How to Use a Clothes Steamer? The Ultimate Go-to Guide you will love

How to Use a Clothes Steamer? The Ultimate Go-to Guide

Clothes steamers are a convenient alternative to ironing for quickly smoothing out wrinkles and restoring garments to looking fresh. But how exactly do you use a clothes steamer properly for optimal results? Follow this comprehensive guide to learn expert techniques for steaming different fabrics and garments.

What is a Clothes Steamer and Why Use One?

Use a Clothes Steamer

A clothes steamer is an electric handheld device that uses hot steam to relax fibers and erase wrinkles in clothes, curtains, upholstery and more. It provides a quick, easy alternative to ironing.

Benefits of steaming vs. ironing include:

  • Much faster than ironing
  • No need for an ironing board or stable flat surface
  • Great for delicate fabrics that can’t be ironed
  • Ideal for travel and steaming on the go
  • Doesn’t leave an iron-shaped crease
  • Can steam hanging clothes and curtains

For busy professionals, travelers, or anyone who dislikes ironing, a steamer is a must-have for looking polished in a hurry.

Preparing to Steam: Fill Water and Heat Up

How to Use a Clothes Steamer? The Ultimate Go-to Guide

Before steaming, you need to properly fill the steamer’s reservoir with purified or distilled water and allow it to heat up:

  • Review the manual to identify the water fill location and learn the correct amount of water for your model. Overfilling can cause splattering.
  • Only use purified, distilled or demineralized water to prevent mineral buildup. Regular tap water can damage the steamer over time.
  • Power on the steamer and allow 5-7 minutes for it to fully heat up and produce steam vapor. The steamer needs to reach around 212°F internally.
  • Ensure the steamer has an auto-off safety feature if left unused for too long. This prevents fire hazards.

Once powered on, the steamer will start producing continuous steam vapor showing it’s ready for use.

Steaming Technique Basics

With a heated steamer ready, it’s time to start steaming. Follow these technique tips:

  • Hang clothes on a garment rack or rod when possible to access both sides for vertical steaming.
  • For garments on hangers, use one hand to hold the hanger hook while steaming with the other hand.
  • Keep the steamer head about 1 inch away from the fabric to avoid moisture damage.
  • Test delicate fabrics first before directly steaming.
  • Slowly move the steamer head down garments from top to bottom.
  • For best results, steam against the grain of fabric first, then with the grain.
  • Use a brush attachment to penetrate thicker fabrics.
  • Target wrinkled areas and creases specifically before doing an overall pass.
  • Steaming hems and collars first helps relax the overall garment.
  • For bespoke shaping, use steam to mold garments on a mannequin form.

Applying these proper vertical steaming techniques will ensure wrinkle release while avoiding damage.

Read also : Ironing water : 6 Crucial things you need to know 

Tips for Steaming Common Garments and Fabrics

Steaming technique varies based on the garment or fabric:

Cotton, Linen and Denim

  • Pre-treat any stains first or steamer heat may set them.
  • Use lower steam settings to avoid damaging these heat-sensitive natural fibers.
  • For jeans, flip pant legs outward and use a nozzle attachment to penetrate denim effectively.

Wool and Cashmere

  • Only steam wool at low temp to prevent shrinking or felting the fibers.
  • Use a garment brush frequently when steaming to lift fibers and get steam penetration.
  • To reshape wool garments, carefully steam and mold on a form. Let dry completely.

Silk and Synthetics

  • Test delicate silks by steaming inside seams first. Be cautious of direct heat.
  • Use low steam settings and quick motions to avoid damaging heat-sensitive synthetics.
  • Target just wrinkled areas since silks and synthetics flatten easily with minimal steam.

Sequins, Beads, Rhinestones

  • Avoid directing steam right on embellishments to prevent loosening, melting or tarnishing.
  • Gently hover steamer around decorated areas without making contact.

Adjusting technique based on fabric type ensures the best steaming results.

Steaming Different Garments and Items

Beyond fabric, technique varies by garment type:

Shirts and Blouses

  • For collared shirts, steam collar, cuffs and placket first to relax structure.
  • Smooth out seams and shoulders before steaming lengths vertically.
  • Hang dress shirts and blouses and steam vertically for front and back.

Pants and Jeans

  • Hang pants by the waistband or bottoms of leg hems to steam vertically.
  • Flip pant legs outward to access inner wrinkles and use attachments as needed.
  • Pay special attention to seams, pockets, waistband and fly.

Jackets and Coats

  • Use the triangle hanger inside a jacket to hang and steam all areas, including linings.
  • For structured sections like shoulder pads or lapels, hover steam without direct contact.
  • Reshape jackets on a form with steam if needed.

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  • Hang dresses upside down by the hem first to access skirt areas better. Then flip for bodices.
  • For delicate fabrics, lay flat on a heat-resistant surface and hover steam vertically without contact.

Curtains and Upholstery

  • For curtains, slowly steam vertically while hanging for best results. Use accessories to reach upper sections.
  • On upholstery, maintain steamer motion and avoid excess heat concentration in any spot to prevent damage.

Delicate Items and Small Areas

  • For delicates like lingerie or sequined fabrics, use an attachment nozzle for direct steaming control.
  • Hold garments taut in one hand while carefully steaming small areas.

Adjusting technique by garment allows you to achieve perfectly pressed results.

Maintenance and Cleaning Best Practices

To maintain your steamer, follow these tips:

  • Empty water tank after each use to prevent mineral deposits and bacteria buildup.
  • Use distilled water and steamer cleaning solutions to prevent scale.
  • Wipe down the exterior after each use.
  • Detach accessories and clean buildup as needed.
  • Store steamer upright and unplugged when not in use.
  • Descale regularly following manufacturer instructions if mineral residue builds up.

Proper maintenance keeps your steamer working optimally for damage-free steaming.

Do’s and Don’ts for Safe Steamer Use

Finally, adhere to these safe practices when steaming:


  • Keep steamer moving continuously when in use
  • Allow heat to penetrate fabric before additional passes
  • Unplug immediately if steamer tips or falls
  • Allow to fully cool before storing


  • Leave steamer stationary in one spot when on
  • Use on leather, wax-coated, or delicate machine-wash fabrics
  • Fill with regular tap water instead of distilled water
  • Use without water or if damaged

Following safe usage guidelines prevents burns and damage for smooth steaming.

Achieving Expert Steaming Results

Mastering these techniques for filling, heating, steaming motions, garment types, maintenance and safety will allow you to achieve expert results from your clothes steamer.

With some practice, you’ll be able to release wrinkles and restore garments to looking freshly pressed with incredible speed and convenience. Care for your fabrics and streamline your morning routine with a clothes steamer.