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They say ‘you only have once to make a good first impression’ and that is so true. The first thing someone new judges you from is your appearance. One of the ways to ensure that you are oozing elegance and looking sharp is by wearing wrinkle-free attire. Wearing wrinkled clothes misrepresent who you are and your personality.
To avoid this, you should always spare some time to eliminate wrinkles from your clothes. This can happen by either using a clothes steamer or iron. If you have always wondered which one of the two is best for you, here is a detailed article to help solve that dilemma once and for all.
What is the Difference between Steamers and Irons?
Both steamers and irons are used for the same purpose, which is getting rid of wrinkles on the fabric. Nonetheless, the two appliances work differently to deliver this purpose. A steamer is designed to generate steam jets, which it combines with heat to make the surface of a fabric smooth and eliminate wrinkles.
The iron on the other hand is an appliance that uses both pressure and heat to get rid of wrinkles on a fabric. This is why ironing clothes is also referred to as pressing because it requires you to exert pressure to smoothen the attire. However, today, you will find irons that generate steam to help with the process.
When to Use a Steamer
There are fabrics that cannot take ironing because the device will destroy the appearance of the material. For instance, velvet and corduroy are good examples of fabrics that will be distorted by the pressure of an iron. This is because they have a pile or nap that will be crushed when pressing. This is when a clothes steamer comes in handy to smoothen the fabric without interfering with its appearance and integrity.
Additionally, a steamer is recommendable for use when you need to smoothen synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon among others. This is because a clothes steamer does not come into contact with the fabric but uses heat and moisture to eliminate wrinkles. An iron on the other hand requires you to apply pressure on the fabrics which are vulnerable to melting, eliminating it as an option.
There are also delicate fabrics like chiffon and silk, which cannot withstand too much heat and pressure that comes with ironing. A steamer in this case becomes the best option as it is less likely to damage the fabrics.
Furthermore, a clothes steamer saves you more time than ironing because pressing is time-consuming. Therefore, a steamer will always give you a quick fix and save you time when you are in a hurry.
To understand where a fabric belongs, you should always read the instructions on the tag. This ensures that you are getting rid of wrinkles using an appliance that will not risk damage.
When to Use an Iron
If you want to eliminate wrinkles from a stiff, heavy, and bulky fabric, iron will be your best option. For instance, denim, canvas, linen, and cotton fabrics will require you to use an iron to smoothen them. This is because the hot metal plate of an iron works best on these heavy fabrics while saving you time as compared to using a steamer on them.
Moreover, an iron is a better option than a steamer if you need more than just to get rid of wrinkles. If results are a great deal to you, an iron will give you a more polished look than a steamer. For instance, if your attire requires you to form sharp fold lines, like creases, cuffs, and pleats, an iron will help you more with that than a steamer.
It is recommendable that you always check the cloth label first before ironing a new cloth to figure out what is the suggested temperature range and whether you should be ironing the attire in the first place. Some clothes can be ironed but require you to switch off the steam function, therefore, it is always wise to go through the laundry labels first to prevent damage.
The Pros and Cons of Steamers vs. Irons
Pros of using a steamer
- Does need ironing boards
- Reduces the risk of damaging the fabric
- Suitable for heat-sensitive fabrics like synthetics and silk
- Can be sued on any fabric
- Easy to use
- Suitable for limited spaces
Cons of using steamers
- Requires more time on heavy fabrics
- Not effective for setting creases, pleats, and cuffs
Pros of using irons
- Suitable for thick fabrics
- Effective for setting hems, crisp pleats, creases ad cuffs
- Allows you to regulate temperature
- Gives you adequate precision and control
- Modern models also offer steam function
- Suitable for tailors
Cons of Using Irons
- It can be more time-consuming than using a steamer
- Requires an ironing board
- Unsuitable for delicate fabrics
- Requires attention and temperature accuracy to avoid scorching attires
- Requires extra space for the board
Safety Guidelines for Both Steamers and Irons
- Steamers and irons cannot be used on waxed, leather, and suede fabrics. This is because they can damage and melt these materials. Therefore, always check your attire before ironing or using a steamer to prevent possible damage.
- If you are not sure of the ideal temperature for a particular fabric, start with low temperatures, especially when using an iron.
- You need to always know where the heated components are located to avoid burning your skin. Never touch the metal plate or the steam nozzle during or immediately after using a steamer or an iron. Additionally, your other hand should not be in the path of steam or facing the head of the steamer.
- Pets and children should be away from these appliances whenever you are using any of them.
- Always monitor the appliances and how the attires are responding to the iron or steamer to prevent damage.
- Finally, always unplug the appliances from a power source after use. Even if your appliance has an auto shut-off function, never leave the appliance plugged in the socket after use.
Hopefully, this article has enlightened you on when to use a steamer or an iron. With this information, you can determine which one between a steamer and an iron is the best choice for you.
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