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How to Steam Your Clothing to Remove Stubborn Wrinkles

Tips and tricks for making a shirt look good as new again.

Ron Lach

Clothes can get wrinkled easily whether straight from the laundry, cramped in a drawer or fished out of a pile sitting on your chair. You could certainly go out into the world with a rumpled shirt and you’d not be faulted for it, but if you’d rather keep some measure of order in your wardrobe, you can get it done with a steamer.

How to Steam Your Clothes

Steamers are extremely versatile and are the preferred tool for retail workers and stylists. Steamers work by boiling water in a tank which directs the steam through a steam head. The steam is dispersed through the fibers of the clothes, loosening them and ridding the fabric of wrinkles.

Though steamers are generally much bulkier than conventional irons, they actually take up less space since there’s no need for an ironing board, nor a spray bottle and starch. Steamers are also safer for clothes since there’s no direct contact, so you’re much less likely to damage your clothes. However, if you need to set creases or pleats, a steamer isn’t the best tool.

What You'll Need


Handheld steamers are great for their small footprint, but cumbersome if you need to steam a handful of clothes. Steamers with separate tanks and an integrated pole for hanging the clothes makes the process so much easier. Plus, the larger water tank means you won’t have to refill as often.


Turbo Extreme Steam Hand Held Fabric Steamer

Conair Amazon
$59.95 (14% off)


Some steamers come with their own valets, but others do not and you shouldn’t just hang your clothes on a hook, or the pole of the steamer.


Premium Velvet Hangers (50)

Mizgi Amazon


Step #1: Make Sure Your Clothes Are Clean

Like ironing your clothes, steaming out your clothes only to find they’re splotched with French’s kinda negates the whole thing. You won’t necessarily bake in any stains like you would with an iron, but it’s annoying nonetheless.

Step #2: Hang Your Clothes

Steaming requires your clothes to be hung and works with the help of gravity. If your clothes steamer comes with its own valet, adjust it to the appropriate height.

Step #3: Prep Your Steamer

Fill the tank with water and secure it to the steamer. Be careful not to overfill the tank, too. Turn on the steamer and wait until steam is emitted through the head, or if your steamer has a trigger, pull the trigger to emit the steam. Once the steamer has come up to a boil and is steaming, it’s advantageous to let the steamer run for few moments. Oftentimes, steamers will begin their vape session by sputtering large drops of water and it’s better to get those out of the way instead of onto your clothes.

Step #4: Steam

Because steam rises, it’s helpful to run the steam head from underneath the fabric, pulling it taut as you go. Steam the garment from top to bottom and in sections. Heavier fabrics will take more time than lighter fabrics.

Step #5: Wait

Once you’ve steamed the garment of all its wrinkles, it’s important to let it hang before wearing. Not only is the garment hot (especially the buttons and zippers), but it’s also damp from all the vapor it’s just experienced. Leave it hanging so it can cool off and dry.

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