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Clothes Steamer vs Iron – Which One Is Better?

is steaming clothes better than ironing

From time to time, you will pull a cloth from your closet with the desire of wearing it only to find that it is wrinkled up. In such a scenario, you will need to remove the wrinkles with either a clothes steamer or an iron.

However, though both result in a crisp look, they are not at per. You will find that at certain times utilizing a steamer will be better than using an iron and vice versa. As such, this article will walk you through the following:

difference between iron and steamer

Know About Clothes Steamer

Steamers typically operate by heating water till it turns into steam. Afterward, the steam is channeled, to the wrinkled fabric, where it relaxes the garment’s fabric, consequently straightening it out.

As such, clothes steamers have their benefits and drawbacks as below:

  • Pros of using clothes steamers

1. Steaming clothes do not require an ironing board.

2. Using a clothes steamer does not require the following of concurrent orders and turning clothes. Moreover, you need not worry about damaging your clothes’ fabric. Therefore, using a steamer relatively easy.

3. Steamers, in terms of their use and set up, are generally quicker than irons. Moreover, you need not remove clothes from their hangers. Direct the steam towards them, and within a couple of minutes, you will be good to go.

4. You can use steamers on soft furnishings without ruining them.

5. Steaming is gentle on clothes hence reducing the likelihood of damaging them.

6. With steaming, soft and delicate materials such as velvet and silk are less likely to burn.

7. Aside from straightening out clothes, steamers have alternative uses such as killing dust mites, bed bugs, and the like from your mattress and other furniture.

8. Steamers use steam only to straighten clothes. Therefore, they are environmentally friendly.


  • Cons of using clothes steamers

1. Holding the steamer up becomes tiresome, especially when steaming numerous clothes.

2. With a clothes steamer, you do not get creases that are deeply set.

3. In the case of a highly portable steamer, you will have to add water to the water tank frequently because their water tanks are small.

4. Once you are through with steaming, you cannot wear your clothes immediately as they might feel damp.

  • When do you need a steamer?

clothes steamer instead of iron

When you have a steamer, the best times to use it tend to be determined by the amount of time you have and the fabric at hand. As such, it is advisable to use a steamer in the below situations:

1. If you have the appropriate know-how to safely use a steamer without damaging the fabric at hand or harming yourself.

2. If you are in a hurry, using a steamer will straighten your clothes out in a fraction of the time using an iron would.

3. If you are on the go, a portable steamer will help straighten your clothes quickly.

4. If you are dealing with heat-sensitive materials such as silk, a handheld steamer enables you to straighten them without posing the threat of burning them.

5. If you are dealing with crushable materials like corduroy, or velvet. A steamer is your safest bet.

6. If you do not have an ironing board or a suitable surface to iron on, yet you have a steamer.

7. If you are straightening out the below items, then a steamer will be best:


Know About Irons

steamer vs iron which is better
does iron damage my clothes

Ironing occurs because the iron produces heat that loosens the bonds holding long-chain polymer molecules in your clothes together. When weakened by the iron’s heat, the hot molecules enable the fabric to straighten out through the iron’s weight.

Moreover, once the molecules cool, they will hold on to the new shape laid out by the iron’s weight.

As such, irons have the below pros and cons.

  • Pros of using irons

1. Irons come in two makes, dry or steam; this enables you to choose a method that will give you the best possible result.

2. Irons heat quickly and also regulates themselves.

3. Using an iron is easy on your arms as you do not need to lift them.

4. Irons provide deep creases that stay for comparatively longer.

5. Given you have damp clothes, ironing will result in the production of light steam. The steam will help dry the fabric while providing a crisp finish.

6. Modern irons incorporate safety features such as an auto-off setting that enables their safe operation.

  • Cons of using irons

steamer vs iron for dress shirts

1. Before you can work your way comfortably using an iron, there is a steep learning curve. During this period, you might seriously damage the fabric.

2. Unlike in the case with steam, irons require accessories such as ironing boards or ironing blankets to work effectively.

3. Moreover, these items are typically bought separately from the iron. It is something you might find costly at times.

4. Taking out and storing the ironing board tends to be quite annoying at times.

5. Irons can only be used comfortably with a limited number of materials.

When do you need an iron?

As in the case with the clothes steamer, when deciding on whether to use an iron box or not, you should consider the amount of time you have and the fabric at hand as follows:

1. If you are not in a hurry because ironing generally takes more time.

2. If you are looking for a professional look with deep creases, ironing is the way to go.

3. If you have the appropriate know-how to, safely use an iron without damaging the fabric at hand or harming yourself.

4. If you are straightening out the below items, then iron will be best:

    • Dress shirts
    • Table linens
    • Sheets
    • Dress pants
    • Linen items
    • Pillow covers


Cautions when Using a Steamer or Iron

is steaming clothes better than ironing

Whether you choose a steamer or an iron, be careful that you will not be hurt. Keep the following safety tips in mind all the time when you use them.

  • Safety tips when using a steamer

Though the steam may seem relatively harmless compared to boiling water, it is far more dangerous due to the larger surface of your body that steam can burn or scald compared to boiling water.

As such, when using a steamer, take the following safety tips into account:

1. Steam forms a cloud-like atmosphere that drastically reduces visibility.

Therefore, work in a well-ventilated room to avoid such. However, if one forms, stop working and wait till it dissipates.

2. Work away from electrical appliances and sockets or cover them adequately since steam is still water.

However, unlike water, steam can reach electrical appliances and sockets easily. Consequently, resulting in their destruction and even electrical shocks.

3. Cover the surface you are working on using a thick piece of rag to avoid condensed steam from accumulating on the floor that will make it slippery.

4. Do not use steam at temperatures higher than a hundred and twenty degrees Fahrenheit.

If you need to go above the said temperature, ensure you use protective clothing like gloves, boots, a long apron, and eye protection.

  • Safety tips while using an iron

how to use handheld steam iron

While using an iron hardly comes health warning, iron can be quite dangerous when carelessly handled. As such, the below safety tips will help you ensure you take the utmost care while using irons.

1. Use sturdy ironing boards with safety latches while ironing.

The ironing board’s design is such that it is to be heat resistant while being high enough to prevent children from reaching the iron placed atop it.

2. Restrict your ironing to when kids are not around.

Children are typically attracted to irons, perhaps due to their designs, resulting in contact burns.

3. Safely position the power cord.

If you are using an iron with a power cord, ensure the power cord is adequately insulated, then run it through an area you cannot easily trip on it.

If possible, try and get a cordless steam iron to avoid complications that may arise from improper power cord positioning.

4. Do not leave your iron unattended.

If you have kids or pets in your house, never leave the iron unchecked as they can easily pull the power cord or try touching the soleplate, all of which might result in regrettable pain.

5. Avoid multitasking while ironing.

Do not try studying, texting, drinking, or watching a show while ironing. Multitasking reduces your concentration that might result in you not noticing a child playing with the power cords.

6. You ought not to use electric irons near water.

While using electric irons, ensure you do so away from water or anything liquid in nature to avoid any issues that may arise due to the liquid coming into contact with exposed wires.

6. Buy irons with safety features.

Modern irons have auto shut off. The auto shut-off ensures the iron shuts down whenever it is idle for long or in the event of a power blackout.

7. After use, pack up the iron and the ironing board.

Admittedly not the most exciting thing to do, ensure you put away the iron and iron board when you are through.

8. Installation of safety procedures.

At times it might be impractical to pack away your iron and ironing board if you use them nearly every day. In such a scenario, install safety gates to keep children away from the items.



Is steaming clothes the same as dry cleaning?

best handheld garment steamer

Yes and No.

Yes, because you can steam your clothes instead of taking them to a dry cleaner.

No, because dry cleaning utilizes a machine, and the chemical perchloroethylene. Whereas, in steaming clothes, steam is the only thing required.

Can I put essential oils into my clothes steamer?

Although it may seem quite an essay since you are already putting water in the steamer, a few drops of essential oils cannot seem that bad.

Never put essential oils in your clothes steamer as the essential oils will damage them. Look into the manufacturers’ recommendations before putting essential oils in your steamer.

If the manufacturer’s instructions have nothing about essential oils, then do not attempt to add them.



Both steamers and irons are efficient when it comes to straightening fabric.

However, when choosing between a steamer and an iron, you should consider Your level of expertise, the time at hand, and the fabric type.

Moreover, follow the guidelines laid out in the above article and the manufacturer’s manuals, for further assistance you can always contact a professional.