Even though clothes steamers have been around for over one hundred years now, their evolution from the commercial version to the home has been a relatively new step in home fabric care. The amount of clothing steamers available to buy nowadays can be quite bewildering but here, we shall help guide you through all the different types of garment steamers to choose the one which suits you.
How do they work and what is wrong with an iron?
The basic workings of a steamer
Fabric steamers are becoming increasingly common and in many households, they have come to overtake ironing equipment in terms of keeping clothes nice and wrinkle free. All steamers work on the same principle as professional steamers: They have a reservoir which is filled with nothing but water. This is heated within the steamer to boiling point. The water is forced out as steam through a flattened nozzle which is 'stroked' over the fabric. With the combined pressure of the steamer's nozzle and the action of the steam the fibres of the material 'relax', causing the material to fall straight again instead of wrinkled. Benefits over an iron
Since steam is used instead of the direct heat approach that you get in an iron, there is little to no chance of scorching or damaging your material. There is also the versatility involved over an iron. Steaming is quicker, easier to set up and it allows you to straighten wrinkles out of things which would normally be a chore to take down and iron, such as curtains.
What to look for
The first thing you have to consider when choosing a steamer is where do you intend to use it most?
If you have a large family for instance and intend to use a steamer as your primary source of keeping garments wrinkle free, then a large or full size steamer will probably be best for you. The reservoir on these will typically last for over an hour. Portable steamers
For those who do not or will not be using a steamer too much, then a portable steamer should suffice. These are suitable for jobs of around 20 or so minutes before the water tank needs refilling and can be easily moved around the house and stored away. Hand held steamers Hand held steamers (or travel steamers) are typically small and are ideal to fit into a suitcase. These are perfect for people who travel a lot.