Steam is a popular method to smooth wrinkles and refresh garments between washes. But does exposing your clothes to steam actually clean them? Or is it merely a temporary fix? The truth lies somewhere in the middle. While steaming has benefits, it cannot fully substitute for thorough laundering. Read on to learn the capabilities and limits of garment steaming.
How Does Steaming Work?
First, let’s review how steam machines operate:
Heat + Moisture
Steam combines very hot water vapor with moisture to penetrate fabrics.
The intense heat swells and loosens fibers so wrinkles can be smoothed.
Use a wide nozzle steam head to distribute steam coverage evenly.
Hang garments properly on a rack to access all areas and prevent re-wrinkling.
Steam inside out for deeper steam penetration into fabric.
Use a press cloth to protect delicate fabrics from moisture and heat damage.
Pre-treat any stains first since steam alone cannot remove them.
Dry clean excessively steamed garments periodically to deep clean fibers.
Follow up with an iron on tough creases that need added pressing.
Adjust steam volume based on fabric type – use lower temperatures for delicates.
Adopting best practices ensures you get the most benefit from steaming.
Steaming vs. Washing FAQs
Here are answers to common questions about steaming clothes versus laundering:
Does steaming sanitize clothes?
Not nearly as well as washing. Steam reduces bacteria but does not fully disinfect garments.
Can you steam clothes instead of dry cleaning?
For some fabrics like wool suits, steaming can substitute for dry cleaning to save money. But it does not truly clean the garment.
Is it OK to only steam clothes and not wash?
For lightly worn items, steaming between wears is fine. But clothes still require regular laundering cycles to deep clean.
How often can you steam clothes before washing?
For delicate items, every 2-5 wears. But heavily worn shirts, jeans, socks, etc. still need washing after just 1-2 wears even if steamed.
Will steaming shrink or damage clothes?
If used improperly at very high temps, steam can damage fabrics. Follow guidelines for your fabric type.
Can you get rid of stains with a steamer?
Steaming can help loosen some fresh stains prior to washing. But it cannot remove set-in, dried stains without laundering.
What odors does steaming remove?
Light sweat and perfume, but not heavy body odors. Steaming provides surface-level odor removal only.
Is steaming better than ironing?
Steaming reaches wrinkles in areas an iron cannot. But for pressed dress shirts, an iron still works best. Use both techniques.
Can you put clothes in the dryer after steaming?
Yes, steaming simply relaxes wrinkles but does not saturate fabrics like washing. Dryer heat can set the smoothed fibers.
Unravel the power and limits of garment steaming for refreshed clothing between washes. Bring heavily wrinkled, delicately soiled garments into Laundry Pile in Austin, TX. Our professional steamers provide a deeper level of wrinkle release compared to home models. Trust your fine fabrics to our trained experts for the best results. We’ll return your clothes looking neatly pressed with odors and some stains reduced too. Contact Laundry Pile to experience the revitalizing magic of professional steaming for all your wardrobe.