. From travel size to floor models, garment steamers save on time spent ironing and on trips to the drycleaner. Learn why garment steamers work and how to use them for the best garment finish.

Safe to Use

  • Gentler on fabrics than an iron, a garment steamer removes wrinkles from virtually every textile good -- from clothing and drapes to furniture covers and tablecloths. Only strong fabrics like cotton and linen can withstand pressing, which applies more heat than a steamer. Other fabrics, like satin, polyester and lace, can melt if touched with a hot iron. A garment steamer can be used on all of these fabrics without scorching them.

Restorative Nature

  • A garment steamer restores shape to a garment that has lost it. High-end fabrics like organza and chiffon that have been flattened on a garment rack must be steamed in order to regain its body. When it comes to creases, a garment steamer either lessons the appearance of creases or removes them entirely. Steam loosens and relaxes fibers. Stretch and reshape a tight sweater with the help of a garment steamer. The steam loosens and relaxes the tight knit fibers, allowing you to ease out trouble areas like the bust or arm sleeve.

Gets the Difficult-to-Reach Spots

  • From the cuffs of a silk shirt to the ruffles of a fine skirt, a garment steamer tackles even the most difficult-to-reach wrinkles in a garment. A garment steamer permits you to steam from the underside of garments. This is ideal for dresses and skirts with an added layer of lining. When ironing, the lining often develops wrinkles as the top layer of the clothing is pressed.

Can Be Travel Size

  • Garment steamers are often found in floor-model versions, which fashion and wardrobe stylists typically use for heavy-duty steaming during film and theater productions. But hand-held steamers are light and small enough to take when you travel. Use a hand-held steamer in the home as a space-saving option to the larger models.

When Not to Use

  • Certain buttons, trims and embellishments can be damaged by steam. Sequins can curl, buttons can peel and elastic can lose its stretch if steam is misused. Do not apply steam to these areas, or keep the garment steamer head at a safe distance. Always refer to the care label.

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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