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I don’t know about you, but I hate ironing. So when I first discovered clothes steamers, it’s no understatement to say that my life changed. No more space-wasting ironing boards, no more clunky irons. Instead, just one appliance to do all the hard work for you.
I use my handheld steamer everyday at home, to get rid of any creases in my clothes before heading out the door, and take it with me anytime I travel. So I thought I’d share with you a round-up of the best ones I’ve tried, to make your life easier too.
Why buy a clothes steamer?
To quote Chandler Bing, my reason for owning reason is threefold. 1. I am inherently lazy and cannot be bothered to faff around with an ironing board and iron, so even at home I stick to a travel steamer. 2. Not many hotels now have an iron in the room, especially abroad (they don’t allow them in Italy due to health and safety I’ve learned) and 3. It hurts. Just kidding, they really don’t as most come with protective gloves and are often lighter than an iron.
How to use a clothes steamer?
Try and use de-ionised water when you can. Though you can use tap water, it’s not recommended as the minerals can clog the machine (though you can user white wine vinegar or descaling solutions like you would with a kettle). I appreciate it’s not practical to travel with a full bottle, but you can decant in travel size ones.
Be aware of delicate fabrics. Certain fabrics like silk and satin are super delicate, so you don’t want to apply the nozzle directly to them to avoid damaging them. Most steamers do come with brushes you pop over the face of the steamer to avoid direct contact. If you don’t have one of those, just make sure you hold it at a sensible distance.
Wait for the appliance to heat. Usually this doesn’t take more than 30 seconds, and make sure you switch off after use.
Hold the garment tight, as this will help with the steaming process. Some steamers can be used horizontally, though most need to be held vertically.
Empty the tank after use. Sounds obvious, but if you don’t empty the tank, you risk clogging up the system, as well as leakage if you’re travelling.
The best clothes steamers
Philips Series 3000 STH3010 Compact Garment Steamer, £39.99 at Argos
This new compact steamer is the perfect travel companion. Designed to be compact and foldable for easy storage, it also comes with a convenient travel pouch. The hot steam refreshes your garments in an instant, removing odours and allowing you to get another wear out of them, plus you can use it on all fabrics and it removes 99.9% of bacteria. It has a larger tank than its predecessor and heats up in 30 seconds.
Cirrus No.3 Iron Steamer, £150 at Steamery
The latest addition to the Steamery family has an ironing plate that heats up to the same heat level as level 1 on an iron, in only 25 seconds. This plate improves the steam quality, helps dry the fabric and can give your clothes either a pressed or a smooth look.
It has a 90 ml vertical water tank that slides into position using magnetic attraction. This gives you enough water to steam
approximately 3 garments. Plus you can use it horizontally or vertically.
IXEO QT1020 All-in-One Clothes Steamer – Black / Gold, £289.99 at Tefal
This is a great all-in-one option, which features a 1L tank which allows for 45 minutes of steaming. It has a heated soleplate for better results, which doubles up as an ironing board. You can use the head as a steamer and as an iron if you need extra pressure, for example on shirts.
LG Styler Steam Clothing Care System® S3WF 3 Hangers, £1,849.98 at LG
This is definitely an investment piece, but if you can afford it, it’ll be worth every penny. It has the ability to quickly dry delicates like lingerie and sweaters without fear of shrinking or damage. It has cycle times as fast as 20 minutes and you can remotely control the Styler from your smartphone with the LG ThingQ app. At the core of the Styler is LG’s TrueSteam™ technology, which eliminates over 99.9 percent of the germs and bacteria found in clothing and home furnishings, as certified by the British Allergy Foundation.