how to clean an iron

8 Differences Between An Iron & Steamer

Traditional irons and their more recent counterparts, garment steamers, are a necessary tool in one’s household. They basically have the same function; eliminating nasty, unsightly wrinkles in garments using steam, making them look as good as new!

How does each appliance work? The steamer directs jets of hot steam onto hanging garments, relaxing the fibers in the fabric and removing wrinkles.

The iron, on the other hand, has a heated triangle-shaped surface that you press onto the garment to flatten wrinkles.

There are several other differences between these two appliances, as listed below.

Work Space

To use an iron, you will need a firm, flat surface, like an ironing board or a sturdy table. The surface enables you to put pressure on the garment as you iron and provides a place to stand the iron when you are done.

In contrast, the steamer does not require a workspace, as you hold it upright facing the garment during use.

Heating Time

The steamer takes a relatively shorter time to heat up than the iron. As such, ironing using a steamer takes a shorter time.


Because the steamer does not get into direct contact with the clothes, it is not possible to define creases and pleats on your shirts, trousers, and skirts.

With an iron, however, you can press neat pleats, darts, creases and folds on your garments.

Unwanted Shine

Guess which of the two appliances is more likely to leave a shine on your clothes! The iron, of course! Because the iron comes in direct contact with the fabric, it is likely to leave an unwanted shine on your clothes.

A steamer, however, never touches your clothes, so you can be sure there will be no shine.

Delicate Fabrics

The steamer works best for delicate fabrics like silk, polyester, and satin because it uses steam to get rid of wrinkles.

The iron, however, is likely to burn these fabrics if the temperature setting is not correct. Note, however, that an iron is perfect for pressing cotton and linen!

Heavy Garments

Do you have heavy items in your closet, like suit jackets, evening gowns, or even a wedding dress? Using an iron to press these garments may prove to be quite a task, as placing them on the ironing board may be tricky.

With a steamer, however, you can iron these items while they are hanging!


Out of the two appliances, the steamer is better at removing unwanted odors on garments. Its jets of steam go right through each item of clothing, taking the odor with them. The iron, on the other hand, is not as effective in odor removal.


When you go on a business trip and you need to iron some clothes, both a portable iron and portable steamer will come in handy.

You will however need to find a flat surface to use the iron on, while to use the steamer, just plug it in and direct the steam to your hanging clothes.

Though there are several differences between an iron and a steamer, each one has its own unique attributes that may appeal to you, the consumer, depending on your needs. Once you identify your needs, making the choice will be a breeze!

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