But as great as they are, there were times when I regretted chucking away my old iron.
There were just a couple of things the steamer couldn’t do. That’s why this site also has a big steam iron comparison and review section now – because while I use my garment steamer 95% of the time, there are times when an iron works best.
But if you can only afford one, which should you choose?
Having neat, wrinkle-free clothing is an important part of looking professional and organized as you go about your day.
Looking sharp (and having sharp creases) helps you to make a great first impression, but how do you achieve this look?
You have two options: you can steam or iron. Let’s get into the pros and cons of each method so you can choose the one that suits your needs the best.
How Ironing Works
Ironing clothing to achieve a sharp, pressed look has been in use since Fred Flintstone first started riding mammoths.
In those days, if anyone needed to iron a garment, they filled their irons with hot coals, or they heated it on the stove top until it was warm.
Today, you simply fill your iron with water, plug it in, and set it to your desired temperature.
Ironing uses a heated flat metal plate to smooth any wrinkles out of your garments.
You need an ironing board – a device that has caused more bruised shins and general frustration than any other invention in human history.
Tips to Get the Best Results When You Use Your Iron
Ironing does take a little practice to get good at, and it may take a little trial and error as well.
You want your finished product to be neat, and you don’t want to scorch your fabric, and these tips can help with that.
Pros and Cons of Using an Iron
Here’s an easy-to-follow YouTube video that you can watch so you know how to iron your clothing properly:
How Garment Steaming Works
Although it’s just beginning to get really well-known, garment steaming has been around for decades. It is a more gentle route to get wrinkles out of your clothing and leave it looking neat.
Steaming your clothing also helps to kill any germs that may be on your clothing, and this can help erase any unpleasant odors as well.
A garment steamer doesn’t need direct contact with your clothing like an iron would. You can hold the nozzle (which the steam comes out of) a few inches away. The hot steam will take any wrinkles out of the fabric, and it should leave you with a smooth, even finish.
You start the process by hanging your clothing up (often on the back of a door) and preheating the steamer.
Once it’s ready to go, you hold it a few inches from your garment and use it in a downward motion
Tips to Get the Best Results When You Use Your Garment Steamer
Before you start to steam your clothing, there are a few things you’ll want to do to ensure you get a neat, pressed, and wrinkle-free garment by the end of the steaming process.
Pros and Cons to Using a Garment Steamer
Look what happens to steamed and ironed fabric in extreme close-up:
Ouch! Wouldn’t like to be that ironed fabric.
Here’s a YouTube video that will walk you through the correct way to use a garment steamer on your clothing.
When to Use an Iron and When to Use a Garment Steamer
Maybe you have both of these things at your disposal. You want to know when it is best to use one over the other because you’re not ready to choose just one. This is fine, as both of them have limitations and benefits.
Use an Iron
You want to use your iron if you’re trying to get crisp lines in your clothing. Additionally, if your clothing is specially tailored, you may want to iron it over steaming it.
If you’re trying to get the wrinkles out of suit pants or out of clothing with short collars, an iron is what you want to use as they require pressure to look neat and pressed.
Use a Garment Steamer
If you’re in a hurry, or if you have more delicate fabric to get wrinkles out of, you may want to use a garment steamer.
Fabrics like silk or polyester will work better with a steamer because silk can get ruined by excess heat. Polyester also won’t stand up to ironing without shrinking.
Garment steamers and irons are both useful tools to have. If you’re not sure which one to use on your garment, you can always check the tags. They’ll usually tell you exactly what you can and can’t use to clean and press them.
Garment steamers are my preference due to their ease of use and how fast they are, but there are some people who swear by their irons.
You’ll have to decide for yourself which one suits your needs and your lifestyle the best.