What is a Garment Steamer and How to Use It?

Do you have a garment steamer at home? If yes, are you sure you are using it the right way?

Not using the steamer correctly may damage the fabrics, especially the delicate ones. To benefit the most from it, one should be aware of its usage.

In this blog, we bring you the best ways of using clothes steamer. Follow the tips in this blog that will help you make the most of your appliance and enjoy a wrinkle-free experience.

Before we get into the discussion, let us first understand the fabric steamer and how different it is from the clothes iron.

Table of Contents

How Does A Garment Steamer Work?

How to Use A Garment Steamer? 1. Preparing The Steamer 

2. Hanging Position

3. Use Downward Strokes 

4. Cuffs and Collars

5. Use Fabric Brush

6. Give Your Garment Enough Time to Dry

7. Empty the Tank

Tips for Effective Steaming

Other Uses Of Garment Steamer1. Sanitizing 

2. Remove Stains 

3. Proven Grease Remover 

4. Upholstery Cleaning

Frequently Asked Questions:


How Does A Garment Steamer Work?

Garment steamers work by relaxing the fibres in the cloth using hot steam. It typically consists of a water tank, heating element, hose pipe, temperature dial, and steam nozzle. The water tank is responsible for heating the water and turning it to vapour.

  • If you want to use the steamer, the very first you have to do is fill the tank with water.
  • After filling, ensure all the other parts of the machine are intact and then plugin the steamer.
  • Allow the water to heat up.
  • Once heated, apply the steamer to the fabrics downwards.
  • Make sure to press the trigger, and the steam releases out via the nozzle.

How to Use A Garment Steamer?

Here is everything you need to know about how to use a garment steamer. Check out the below steps to achieve effortless crease removal from your clothes.

1. Preparing The Steamer 

The very first step in the process of using a garment steamer is to prepare it for use. For that, we suggest you refer to the user manual. When preparing, we recommend using distilled water in the water tank. You can also use tap water provided your steamer comes with a built-in feature that de-calcifies tap water.

If you want your steamer working in a good condition and avoid the build-up of calcium deposits, use only distilled water. It will further prevent water leakage and marks on the fabrics.

  • Fill the water tank with an adequate amount of water depending on the number of clothes you want to steam. Make sure you are not overfilling it. After filling, close the chamber with the lid, plug in the steamer, and switch it on.
  • Your garment steamer comes with adjustable temperature settings. Choose the appropriate temperature suitable for the fabric.
  • The time it takes for the water in the chamber to heat and produce steam entirely depends on your steamer size and the quantity of water in the tank.
  • Once heated, check whether the steamer is ready to steam. You can do this by pressing the trigger and see the amount of steam it releases.
  • Once the device is ready to steam, you can start using it for steaming your clothes.

A handheld steamer has a low tank capacity; hence it takes less time to heat the water and produce the steam. On the other hand, an upright steamer may take more time to generate the steam.

2. Hanging Position

The best way to steam your clothes is by hanging them on a clothes hanger. This not only makes the process easier but also enables you to cover the clothes from top to bottom. Most full-size upright steamers, these days, come with a hook or hanger attachment for hanging clothes.

However, for a handheld steamer, you do not have any facility as such. Hence, you will have to use a clothes hanger for hanging. Depending on the garment size, you can hang them on the back of the door, chair, or any curtain rod.

3. Use Downward Strokes 

When steaming any item, always start from the top and go downwards, making short and slow strokes. Unlike iron, do not push or press the appliance hard against the fabric to erase the creases. Downward strokes are the most efficient way to erase the wrinkles.

Make sure your garment steamer touches the clothes when steaming. If you want to get rid of the wrinkles and creases out of your clothes, hold the steamer’s head against your clothes.

Below are other ways to achieve effortless crease removal in the downward sliding motion.

a) Use a Pad Behind Clothing

To get better results, you can always try this. Use a handheld pad behind the clothes with dense fabrics to remove the wrinkles.

b) Steam from the Inside Out

Another efficient way to tackle clothes with extreme wrinkles is, steaming them from the inside out. The fabric weight increases the performance of the steamer, giving you great results. This kind of steaming is ideal for heavier tops and skirts.

c) Delicate Fabrics

You cannot similarly steam all your fabrics, as some can be very delicate. For garments as such, you ought to be extra cautious. If you have to steam fabrics with embellishments, it is advisable to use the steamer 1-2 inches away from the clothes.

If you are steaming clothes or skirts with pleats, it is better to hold the pleats straight from the bottom edge of the garment. Now, run the steamer over the pleats or folds for maintaining them perfectly.

It is advisable to use steam only on those fabrics that are washable with water. We do not recommend using the steamer on leather and similar fabrics, as they can permanently damage the clothing.

4. Cuffs and Collars

The best way to remove the wrinkles from the cuffs and collars is by using support behind them. Some steamers come with accessories to support cuffs, collars, and pockets when steaming.

5. Use Fabric Brush

All garment steamers come with a brush accessory. We suggest using this brush to steam thick garments like coats and jackets, as it helps in opening up the fibres. This allows maximum penetration of steam into the garments. Moreover, it also helps in easily removing lint, if any.

6. Give Your Garment Enough Time to Dry

After steaming, allow your garment enough time to dry. This is because you may notice the cloth to be damp and also find some small water spots on them. We suggest you let it dry for about 5-10 minutes before putting the clothes back in the closet.

7. Empty the Tank

After you finish steaming, empty the tank. Before doing that, make sure your steamer is cool. If it is not, allow it some time to cool down and then open the water chamber to remove the water. Never open the tank lid when it is hot, as the steam may erupt, causing severe burns.

However, a few models available in garment steamers, have valves on the bottom of the chamber to drain the water. We recommend choosing such appliances as it is the safest way to drain the water after every use. Never let the water stay in the chamber after steaming, but discard it.

If the water chamber is detachable, remove it and put it upside down, allowing it to drain completely and become dry.

Whenever the tank has water left inside it, there are chances for mould to grow or even result in a build-up at the bottom. This will eventually give a bad odour when steaming.

Another vital thing to consider is the hose. Always disconnect it from the steamer before draining any water.

As many presume, your steamer does not require huge maintenance. Instead, all it needs is to use it correctly. We recommend using distilled water if you want your steamer to work effectively for years to come.

Tips for Effective Steaming

Here are a few things you need to consider for successful steaming:

  • Always fill the water chamber with the required amount of water. Not too full or too low, but just the right level that is adequate for steaming your clothes. Having the water level lower than needed may damage the steamer. When it is more, it may make the device less efficient, not producing enough steam.
  • It is essential for any individual using steam to have a complete understanding of steaming. He/she should be aware of what fabrics to steam and how. While you can steam cotton, wool, silk, and polyester fabrics, other fabrics like leather, suede, etc., are not suitable for steaming.
  • If you do not have enough knowledge about the fabrics, we suggest you check the material label for instruction. If you want to test, steam a small corner of the fabric, and you will know it yourself.
  • Be extra cautious with delicate fabrics and handle them with care. When steaming fabrics like silk, chiffon, and velvet, make sure the nozzle does not touch the garment. Another way of handling them carefully is by steaming them inside out.
  • Get additional accessories (nozzles and rollers) for your appliance that assist in handling specific fabrics or thicker garments.
  • Test a patch of the col1oured fabric before steaming it.
  • Always steam garments from top to bottom.

Other Uses Of Garment Steamer

Did you know you can benefit from a garment steamer in a way that you never thought of? Yes, you heard it right. Though it may sound unbelievable, you can perform several other functions using your steamer, in addition to steaming your wrinkled clothes. Below are the several uses of a fabric steamer.

1. Sanitizing 

The other benefit of using a steamer is that you can sanitize your countertop surfaces, bathroom, and kitchen. They have high-pressure steam, which helps in killing germs and bacteria.

2. Remove Stains 

You can also use the garment steamers to remove stains from curtains and carpets. Point the steamer nozzle on the dirty surfaces to remove the hard stains effortlessly. The high-pressure steam works miraculously by softening the stained surfaces and rinses them.

Did you know that a steamer is a proven mould-remover? Areas with dampness attract mould easily, and you can get rid of the same using your steamer.

3. Proven Grease Remover 

Another key feature about a garment steamer that many are unaware of is – it is a proven grease remover. You can use the same steamer to remove any accumulated grease on your oven and other surfaces of the kitchen really quick.

4. Upholstery Cleaning

You no longer have to throw away your favourite furniture or stay worried about the worn-out cushions. A handheld garment steamer can come to your rescue for cleaning, refreshing, and reviving your upholstery. Using the steam nozzle, you can target the stain areas, allowing for a deep clean. The high-pressure steam facilitates cleaning and grime and stain removal effortlessly.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Do you steam delicate fabrics and embroidery?
Ans: You should be very careful when it comes to delicate and embroidered fabrics. Begin with adjusting the setting to low and then bring the steamer against the clothes. Make sure to put the head of your steamer 1-2 inches away from the clothes to erase the wrinkles.

2. What are the fabrics that you can’t use steam on?
Ans: Not all fabrics are suitable for steaming. Delicate fabrics such as leather, vinyl, suede, etc., are not ideal for steaming. There are chances that these fabrics may get damaged.

3. Do you put steamer directly on clothes?
Ans: It is suggestible to let your garment steamer touch the clothes when steaming. It is safe to hold the head of the steamer close to your garments, and it will not damage them.

4. Can a garment steamer replace an iron?
Ans: Generally speaking, fabric steamers are not an iron replacement. In most cases, they will help you remove the wrinkles and creases of your clothes. However, they cannot press your clothes crisp, like iron. Some fabrics, like denim, organza, or cotton, need a proper iron to remove the wrinkles. Whereas, other fabrics like poly-cotton and wool only need a hot iron to get them to their best.


If you are uncertain about using your fabric steamer the right way, follow the instructions mentioned above. I am sure this article serves as a step-by-step guide to steam your garments.

Now that you understood how to use a clothes steamer, enhance your garment steaming experience. Make your garments wrinkle and crease-free in no time. But make sure you do not attempt to steam the clothes while you are wearing them.

Try out the several tips and tricks, and let us know your experience in the comments section below. If you have any questions or need more information on the same, please let us know that, as well. We will come up with a new article with more details, answering all your queries.







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