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Steamer vs Iron

When one needs to iron the clothes, a person might wonder “Do I use a steamer or an iron?” To answer this question, one must understand the differences between both of these appliances.


Steamers perform as well as irons when it comes to eliminating tough wrinkles on clothes. Also, they are very efficient at removing dust mites and allergens from fabrics since their powerful jets of steam can permeate deep into home textiles thus killing all germs contained within them. This is a great advantage especially for people who have sensitive allergies or asthma so this way you don’t have to spend more money treating your allergy symptoms just because of the dust mites that accumulate in your bedding, carpets, or upholstery.

Steamers can finish the job faster with less effort from users, plus they don’t have the tendency of burning fabrics as opposed to ironing. Steamers use humid heat instead of dry heat so it does not damage clothes the way ironing can.

Steamers are really beneficial especially when it comes to removing wrinkles and freshening up fabrics. Ironing is great in smoothing out wrinkles but tends to do more damages than good when used improperly, which may require users to spend more money on pricey repairs or replacement costs due to fabric burns and other types of wear and tear that might be brought about by ironing.

Ironing clothes, which essentially runs on the concept of heating up metallic plates to apply pressure on textiles in order to smooth out wrinkles, may cause damage to some types of fabric. Ironing requires more effort compared to steaming because you have to go over each spot several times for it not to look crinkled. If you are planning on using iron for your garments, then there’s a need for you yourself or someone else who knows how to do it properly since irons can leave burn marks on clothes if utilized improperly.


Features of iron:

  • The iron is attached to a cord. It has a metal tip at the bottom, which heats up when plugged into an electrical outlet.
  • The steam comes from water that is put inside the appliance. The steam then exits out of a hole near the tip of the iron, allowing one to press clothes flat and smooth.
  • It also has a dial on top with settings for various fabrics, such as cotton or polyester. After selecting the right setting for the clothing one intends to iron, only then can it be pressed onto fabric without causing any damage.
  • A small container holds water for this purpose; usually around 100 milliliters/ 3 fluid ounces

Features of steamer:

  • When you are ironing, you are being abrasive or rubbing fabric together. You’re not just smoothing out the appearance, but you’re actually roughing up the fibers of your clothing.
  • In contrast, steamers do not use direct pressure to smooth fabrics. In fact, they keep the fabric from touching at all. This means that steaming cleans and removes wrinkles without causing any damage.
  • A handheld steamer usually lasts for around three months before needing to be replaced or refilled with water, according to Brezina. He also says that a standing steamer should last for about two years of regular usage.
  • People may feel like iron is going to get more out of their clothes. It’s going to get more of the creases out. It’s actually the best appliance to use when you’re wearing something for maybe just an hour or so, but not all day.
  • Ironing can also damage clothing, which is why some people opt to steam instead. Just make sure you find out what materials your clothes are made of before deciding on how they should be cleaned.


Types of irons

 There are two major types of irons, steam and dry. Both have their own specific uses that they are best suited for.

  1. Steam irons are the most common type of iron available. They use steam to remove wrinkles from clothing through direct contact with the cloth and heat. The steam produced by this appliance reduces the appearance of creases by relaxing the fibers in the material. These irons generally last around three years or more before having to be replaced with a new one.
  2. Dry irons, on the other hand, do not use water or any kind of steaming mechanism in order to smooth out wrinkles in the fabric. Instead, a metal tip heats up to smooth out the fabric. Furthermore, dry irons are generally smaller than ones that use steam.

Types of steamers

  1. Handheld steamers: this type of steamer is usually seen as a small appliance that can be held and moved around. Usually, these types of steamers are attached to a cord that gets plugged into an electrical outlet for it to work properly. It heats up through the use of water that is placed inside it. The user then presses the hot steam onto clothes in order to remove wrinkles from them.
  2. Standing steamers: these types of steamers can be found at home or in professional shops, such as dry cleaners and hair salons. Some people even have their own standing steamer at home so they can clean their clothing without having to pay for services every time they get dirty. People must fill the water tank with tap or distilled water before steaming their clothes. The maximum amount of time that will be needed to steam a certain piece of clothing is around five minutes.
  3. Tower steamers: these are not as common as both handheld and standing types of steamers are, but they are still available for purchase. Tower steamers usually consist of an electric base where one can fill it up with water. It also comes with a tray that enables users to place fabrics on top of it so they can be steamed much easier than using just the tower alone.

Safety precautions

Using an iron for extended periods of time can be dangerous not only to clothing but also to the user. Iron burns may result when pressing or touching heated surfaces, hot metal shanks or edges, steam vents, badly fitting clothing, or other articles.  When using iron-on clothes that are made out of paper-like materials like silk and satin, you must read the manufacturer’s instructions before deciding how much heat should be applied to these fabrics.

Steaming is safer than ironing clothes because it keeps people at a distance from the appliances used for smoothing fabrics. This reduces the risk of burns resulting from direct contact with hot surfaces of irons or standing steamers. Furthermore, it keeps wrinkles from sinking deeper into clothing after several hours.

If you are using a handheld steamer, make sure to hang clothing in order to prevent the formation of water stains. Also, people should wait for about 20 minutes before wearing their freshly steamed clothes in order for them to cool off and dry up after removing them from the appliance.

Economy of electricity

The use of iron can be more cost-efficient than using a steamer because the former only needs tap water to be used, whereas the latter requires distilled or bottled water. You also don’t need to refill it every time you want to steam clothes, unlike steamers that require users to fill up their tanks with water after about five minutes of continuous use.

On the other hand, the use of a steamer is very economical over time because it doesn’t consume as much electricity as irons do. Moreover, if your house runs on a gas heater instead of an electric one, then you’ll definitely save a lot on bills since boiling water takes a shorter amount of time compared to heating up electrical appliances.  In addition, steamers take less effort to use, unlike irons.

With the various types of steamers available today, consumers have a variety of choices that can help them save more money in the long run. For example, standing steamers don’t need to be refilled as much as handheld ones do, and their water tank can hold a larger volume compared to hand-held ones.

Tower steamers are convenient because they work faster than handheld steaming appliances and do not require users to bend over because it is attached to an electric base where one can fill up its tank without having to carry it around or keep track of its cord while working on different garments. Tower steamers also come with trays for the placement of clothes after filling up the tank.

Economy of your time

Ironing takes around 15 to 20 minutes while steaming clothes takes less than two minutes. People who like spending their time doing things that are more productive may prefer using steamers because it is not only faster but also cheaper in the long run compared to irons.

There are really no disadvantages when using steamers. Even if you own an iron, there are instances when having a steamer handy can be more convenient especially if you live in humid climates or do not have access to clean water whenever you want to smooth out wrinkles on your clothes.

Steaming clothes comes with countless benefits; even people who use plastic wrap during storage, travel with them outdoors, and stuff them into their closets will attest to this fact. Using steamers makes clothes thinner and reduces the formation of wrinkles over time. Steamers also do not smooth out just creases but can help remove stains as well without discoloring or damaging fabrics.

Price issue

Steamers cost around $30 to $40. However, it is cheaper compared to an iron which costs around $20 or more depending on its brand and features.

Regardless, you can find steamers that are available at a lower price than their corresponding irons. For example, there’s the Conair GS28 Ultra Professional Series Garment Steamer (1 count) priced at less than $50 for both online and local retailers while Rowenta DW8080 Pro Master Focus 1700-Watt Micro Steam Iron (1 count) costs over $100 in most stores.

Recommendations for usage

  1. To reduce the risk of burns, one should consider purchasing a handheld steamer that automatically turns off after 8 to 10 minutes if it remains stationary for too long.
  2. Steaming clothes is not only safer than using an iron, but also easier and faster in certain cases. This can be especially helpful when in a hurry and need to steam several pieces of clothing without having sufficient time to use an electric standing steamer or taking them all to a dry cleaner.
  3. When you are finished with your clothes, put them on hangers and keep them away from sources of heat such as radiators until they have dried up completely
  4. Irons should only be used on clothing made out of cotton and other natural materials, while steamers can be used on all types of fabrics.
  5. Ironing boards should always be covered with a clean, thick towel so no one will get hurt or burned by it
  6. If you are using an iron board, make sure to put the steam-release button away from your body so you don’t accidentally press it by accident
  7. When ironing clothes is necessary, people should use the lowest possible temperature settings available on their irons in order to avoid burning them. If clothes are still badly wrinkled after just steaming them once, they might need to go into the dryer for ten minutes before being ironed.
  8. Make sure that the water tank on your handheld steamer is always filled with fresh, clean water and never over-filled. When the appliance has been on for a few minutes already, you should wait until it cools down before refilling its tank because you do not want to get burned by touching the hot surface of the appliance.

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