A steamer is a tool used by professionals and stylists in the fashion industry to freshen up clothes and other textiles.
This is how a steamer works
A steamer works by pressing hot steam (near 100 degrees C) through the fabric. The steam causes the textile fibers to swell, soften and regain their natural shape.
A steamed garment will become wrinkle-free and soft, but the steam will also enhance the color and make the fabric feel thicker. Simply put your clothes will look smooth and stylish. The steam will also remove some odors, dust, and dirt. Steaming is like airing on fast-forward.
Using a steamer to refresh your clothes after use means less washing. Less frequent washing is a win-win situation for you and the environment. When we think of clothes as worn out, they are actually most often washed out. Excessive washing is the reason why garments lose both shape and color. Not to mention its a waste of water.
Steaming is a gentle option to ironing. When ironing there's always a risk of scorching and (and far from all textiles can be ironed). Ironing on stains means a risk of making them permanent.
The difference between ironing and steaming
What differs a steamer from an iron is good to know. For most people, a steamer is a replacement for the iron. For some, it will work as a complement to the iron.
Earlier we mentioned that a steamer works by causing the textile fibers to swell. An iron works by flattening the fibers. Both methods will make your clothes wrinkle-free but in different ways.
For most garments, you prefer the steamed look, but for some, you might prefer the finish you get from the iron. We're used to seeing white cotton shirts pressed, and many prefer them that way. The iron will make the shirts look shiny and super flat, whereas a steamed white cotton shirt will have a matte finish. It's a matter of taste really.
What textiles can be steamed?
You can steam all textiles except for leather and suede. For instance, you can steam silk and viscose – fabrics that would be easily ruined with an iron. A steamer can never scorch you delicate fabrics since the steamhead never gets that warm. It's just the steam itself that is hot.