Using A Steam Iron or Garment Steaming - Which is Better?

You may be wondering what the fuss is about steam ironing and garment steaming, right? First, it may be good to establish that both ironing and steaming serve the same purpose, to remove wrinkles from clothes.

Both methods use a combination of heat and steam to straighten the fabric of clothes, thus eliminating wrinkles. Which one, therefore, is better?

To decide whether using a steam iron or a garment steamer is better, consider the following:

1. What types of fabrics will you be ironing?

Both ironing and steaming generally work for all fabrics. When you are ironing synthetics, however, you need to note that the soleplate of the iron can easily get too hot and cause scorching.

A steamer, however, works well for light fabrics. For materials like linen and cotton, the iron works better as its pressure and weight will aid in wrinkle removal. Lastly, very heavy garments that are hard to maneuver on an ironing board are easier to steam when hanging, as well as those that have embellishments like beads and sequins.

2. What volume of laundry are you looking at?

How much laundry do you have to get through, and how much time do you have? If you have the whole day and you love ironing, go ahead and use a steam iron. A good commercial steam iron is recommended if you iron a lot of clothes. See our review of the best commercial steam irons here: and make an informed decision.

If you do not have a lot of time to iron, however, steaming is your best option. Consider, also, that using a steam iron will need the ironing board to be set up, and time to heat up, unlike a steamer.

3. Uses of the iron/steamer

The iron is ideal for pressing creases, pleats, pockets, and darts, i.e. anything that needs flat pressing. If you need to iron garments that require a crisp finish, therefore, the iron is best.

The garment steamer, however, works well for garments that do not need a crisp finish, like most synthetics. In addition, the steamer can be used to smoothen and freshen clothes that are not washed often, like suits, heavy jackets, drapes, pillows, etc.

4. Long-term fabric damage

How does each method work? The steamer uses steam to relax the fibers of the fabric, without causing any permanent damage. The iron, however, smoothens wrinkles by using heat and weight to crush the fabric's fibers. With time, fabrics that are subjected to constant ironing may begin to wear out.

5. How much do you want to spend?

On average, even the smallest high-quality steamer will cost more than a simple steam iron. As you decide which of the two appliances to purchase, consider the price, reviews and after-sales service.

6. Workspace

An iron requires a firm, flat ironing surface (an ironing board or an ironing table), which may take up quite a bit of space in your house. If you do not have much space in your home, a steamer would work better, as you just need to plug it in and direct it towards to the garment.

From the pointers above, you can see that both the steamer and the iron have their merits and demerits. The choice, therefore, is up to you, based on your needs and of course, your pocket!

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