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What to keep in mind when traveling with a steamer

A handheld steamer is a clever travel accessory that will keep your clothes wrinkle-free and fresh when you need to wear a limited wardrobe for days on end. But there are a few things to keep in mind before traveling with your steamer. Here’s what you need to know.

Check the voltage and frequency of your destination

The number one thing to check before traveling with your steamer is the voltage and frequency standards of your travel destination. As a general guideline, European countries, along with most of Asia and Africa, use 220–240 V and 50 Hz, while North American countries use 120 V and 60 Hz as the standard voltage and frequency.

Our steamers are not dual voltage and should never be used in a country where the voltage does not correlate with the steamer’s capacity. The steamers are produced with the appropriate voltage and frequency for the market where they are sold. Hence, if you buy a steamer in Europe, it should not be used in North America.

The same goes for all electrical appliances you may travel with, including curling irons and hair dryers. Unless the appliance is dual voltage, always make sure that the voltage correlates with your travel destination. Using an appliance with the wrong voltage, especially a higher input voltage, is very dangerous and can cause serious consequences like fires.

Here’s a map of voltage and frequencies across the globe.
Cirrus 3 Iron Steamer in Sand and Charcoal

Find out if you need to use an adapter

The next thing to do is to find out if you can use the same plug in your destination country. If the plug is different, you need to use a travel adapter. There are fifteen different plugs used across the globe, ranging from type A all the way to type O.

To be clear, a travel adapter is useful only if the voltage and frequency are right. And a travel adapter should not be confused with a voltage converter. Although voltage converters can sometimes make it possible to use a 120 V appliance in a 240 V country, our steamers are more powerful than most other common travel devices and should therefore not be used with voltage converters.

But if the voltage and frequency of your destination are the same as where you bought your steamer, all you need to do is find a travel adapter with the right plug, and you’re good to go! Here is a map showing the full spread of plug types across the world.

  Type A   Canada, United States, Japan, and Mexico
  Type B   Canada, United States, and Mexico
  Type C   Widely used throughout Asia, Europe, and South America
  Type D   India
  Type E   Belgium, Czechia, France, Poland, and Slovakia
  Type F   Commonly used in Europe and Russia
  Type G   United Kingdom, Ireland, Malaysia, Malta, and Singapore, and widely used in the Arabian Peninsula
  Type H   Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank
  Type I   Australia, Argentina, China, and New Zealand
  Type J   Liechtenstein and Switzerland
  Type K   Denmark and Greenland
  Type L   Chile and Italy
  Type M   South Africa
  Type N   Brazil and South Africa
  Type O   Thailand

Steaming curtains with Cirrus 2
Steaming a shirt with Cirrus 3

Be mindful of the water quality

If your travel destination has hard water (high levels of calcium and magnesium), it is best to avoid using tap water as this can result in limescale buildup in your steamer. When in doubt, use our Steam Water or any distilled or filtered water you can get your hands on. Our water guide explains everything you need to know about water quality, including the difference between hard water and soft water.

Make sure to empty the water tank

Lastly, if you are traveling with the steamer in your carry-on, be sure to empty out the water tank beforehand. Steamers are safe to get through airport security checkpoints, but like any electronics, they usually need to be removed from your cabin bag when your bag is scanned. And like any other containers that hold liquid, the water tank needs to be empty.

Read more travel tips here.

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