Garment steamers are a quick and easy alternative to ironing, particularly for difficult-to-iron items, such as a blazer, or fabrics such as silk or satin. When properly used, garment steamers have several advantages over irons, including being less damaging to clothing fibers than iron heat. The steam relaxes the fibers, releasing wrinkles but not damaging the fibers themselves. Follow these instructions to prevent steam burns as well as release wrinkles.
Read the instructions for using your steamer carefully before applying steam to clothes. Pay special attention to rules concerning putting water into the unit as well because heat levels for different types of fabrics.
After putting water into the unit, turn the steamer on and give it an appropriate amount of time to heat. As a general rule of thumb, the steamer is ready to use when it is emitting a steady stream of steam, not spurting or puffing. While you are waiting for the steamer to fully heat, hang up the garment you wish to steam. For best results, a long clothing bar that allows easy access to both the front and back of the garment is best. However, the garment also can be hung on a hook, such as that of the back of a bathroom door.
Time to Steam
Because the steam used drifts upward, it is a good idea to steam from the bottom up for best overall results. Starting at the bottom, test the steamer by measuring how far away you can hold the steamer in order to release wrinkles. Holding the steamer too close to delicate fabrics, such as satin, can cause scald marks. Start by holding the steamer at least 8 inches away from the fabric. If the wrinkles do not seem to be releasing, you may wish to move the steamer closer.
Pulling the garment taut with your hand, run the steamer over an area, then smooth the area with your hand to release wrinkles. If the garment is large, such as a long dress, steam portions of it at a time, working your way upward then to the center.
In addition to steaming from the visible side of the garment, you may wish to steam underneath the garment. This is particularly useful for garments that have beading, sequins or embellishments.
While the steamer should not leave clothing completely wet or spotted, the clothing could be damp. Allow the clothing to completely dry before wearing or storing in order to keep the wrinkle-free results.