View Full Version : Garment Steamers
08-12-2009, 05:47 PM
I'm desperate for some opinions. Let me start by saying I DO NOT IRON. :fingerwag: Unless absolutely necessary. Seriously, I don't do it anymore and the main reason is by the second garment, my right wrist on the inside from the heel of my hand up into my wrist feels like someone is stabbing me with a knife. It's awful. I stretch it and massage it but nothing helps and no, I don't hold it tightly either. I made sure of that today. I just ironed some curtains which I do like twice a year and my wrist is killing me.
I want to buy a steamer but QVC's reviews aren't that great so I'm coming to my 'family' for help.
Jan in CA
08-12-2009, 06:28 PM
Good question! I hate ironing and don't do it unless absolutely necessary! I'll be watching this thread. :thumbsup:
08-13-2009, 12:55 AM
If something is slightly wrinkled, I throw it in the dryer with a damp towel...I don't know if that would work for heavily wrinkled garments, however...
08-13-2009, 08:25 PM
I work in clothing, so I know a few things about steamers. Whatever you do, DO NOT buy the Tobi steamer (http://www.thane.ca/products/housewares/tobi/tobi.php). It is such a rip off. My FIL has this one and it sucks compared to a professional steamer. The one we use at work is a Kobe steamer. It's a professional steamer and I have seen it priced at around $169 Canadian. I looked it up online and didn't find out much about the Kobe (like where to purchase it etc.) I think as long as you spend enough to get decent quality, you will be okay.
One major piece of advice- Only use distilled water in your steamer. If you use tap water it will get so clogged with calcium and it won't last. Using only distilled water should ensure a long life for your steamer.
Thanks for tying ironing and steaming together.
I just used my old iron to melt wax into my apple press and was thinking I was going to have to buy a new one the next time I sew something.
But I have the steamer I bought for blocking. I'll try that first.
I don't think a steamer will help your wrist. The hose on mine adds quite a bit of weight.
This is what I have. http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=4360372
It works fine for blocking at least. Heats up fast and lasts long enough for blocking. Steaming curtains may require a refill.
I use tap water and figure I'll delime it when I notice it slowing down.
The steam is HOT, much worse than touching a hot iron.
08-14-2009, 10:54 PM
Yes, the hose is a little heavy, but I think you would probably be fine. It's a different motion than an iron. I wouldn't buy a cheap one as I think you would be wasting your money. If you find a cheap one on sale for really cheap, you could give it a go, but if this is something you're looking to invest in- I would research it and think about putting down at least $100-$150.
And it really is next to impossible to clean the calcium and lime from it once it's clogged. It is just better to use distilled water and not throw your money down the drain. We have about 3 or 4 steamers that are just obsolete because they had tap water in them- they lasted maybe a couple months.
I've had mine well over a couple months, more like a couple of years and it hasn't slowed down.
It's not worth it to plunk $100-$150 down on something like this if you're not a pro or rich. That's like saying you need professional steam blocking forms for knitting. You may want the best but you don't need the best.
$30 suited me fine. If it dies in a few years it's worth replacing with another $30. It would take 5 of them to make up one $150 unit.
I didn't even think of it as something I could iron with (because I never iron except when I'm sewing). I was using a squirt bottle and my old iron for sewing when I had the steamer sitting right there.
I need to sew something so I'll get that into my head or else when I plug in my iron and smell wax I may run out to buy a new iron. I think I need an apple harvesting bag.
08-15-2009, 02:48 PM
Steaming and ironing aren't substitutes for each other, unfortunately.
Steaming is great for blocking, removing wrinkles and freshening fabrics (especially wool) so they look loftier and fluffier. The hot steam does the work; the steamer doesn't press down on the fabric.
Ironing works by direct contact of a hot metal plate on the fabric. It flattens out the fabric to remove wrinkles and gives it a smooth, shiny finish. It can also iron in pleats, smooth seams and hems, etc. A steam iron can do both steam-pressing and ironing, obviously, but it can't produce the volume of steam that a steamer can.
A steamer isn't a good substitute for an iron if you need to do shirts, crisp cottons or linens. I used to think that a heavy iron was necessary for fast, smooth ironing, but I was wrong The one I have now is very lightweight and doesn't bother my wrist nearly as much as the old one. It's an inexpensive Black & Decker, but I'm sure there are even better, more ergonomically correct ones out there.
I made a 1 bushel bag with the steamer.
It presses fine, an iron presses better. Oddly it did not totally remove the fold lines from the duck cloth that has been sitting around forever. I think an iron would've.
It left the duck cloth quite wet. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if I had a towel under it (my ironing board has a heat proof cover that is sealed pretty good. probably asbestos, it's as old as my iron). It got really wet when I was using my metal square to press on.
I think the steamer did better than an iron would've on the straps where I rolled up about 4 layers of cloth and pressed them flat.
I think mine also came with a pleating attachment although I have no idea where it is.