This Week I Love …

SteamFast SF-435W Compact Fabric Steamer – $24.98

… my travel steamer.

During middle school and high school, I worked retail at a clothing boutique a block from my childhood home. And there I met the jumbo industrial steamer, which made rumpled, creased clothing look flowy and fresh. I know that Deja has invested in a Jiffy steamer and loves it, but I’m happy with my mini travel model for now. It’s far from perfect, with a fairly small chamber and a tendency to burp water onto my clothes if tipped to the wrong angle, but it’s a thousand times more effective at actually removing creases and wrinkles than any other travel steamer I’ve ever owned. Powerful and efficient, if a bit temperamental.

Like many people, I loathe ironing. But I’ll admit a steamer is a poor substitute for an iron when it comes to certain woven fabrics. My button-front shirts never look PRESSED after a steam, but they certainly look less rumpled. For press appearances, on-camera work, and interviews I iron. For daily doings, I steam.

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30 Responses to “This Week I Love …”

  1. Jen

    I want a steamer. Badly. This may solve my “price is an issue” problem. For daily wear I am a “spray with Downy wrinkle release, wet a washcloth, throw all items in dryer, and let heat while I shower” kind of gal. Awful I know. But I too loathe ironing. Chalk it up to my dad who used to make us iron everything. He even ironed sheets. (I wish that were a joke!) My husband sends his dress shirts out to be cleaned/ironed, so my collared button-down ones follow suit. But everything else gets the dryer treatment unless it is a special occasion!

  2. Roxy77

    I’m one of those weirdos that LOVES ironing…there’s something very soothing in making a wrinkled garment smooth and wrinkle-free. I iron most of the clothes I wear (even jeans!). I also have a steamer for use on clothing with ruffles or other awkward design details that are hard to iron. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people leave the house in a beautiful, yet wrinkled garment!!

  3. LinB

    A simple spray bottle from the dollar store, with plain tap water, is as effective as a travel steamer/iron, at least for natural fibers. Just spritz the wrinkled garment, and the wrinkles fall out even faster than if you hung the garment the bathroom and turned on a steamy shower. Great for situations where you aren’t sure if your steamer will blow a fuse or flip a breaker, too.

  4. Sarah

    I never, ever, ever buy clothes that need to be ironed or steamed. I don’t mind ironing but I would rather spend time reading or hiking or doing just about anything else, so a few years ago I just decided to stop. If I hem pants, I will iron the hem, but that’s about it. Luckily button-down tops never work on my figure (big boobs = gaping buttons) and I’ve never really been a fan of those shirts anyway. I stay away from things that are 100% cotton because they tend to wrinkle excessively. I watch my laundry like a hawk and switch it to the dryer the very second it’s done in the wash (I’ve noticed letting clothes sit in the washer causes wrinkles and creases that require ironing), and everything gets hung or folded right out of the dryer.

    My main frustration with having to iron is that I have to plan out my clothes ahead of time. I am just too lazy to do that unless it’s for a big event or party. A closet full of stuff that needs to be ironed means I have less outfit options day to day, because I can guarantee you I am not ironing in the morning before work. I probably wouldn’t be hassled to steam anything either. I guess I am just too lazy to be truly stylish!

  5. Kimberly

    I had a travel steamer that I used for a couple of years and used all the time – – at home and while traveling. I recently “upgraded” to the Joy Mangano steamer from HSN (only $18 currently!). Love it and it “burps” way less on my clothes than my other small steamer. I very seldom use my iron because of having the steamer (and I admit to using my hair straightner when I need a quick fix with a wrinkle or a collar pressed a bit!).

  6. Dee

    Its funny, I used to love to iron, or at least not mind it, in college. However, over the years I have started to really dislike ironing and basically never do it anymore. I did buy a travel steamer about 10 years ago and the whole family used it, loved it! When we moved last year I tossed it – minerals had built up in the water chamber and would occasionally spit on the clothing. It was cheap – about $20 and I figured I got more than my money’s worth. Then just recently I bought another one, basically the same model, which I don’t recall, but they were ‘buy one, get one free’ on HSN. Weird I know – who really needs two? (give one as a gift?). Honestly I have not used it yet, not even opened the box but I am happy to have it handy when I will need it. I do hate wrinkled clothing but to avoid wrinkles I do a couple of things: one, take clothes out fo the dryer while damp and hang them carefully, two, use that Downy wrinkle release spray when necessary, and generally don’t buy or wear a lot of stuff that needs precise ironing (like cotton blouses). Some things I will simply get dry cleaned to have pressed nicely. I have also known people who love to iron, and who iron everything from sheets to baby clothes! I think one of the reasons I dislike ironing as an adult is I can’t find an iron I really think does a good job…but then its probablly ‘operator error’ LOL!

  7. Anamarie

    I have a Rowenta steamer with a stand. It has a tank for water at the base (probably holds 2 quarts) and has a long hose. The stand part is to hold the hose when not in use and to hang your clothing while you’re steaming. I bought it at TJMaxx some time ago for around $70. I have seen similar for about twice that online. I also own a Jiffy Steamer ESTEAM Travel Steamer, which I bought from for around $50. It’s light weight and fairly compact, so it’s nice for traveling and way better than using the hotel iron or the “hang in the bathroom while I shower” method. I spend about five minutes steaming my clothes every day. To me, it is time well-spent. I don’t like to look like I just rolled out of bed. I hate to iron, and steaming is a good alternative for most clothing. My husband sends his stuff to the cleaners and washes his own damn clothes! 🙂 He actually uses the travel steamer at home all the time, and I keep the big steamer in the basement for my own use.

    Side note – the first time I met my mother in law, she was ironing her underwear in the living room. Seriously.

  8. Anneesha

    I kinda enjoy ironing; not sure why?

    BUT I have a question about ironing – I borrowed a beautiful resort-wear silk dress from a friend – and she said DON’T IRON IT. ?? Steaming is fine, but what could be wrong with ironing pure silk??

    • Sal

      Hmm. I’m no expert, but my guess is that the delicate fibers might be damaged by pressing. Anyone else have ideas?

      • Jean

        I have ironed silk garments of my own with a dry iron on low heat (irons often have a ‘silk’ setting). If the fabric is fragile, such as silk chiffon, I would iron with a thin white cotton cloth (such as a tea towel) between the iron and the garment. Silk can scorch easily and water can spot it.

        • Anneesha

          It’s a heavyweight drapey silk, but maybe water spotting is the issue. Thanks!

    • Miss T

      Silk is actually an extremely strong fiber, having tensile strength similar to or exceeding that of steel. It’s a protein fiber, so it can take heat. The only permanent damage from ironing would be scorching if the iron’s too hot; water spots or steam don’t permanently damage silk, though a water spot will stay there until the next laundering or cleaning. I have an ivory silk blouse that is satin with chiffon inserts on the body of it; it looks diaphanous and fragile, yet I throw it in the washer and dryer all the time and touch it up with a steam iron regularly. Looks as good as the day I bought it 5 years ago.

      The only real reason a person may want to dry clean rather than launder and iron silk is because the brilliant dyes used in silk are often water soluble and the garment will fade with washing using typical detergents. Silk takes dye beautifully — but also loses it easily. But light-colored silks generally don’t require a lot of babying.

  9. Aimee C

    I bought a giant, professional steamer last year when there was a deal on Groupon – and I am embarrassed to say I still don’t know how to use it. I’ve looked on youtube for videos, stalked employees at Macy’s when I saw they were using one – still have no clue what I am supposed to be doing with it or the attachments. Any tips?

  10. Lu Monte

    I have a travel steamer too and love it. I use it most of the time at home and don’t even have a iron. 🙂

  11. Lynne

    My husband bought me one of those lovely stand up professional steamers he found on eBay. I’ve never had much luck with the travel size.

  12. Anna

    Most of my clothes don’t need ironing, and I don’t mind ironing the ones that do. It takes me back to my school days when I earned my cat’s food by ironing my father’s shirts, 7 shirts per week (this was before permanent press). Not only did I become skilled at ironing, and at dampening everything precisely in preparation for ironing, but years later I taught both my sons to iron their own shirts. Yes, that can be a manly skill!

  13. 1000Oysters

    I love my steamer! I bought a cheap one off of an endcap at Home Depot a couple of years ago and loved it. The attachment broke after about a year so I purchased a new, more expensive one. I can’t remember the brand but it has a good sized reservoir and adjustable steam levels. Between me and the boy, it gets some hard use so when it breaks, I’m sure we’ll get another one. The boy, who NEVER likes things I buy, told me the steamer was the best thing I have ever bought.

  14. Angela

    I love to iron. I put my crappy non-kid friendly shows on, lock myself in the bedroom on a sunday and iron a few weeks worth of clothes, in a perfect world.

    This month is a bit too crazy for that, so I iron the night before. I have thought of a steamer to help with this.

    To Anamaria, is your MIL British? My parents are and iron EVERYTHING! I used to go to grade school with creases ironed down the front of my jeans…not kidding

    • Anamarie

      Angela, no, she’s not British. Although it was strange to see her ironing underwear, I’m actually grateful to her. My husband grew up ironing his own clothing (EVEN HIS JEANS!! which I put a stop to!) and so I have never had to iron his, unless I’m in a good mood and feeling generous. 🙂

  15. ClaraT

    Question: I hate ironing. I hate rumpled T shirt. Does your travel steamer work well on cotton T shirts that are rumpled from being folded in a drawer?

    • Sal

      Yes! OK, yes with caveats. I’ve found that certain cotton blends crease heavily and steaming gets the wrinkles out, but some ghost-creases remain. On 99% of tees and knits, this steamer works like a charm. But there are a few weird exceptions.

  16. catnip

    I have a Jiffy steamer that I bought on eBay that is wonderful. I got an excellent deal on it because it was missing parts. Jiffy sells replacement parts on their website and I was able to easily locate what I needed. I cannot live without it now! I hate ironing, but will gladly steam things.

  17. Halo

    I almost never iron at home because I hang my dresses to dry and smoothing out the wrinkles a bit on a damp item usually does the trick. When traveling, I would rather have another pair of shoes than a steamer, so I use the hotel iron. Dresses, no matter how well packed, always seem to need a little ironing after being in a suitcase. Of course, hanging up all my clothes in the hotel closet also does wonders.

  18. Sue

    Hi everyone

    I’m British and iron my clothes (even though I don’t really like ironing) but I don’t worry about my undies or sheets! My husband doesn’t bother ironing unless it’s smart trousers and shirts, but at least he does his own ironing. A steamer sounds a great idea!

  19. Anna

    It’s my second visit to this topic, but after seeing the posts about Jiffy steamers, and visiting Jiffy on Amazon, I have to comment on Jiffy’s use of “scientific” testing. They show two samples of wool magnified 500x and 1000x, one wool sample Jiffy-steamed and the other iron-pressed, with (of course) damage shown to the pressed wool. The text below states that the damage was caused by application of the hot sole plate of the iron to the wool.
    BUT anyone who knows the least thing about pressing wool knows that you NEVER apply the hot iron to the wool. You ALWAYS use a pressing cloth between the iron and the wool (and the pressing cloth is often dampened as well, depending on how much steam you are using).
    Sorry for the capital letters; I realize that is the equivalent of shouting, but it annoyed me something awful to see proper pressing misrepresented for commercial purposes (so what else is new….commerce…politics…end of rant…).

  20. JS

    I iron on special occasions, but on a regular basis, I hang up clothes and spray them with a made at home version of Downey’s Wrinkle Release that I learned how to make online. Just fill a spray bottle part-way with water, add some liquid fabric softener, close cap and shake. Lasts a long time.

  21. Sonja Shin

    Ha! I was just thinking about travel steamers. I bought a big one complete with pole and hanger but found that it’s not practical to pull out if I want to do something quickly. It’s better for when I have several things to steam. I was hoping to do away with ironing but also realized that an iron is still better with some things like you said. Now I’m looking into getting a travel or compact steamer for quick jobs when I don’t want to pull out the big guy. Thanks for sharing the one you like! XO