Steaming Vs Ironing Clothes – Which Should You Prefer?

By Consumer Advise Team
Edited On

So you have clothes with reputed designer labels in your closet. But this does not necessarily mean you will look good in them. Perfect fitting and proper care ensure that you look good in the fabrics. While the ideal fitting is a discussion for another day, let’s discuss the caring part. More precisely, let’s focus on handling the wrinkles in your garments.

So what can you do to remove such unwanted wrinkles?

Well, steaming or ironing your clothes are the two options.

But which one is the better alternative?

That is the answer we will search for as we take a look at steaming vs. ironing clothes.

steaming vs ironing

Steaming vs Ironing: Differences At A Glance

Point of DifferencesGarment SteamingIroning Clothes
Water RequirementWater is essential for a steamer to function.Unless it is a steam iron, an iron operates without water.
ApplicationIdeal for jackets, coats, etc.Ironing is ideal for everyday shirts and pants.  Ironing is best for formal clothes.
Ease of useSteaming clothes is easy as the steamer is a very lightweight appliance.Irons are heavier than steamers.  
ProcessClothes are hanged while being steamed.Clothes are laid out during ironing.
EffectivenessCreases are challenging to handle when steaming.Handle creases easily when ironing your clothes.

Garment Steaming – The Applicability and Benefits

 A steamer uses the application of moisture or steam for its operation. Materials like silk, synthetics, wool, velvet are heat sensitive. Applying direct heat to such clothes for flattening is a bit risky. This is where the best garment steamer comes in handy.

steaming clothes

Uses of Garment Steamers

The usage of steam in the device removes the risks associated with directly applying heat to the garments. Modern designs of the device even have temperature controls that allow efficient working. The device itself has a variety of uses. Let’s take a look at some of them.

  • A garment steamer is ideal for cleaning your jackets, coats, shirts, etc. and removing the wrinkles. Just hang the garment and use the device in a downward motion. The device, held at a minimum distance from the garments, possess zero risks of any damage to the fabrics.
  • Upholstery is efficiently cleaned using a garment steamer. The application of steam at a particular force breaks down the stains from the surface. Once done, your sofa or recliner chair would be clean as new.
  • Another unconventional use of steaming is the cleaning of drapes. This use, however, is not suited for drapes that are meant for dry cleaning only. The device breaks down the stains and efficiently removes the odour. You can expect to flatten the wrinkles in your drape with a little more effort if any.
  • Much like the curtains, you can clean your carpets as well. The warm steam force breaks the stains quickly and gets rid of all germs and foul odour.
  • Today, sanitization is vital in all homes, and steaming aides you in the same. The warm steam kills all bacteria and germs from the surface it is applied on. Use the device to sanitize your rooms, upholstery, bathrooms, and cars. 

Benefits from Steaming Clothes

  • There are significantly low risks of damaging your clothes. The device needs to be held at a minimum distance from the fabric surface to steam your clothes. The absence of direct application of heat prevents any damages.
  • Steaming helps kill bacteria and remove odor from your clothes. Once you finish with the process, the clothes are fresh as new.
  • The entire process of steaming your clothes does not involve the use of any chemicals. The natural operation helps preserve the health of your clothes better.
  •  You can carry out the process safely. The steaming equipment is designed such that your grip is away from the heat source. As such, there are no risks of accidents.

Tips for Steaming garments

Steamers are available in varying sizes and with different features. Based on your requirements, you need to choose the ideal one from the lot. Like most appliances, it takes some time for steaming efficiently. The following are some tips that will help you when using one.

  • Select a steaming machine that has temperature control. Different fabrics react differently to the application of heat. Having varying temperatures will prevent damages regardless of the garment type.
  • Suppose the wrinkles are too tough to remove, steam from inside the garment. This will effectively remove all the wrinkles.
  • When it comes to jackets, coats, blazers, or even shirts, steaming is the better option than ironing. Remember to hang the garments before steaming for the best results.

The Usha Techne garment steamer comes with a non-detachable 200 ml water tank to provide continuous steam. A brush accessory is present for more rigid fabrics. Enjoy the device’s portability and the 2-years manufacturer’s warranty.

Ironing Clothes – Application and Advantages

Ironing is the next alternative when it comes to caring for your clothes. This one is an age-old practice. At some point in our lives, we have all been familiar with ironing. In this segment, we will specifically talk about ironing.

When it comes to pressing our clothes, moisture is an essential element. In the case of ironing, the user provides this moisture. Let’s take a look at some of the applicability of ironing.

ironing clothes

Application of Ironing

  • Ironing is ideal for pressing formal shirts and pants for everyday use. Spray a little water on the clothes and press them correctly. Remove all the wrinkles along with foul odour efficiently.
  • It can get rid of all bacteria and germs from your clothes. Once done, your dresses are as fresh as new.
  • On a cold night, you can press your bed sheet with care. Spread the sheet on your mattress and enjoy a warm sleep.

Benefits of ironing Clothes

Much like steaming, ironing has also certain advantages. Some of these benefits are mentioned below.

  • An iron is generally built with a very lightweight design. This feature adds to the portability of the device. Pack the iron in your bags easily and enjoy freshly pressed clothes anywhere.
  • Using the device is very simple. Plug it in and spray some water on the clothes. Press the clothes carefully for the best results. If you are new to ironing, dry iron is the device to start with.
  • Modern designs of irons come with temperature control. Different fabrics are suited to different temperatures. Based on the requirement, adjust the temperature on your device and press it efficiently.

Affording a steam iron is an expensive alternative. Hence, there are quite a few benefits to using one. These benefits are listed below.

  • It is compatible with almost all kinds of fabrics. Wool, for instance, is an unsuitable material to press using dry irons. Press your woolen garments efficiently using the steam counterpart.
  • All models of such machines come equipped with auto shut-off technology. If the device lies unused for a specific time, it shuts down automatically. This feature significantly reduces the health risks associated with the device.
  • Like the auto shut-off technology, the devices are equipped with auto-clean features as well. Hence, cleaning the apparatus is not a hassle by any means.
  • These also come with varying temperature control options. Based on the fabric type, you can select the ideal temperature and press the garments.

Tips for Ironing

When using an iron, make sure you do not let it rest on the cloth for a long time. This poses the risk of damaging the fabric. The following tips also come in handy while using the device.

  • Make sure the garment is spread out on a flat surface. This can be an ironing table or any flat surface. In case of a random flat surface, spread out a towel. Iron your garment after spreading them over this towel efficiently.
  • Garments made of leather or velvet are not suited for ironing. These materials melt under the application of heat.
  • Do not spray a lot of water on the garment before ironing it. Two sprays are enough. Use additional sprays only if the cloth is a large one.

There are quite a lot of options for irons to choose from in the market. But Usha’s EI 1602 dry iron stands out amongst the rest. The soleplate of this device has a non-stick PTFE coating. A thermostat efficiently controls the temperature of the device, and auto cleaning acts as a worthy addition. You can rely on the brand to provide durable products.

Also Read: The Best Dry Irons in India

Steaming Vs Ironing : Comparison

The beautiful thing about innovation is that there is a middle ground available for every conflict. It is the same when it comes to garment steaming vs. ironing. This middle ground is in the form of the innovative steam iron which can be used for both steaming and ironing.

Different applications of Steaming and Ironing

Iron is a type of device that comes with a handle and can generate heat from the flat surface under it. The shape of the flat surface is triangular.

If the iron’s heated bottom surface is pressed against a clothing material, then the wrinkles of the cloth will be removed from the clothing due to the heat. Iron is used for packing shirts and trousers with creases. However, iron cannot be used on the sleeves and ruffles.

Steaming is ideal for delicate fabrics such as satin, polyester, etc., as the chances of burning clothes are less. It happens as the piece of clothing is not touched by the steamer. Steaming can be done in places like ruffles and sleeves.

Like the name suggests, a steam iron works by using the principles of both a steamer and a dry iron. The user fills cold water in the water tank. Pores provided on the sole allow you to apply the steam on the garments; after spraying the steam, iron your clothes.

Much like ironing, steaming has quite a few uses. Let’s take a look at some of them.

  • Clothes made from most fabrics can be pressed by ironing. The temperature control allows the user to set a specific suitable temperature. Spray the steam and iron your garments efficiently.
  • Hang your coats and blazer using a hanger. Spray the warm steam on them to remove the wrinkles. This action is much like that of steaming.
  • To a certain extent, you can use it to sanitize your upholstery. Once you are done pressing your clothes, rest assured, they are free of any bacteria or germs.

Which one is the most effortless in Between Steaming and Ironing?

In general, iron is easy to use. You can use it on smooth fabrics, but if the piece of clothing is made using heavier fabrics, you need to heat the iron plate for a more extended period. 

For ironing a shirt or trouser, you need more space as an iron board is required for the process. Unlike the irons people used 40 to 50 years ago, the ones have now become lightweight. Earlier, these were nothing less than a dumbbell. 

Steaming can be done without even touching the piece of cloth. It is the most significant difference between a steamer and an iron. The hot steam coming out of the clothes steamer relaxes the garment fibers. You can hang your shirt or trouser on a hanger. You can then spray the jet of smoke from a close distance that reduces the wrinkles from the clothing. 

Difference in Steaming and Ironing processes

If you are steaming a garment, you boil on only those surfaces where the clothing surface is sealed. Before steaming, do check the tag attached with the piece of clothing to ensure how much temperature the garment can endure.

If you are steaming over a colored cloth, then set it on a smaller area of that particular clothing. It needs to be done as sometimes the hues of the clothes fade out once steam is applied to them. When steaming, always check the steam. Please do not over steam as it could blow the steams on your shirts, jackets, or t-shirts. 

If you are ironing a garment for the first time, start ironing it at a lower temperature. Slowly after that, you can increase the temperature. When you are using a steam iron with more holes on the clothes, you can hold it short from the cloth and then set it in the steam option. The presence of more holes means that steaming can be done more precisely. 

In iron, you can set the temperature to get the right amount of heat from the iron. You can set the temperature while ironing depending on the type of clothing used to make the garment.

In some cases, it has also been seen that spraying water before ironing helps to get rid of wrinkles more easily. You need to sprinkle water on the piece of clothing separately if you iron them straight after getting them out from the washing machine. 

Another thing to remember is that if you iron a woolen garment or a garment with delicate fabric, use iron guards. It is nothing but a piece of cotton material that you can place on top of the woolen garment, and then you can iron the garment. 

Cleaning and Maintenance of steaming and ironing devices

There is more than one way to clean your steam iron. You can clean the iron by adding vinegar to the water reservoir. You can clean the iron plate by making a paste of baking soda. If the iron is made using plastic, you can also use ice cubes and plastic knives to remove the melted plastic created by the heat. 

Learn the best ways to clean a steam iron to make it last longer and increase its durability.

If a steamer mixes distilled water and vinegar, then put it in the reservoir. Run the steamer to clean it. After that, cool down the water and empty the steamer. 

Tips for Steaming and Ironing

Getting used to steaming may take a little bit of time. The following tips will help you when using the device.

  • Use clean, distilled water to fill the water tank of the steaming machine. This will increase the durability of the device. Do not use any chemicals or softeners in the water.
  • For the more severe wrinkles, apply steam from the inside. Then press the garment generally from the outside.
  • Keep applying the steam frequently while pressing. This will allow you to get the best results.

Steam ironing is pretty much in demand today as many such brands are bringing forth the best products. Of the lot, the Philips EasySpeed Plus Steam Iron is a favorite with the masses. The product has a water tank capacity of 180ml, along with auto shut down technology. Steam output of 13gm/min and the steam burst technology aids in a more efficient process.

Also Read: The Best Steam Iron in India

Steaming vs Ironing – Conclusion

Are you still unable to decide which one to opt for between steaming and ironing? Yes, it may seem a bit challenging to select one between these two. Both are essential tools for home and have their purposes. It is suggested to have both types of equipment in your possession to make your clothes look newer even after using them several times.

By now, you hopefully have some insight into garment steamers and irons. If not, then go through the article one more time. The usefulness of each device varies from person to person. Based on your requirements, you need to make the purchase. It is you who can decide the winner in steaming vs. ironing clothes.

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