The war on wrinkles: steamers vs irons
It’s time to straighten this out! Discover the difference between a steamer and an iron and pick up some tips on getting those creases out.
What’s the difference between an iron and a steamer?
A dry iron presses your clothes with a hot plate against an ironing board. In contrast, a garment or clothes steamer typically does not require a board and is used on hanging fabrics. It straightens out clothing by shooting a continuous jet of steam, while held at a distance from the fabric.
There are also steam irons, which incorporate the best of both methods. The steam iron presses flat against your clothes, while using little jets of steam to really iron out those wrinkles.
When to use: steamer vs iron
Clothes steamers are ideal for taking the creases out of delicate fabrics like wools, silk or satin, which do not require heavy pressing.
But you need a steam iron for ironing creases like pleats or seams.
Panasonic steam irons like the NI-WL41 have the Power Shot feature, which shoots a jet of steam to remove deep creases. To ensure efficiency, it comes with an auto steam stopper when the iron is set on the power base. It also automatically switches off after 10 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to shut it down.
Tips on buying and using your iron
• Look for an iron with a non-stick plate surface with many holes for more steam to pass through.
• Want to avoid tangled wires? Choose a cordless iron like the NI-WL41. Its multi-direction soleplate lets you move around and iron hard-to-reach spots easily. Its carrying case even lets you store it immediately — no need to wait for it to cool!
• Ironing delicates while your iron is not at its hottest will help to protect them.
• Empty your clothes iron of any water after use, to prevent leaks and mineral build-up that can damage the iron.
Tips on how to use your clothes steamer
• Steam fabrics while holding them taut (be careful not to burn yourself!).
• Steam both sides of thicker fabrics to ensure full penetration.
• Adjust the distance between steamer and fabrics depending on the strength of the steam jet, to prevent overheating.
• Ideal fabrics for steaming include wool, cashmere, silk blends and other delicates.
• Use a steam iron like the NI-WL41 where the hot plate rests on a power base, reducing the chance of burning your hand.
Check out Panasonic’s collection of steam irons and clothes steamers.