How to Steam Clothes

If you’re someone who tend to postpone washing your clothing due to not wanting to iron them, steaming clothes could be a more practical and quicker substitute. If you do not understand how to use a fabric steamer, the process could be quite confusing. It is very important to understand which fabrics can be exposed to steam and which cannot.

This guide on how to steam clothes will make sure you can quickly steam your clothes without ruining them.

Can You Steam Any Fabric?
Water changes from a liquid to vapor at temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that not all fabrics can withstand steam. Some of the following materials can be damaged by heat or moisture, sometimes even both.

Plastic-based synthetics: Waterproof and slick garments, such as raincoats are most likely made from synthetic fabrics. Faux leather is made up of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which is a type of plastic. This type of plastic can melt at 167 degrees Fahrenheit.

Leather: This type of material is best left for professional dry cleaners, as it can easily shrink when presented with high heat.

Suede: Like leather, suede should be left to professionals. It is a soft-feeling leather product., so needs special care.

Stained Items: If the fabric has any stains, do not steam them. This could cause the stain to permanently stay on the garment.

The following materials can almost always be steamed; however, always check the label on the garment first.

Wool (This includes the wrinkle-resistant cashmere)
Silk (for this wrinkle-prone material, steaming is highly recommended)

How to Steam Clothes
Steaming clothes is a lot more straightforward than ironing, and many people find it more enjoyable.

1. Choose the Best Fabric Steamer for Clothing
There are portable steamers made for clothing. If space allows, you can get a bigger one.

You can also buy an all-purpose steamer that comes with a special attachment for clothing.
If you already have one of these in your possession, you can check with the manufacturer for any accessories that can go with the specific model you have. This is preferred as the slimmer nozzles can miss spots and can take longer to steam your clothing.

2. Clear the Surrounding Area
Make sure no pets or little children are near the steaming area to avoid any accidents. Make sure not to steam near any make-up or peeling wallpaper.

3. Always Remove Your Clothing
Be sure to always take the clothing off and never steam them while still wearing them on your body. You could harm yourself with the steam.

4. Hang Your Garment Up
Using plastic or metal hangers, hang the clothing up.

If you are steaming garments that require clips when hanging, make sure they are plastic and don’t focus on them too long with the steam.

5.. Prepare Your Clothes Steamer
Fill the water tank to its maximum capacity and let it warm up. If you have an accessory for clothing, attach this to the steamer.

6. Begin Steaming
There are different guidelines for different types of garments when it comes to steaming. They are listed below.


Make sure to keep your distance and constantly move the steam, while you’re steaming fabrics that are delicate such as silk, velvet, and chiffon.

Dress Slacks
Fold and clip the pants to the hanger lengthwise and with the bottom side up. Begin steaming from top to bottom going in a slow downwards motion. Using your hand, you can steady the slacks, but be careful not to harm yourself.

Make sure to also get the pockets to ensure they are all unwrinkled and neat-looking.
Repeat this process on the other side of the slacks.

Suit Jackets
Begin steaming from the top to the bottom making sure not to miss the underside of the lapels.
Turn the suit around and continue steaming the back, using the same technique as the front.
Steam the arms one by one, holding them at the cuffs. You can decide whether to begin with the arms or leave them for the end.

Dress Shirts
Begin from the shoulders and work your way down by keeping the steamer as close to the shirt as possible. You can grab the shirt by the bottom and pull it out towards you to flatten it. Make sure to take your time with dress shirts.

Repeat the process on the back as well. Holding each arm out by the cuff, slowly move the steamer for a clean crease. Don’t forget to let the steamer go over the collar and the cuffs.

Ironing may give you more defined lines but using a steamer will take less time than ironing.

T-Shirts, Tank Tops, Blouses and Jackets
To straighten the bottom, pull it out with one hand. Begin steaming top to bottom on both the front and back. With short sleeves, you shouldn’t have to hold them out to steam. Do hold the longer sleeves by the cuffs while steaming.

Dresses and Skirts
Work in a smooth top to bottom motion with the steamer. For pleated skirts also work underneath by holding the skirt or dress up. Do the inside lining in a top to bottom motion.

7. Let the Fabric Dry and Cool Completely
Give your freshly steamed clothing some time to dry and cool off. Usually a minimum of 15 minutes is needed before wearing them.
Now you don’t have to choose between ironing, wrinkles, or going to the dry cleaners. Steam can let you freshen your garments at home.

You can apply similar ironing techniques to steaming. For example, don’t leave the steam to focus on one specific area too long, as this can cause damage.

Always make sure to check the labels of the garments. If a high-priced velour jacket says it can only be dry cleaned, make sure to follow that advice. Now you can save lots of time, and always look your best!

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