Alternatives to ironing
March 1, 2012 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Are clothes steamers a useful alternative to ironing?

I get too lazy to iron and send my shirts to the cleaners to get pressed. But I am not super picky about creases--I just want to get out the wrinkles and look presentable for work (teacher).
posted by mecran01 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've found it depends on your material. I steam my no-wrinkle shirts and they look fine. If I try and do that with any shit that isn't 'no-wrinkle' then it doesn't work near as well.
posted by Carillon at 1:43 PM on March 1, 2012

In my experience, it is far easier and faster to do a good, quick job of ironing a shirt than it is to effectively use a steamer such that the shirt looks presentable. A steamer tends to be slow, require multiple slow passes, and not do a very good job, even in the best of circumstances.

The trick is to get "no-iron" shirts, pull them out of the dryer the second they're done, and hang them on a hanger. Done and done.

Or, alternatively, practice ironing. It gets really easy. I used to iron a shirt every morning before putting it on and got fast enough that it only took a minute or two.
posted by The World Famous at 1:52 PM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

In our house we take out the dress shirts and hang them straight out of the wash- no dryer- sometimes we hang next to the shower (steam)...anyhoo no wrinkles... the ones that creep through we use downey's "wrinkle releaser" but mr. pony hates being sprayed!
posted by misspony at 2:02 PM on March 1, 2012

I have a steamer and I love it. I find that it lets me take my shirts from unwearable to presentable much faster than I could with an iron. If I want something perfect, I'll spend the time ironing. But in most cases, the steamer gets me to good enough much faster.

I will note that it took me probably 50 uses to get quick with the steamer. For the first few months I had it, I was pretty disappointed by it. But now I really appreciate it.

The trick is to maintain tension on the garment while it is being steamed. Just blowing steam on it will take forever. Careful of burns on your first few garments!
posted by reeddavid at 2:25 PM on March 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

I used a steamer for a was a lot easier (for me) and quicker than an iron, but it was still too laborious for my lazy self. I ended up just taking them to the cleaners!
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 2:53 PM on March 1, 2012

I'm with reeddavid. For me steamer gets faster and easier results than an iron. Yes, no-iron shirts are better with the steamer. But I've used it on all manner of material and I find it superior. It's nice not to have to worry about spreading the clothes out flat on an ironing board.
posted by jayder at 4:15 PM on March 1, 2012

You don't even need to use steam. Use a mister. Wear the shirt, mist it lightly with water, then pull it tight. Your body will evaporate the tiny bit of moisture in five minutes. This is how they take wrinkles out of tablecloths in restaurants.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:26 PM on March 1, 2012

I use wrinkle-releaser for everything. I spray, tug, tug again, slap it onto a hanger while I shower and bam, I am looking presentable. For things that are more resistant, I pull the item right out of the dryer and fold/hang and that's fine. I think it probably does depend on your material, though - I wear casual/business casual and haven't owned an iron in several years, but most of my materials are cotton or such.
posted by sm1tten at 5:10 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also totally agree with reeddavid. I have a steamer and find it incredibly useful. I hate ironing (usually manage to iron in more wrinkles than I iron out) and can now avoid it almost entirely. The steamer works well on most things, including cotton t-shirts, my husband's dress shirts and sport coats (he loves that steamer even more than I do), dresses and curtains. I also like to use it on sweaters, both for getting out wrinkles and for freshening them between washes.
I think I paid around $50 for ours at Costco a few years ago, fyi.
posted by Jemstar at 6:17 PM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

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