Can Garment Steamers Dry Clothes? A Quick Guide for Easy Results

Can Garment Steamers Dry Clothes A Quick Guide for Easy Results

Last Updated on July 25, 2023

Garment steamers have become increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional ironing, offering a convenient and efficient way to remove wrinkles and refresh fabrics. These handy devices use steam to relax the fibres in clothing, making it easier to smooth out creases and achieve a professional finish at home. With various types and sizes available on the market, they cater to a wide range of needs and preferences.

While garment steamers are mainly designed for removing wrinkles, some people may wonder if they can also dry clothes. Although garment steamers use steam, which is essentially water vapour, they do not necessarily leave fabrics soaking wet. In fact, the steam evaporates quickly and the heat generated can help to slightly dry the clothes. However, it is important to note that garment steamers should not be relied upon for completely drying clothes, as their primary function is to eliminate wrinkles and refresh fabrics.

Key Takeaways

  • Garment steamers effectively remove wrinkles and refresh fabrics using steam
  • Some slight drying of clothes may occur during steaming, but garment steamers are not designed for complete drying
  • Choosing the right garment steamer type and using it effectively can help to achieve the best results on different fabrics

Can Garment Steamers Dry Clothes

Garment Steamer vs Traditional Iron

Garment steamers and traditional irons both serve the purpose of removing wrinkles and creases from clothes. However, they operate differently. A garment steamer uses steam to relax the fibres of the fabric, making it smooth, soft and wrinkle-free. On the other hand, a traditional iron applies heat and pressure directly on the garment, which flattens the fibres.

Now, onto drying clothes: while garment steamers are not specifically designed to dry clothes, they can help speed up the drying process, particularly for delicate fabrics. You see, the powerful steam emitted by the garment steamer can partially evaporate the moisture in the fabric, reducing the amount of drying time needed. However, it’s essential to note that a garment steamer is not a substitute for a clothes dryer – it can simply assist in the overall drying process.

Benefits of Using a Garment Steamer to Dry Clothes

Here are some advantages of using a garment steamer to aid in drying clothes:

  • Gentle on fabrics: The steam released by garment steamers is gentle on delicate fabrics. It can help prevent damages such as shrinkage or distortion, which might occur when using a traditional iron.

  • Efficient: Handheld steamers can be particularly efficient in drying clothes, as they can be easily moved around, targeting specific wet spots or areas that need attention. Plus, handheld steamers are lightweight and portable, making them convenient to use.

  • Sanitisation: The powerful steam from a garment steamer can potentially help in eliminating germs and bacteria on clothes, especially when used on high heat settings.

Remember, garment steamers can provide assistance in drying clothes, but they’re not the go-to method for drying garments. Their primary function is to smooth out wrinkles and refresh fabric, making your clothes look neat and presentable.

Suitable Fabrics for Garment Steaming

Fabrics That Can Be Safely Steamed

When it comes to steaming garments, many fabrics can handle the process and come out looking refreshed and wrinkle-free. Some of the popular materials that are well-suited for steaming include:

  • Cotton: Known for its durability and breathability, cotton is a common fabric found in clothing and can be easily steamed to remove wrinkles. However, be careful with delicate types of cotton, like lace.

  • Linen: Another breathable and comfortable fabric, linen often wrinkles easily. Steaming is an excellent method to quickly and efficiently smoothen out these creases.

  • Wool: Steaming works well on wool as it not only removes wrinkles but also helps eliminate any odours. Ensure that you’re using a steamer setting suitable for wool to avoid damage.

  • Silk: This delicate fabric benefits from steaming, as it helps in maintaining its softness and smooth texture. Just make sure to keep the steamer at a safe distance from the fabric to prevent any water spots or damage.

Fabrics to Avoid Steaming

Although steaming is a fantastic way to remove wrinkles and refresh your clothing, certain materials may not react well to the process. Some fabrics to avoid steaming include:

  • Suede: The heat and moisture from the steamer can damage the suede’s texture and appearance. It’s best to consult a professional cleaner for any necessary care.

  • Lace: While some types of lace can handle steaming, others may be too delicate and should be dealt with cautiously. Always test a small, inconspicuous area of the garment before attempting to steam the entire piece.

  • Cashmere: This luxurious and soft material requires special care. Steaming cashmere can often lead to shrinkage or distortion of its delicate fibres. Instead, try gently steaming cashmere from a distance or laying it flat on a towel to air-dry.

In conclusion, garment steamers are a useful tool to keep your clothing looking fresh and wrinkle-free. However, always consider the type of fabric and its care instructions before using a steamer. When in doubt, consult a professional cleaner or the garment’s manufacturer for advice.

Using a Garment Steamer Effectively

How to Use a Garment Steamer

A garment steamer is an excellent tool for removing wrinkles and giving a fresh, clean appearance to clothes. To use a handheld fabric steamer, start by filling the water tank with the recommended amount of water. Some models, like the Conair steamer, may have specific instructions on the water type to use (distilled or tap water).

Turn the garment steamer on, and wait for it to heat up until it starts producing steam. It’s essential to let the steamer reach the appropriate temperature before proceeding. Hold the steamer’s nozzle a few centimetres away from the clothing item and move it in a downward motion, applying steady and consistent steam over the fabric. Slowly move from one section to another, focusing on wrinkled and creased areas.

Tips for Steaming Clothes Correctly

To get the best results when using a garment steamer, follow these tips:

  • Hang your clothes: It’s much easier to steam your clothes when they are hanging. Use a sturdy hanger and make sure the clothes are hanging straight without any folds or creases.

  • Stretch and smooth: While steaming, gently tug and smooth the fabric with your free hand. This helps to release and even out the wrinkles more effectively.

  • Choose the right steam setting: Some steamers come with different steam settings for various fabrics. Use the correct setting for your clothing item to get the best results. For example, delicate fabrics may require a lower steam setting, while thick materials may require a higher setting.

  • Be cautious with certain fabrics: Not all fabrics can handle direct contact with steam. In particular, materials like silk, velvet, and embroidered items may need extra caution. Hover the steamer’s nozzle slightly farther away from these fabrics and use a lower steam setting if available.

  • Take breaks when necessary: If you’re using a handheld garment steamer, your hand may become tired. It’s important to take breaks and avoid accidental burns.

In summary, using a garment steamer effectively involves following the device’s instructions, hanging your clothes properly, selecting the right steam settings, and being cautious with delicate fabrics. With practice, your garment steaming skills will quickly improve, leading to efficient and impressive results.

Different Types of Garment Steamers

Garment steamers are a fantastic addition to your laundry routine, as they can help refresh and remove wrinkles from various types of fabric. In this section, we’ll explore the three main categories of garment steamers: handheld garment steamers, upright garment steamers, and compact and portable steamers—each with their unique benefits and design features.

Handheld Garment Steamers

Handheld garment steamers are an excellent choice for those looking for a lightweight, portable solution for their fabric care needs. These steamers are generally compact in design, making them perfect for taking with you on the go or for small living spaces. Typical handheld garment steamers, like the Rowenta model, are easy to use and are a great alternative to traditional ironing or trips to the dry cleaners.

One of the benefits of handheld steamers is their quick heat-up time, which allows users to start steaming their clothes in just a few minutes. Furthermore, handheld garment steamers are suitable for various fabrics, including delicate materials that might be damaged by direct contact with an iron.

Upright Garment Steamers

Upright garment steamers, also known as standing steamers, are an excellent option for those who want a more powerful and stable steaming experience. These steamers are often larger than their handheld counterparts and come with a vertical steaming pole for convenient steaming without needing to hold the appliance constantly.

The design of upright garment steamers usually includes a base with wheels, which allows for easy manoeuvrability around your home or workspace. The increased power of upright steamers means that they can produce more steam and provide a more thorough steaming experience for tougher fabrics or larger items like curtains or upholstery.

Compact and Portable Steamers

For those who want the ultimate in portability and storage, compact and portable steamers are the perfect choice. These steamers offer the same benefits as handheld garment steamers, such as their light weight and convenient design, but with an even more compact form factor. This makes them ideal for travel, as they can easily fit into a suitcase.

Compact and portable steamers provide an effective solution for quickly refreshing clothes and removing wrinkles without needing access to traditional laundry facilities. These smaller steamers still provide the power and performance needed for various fabrics types, ensuring a fresh and neat appearance wherever you go.

In conclusion, by considering the unique characteristics and advantages of handheld garment steamers, upright garment steamers, and compact and portable steamers, you can choose the best steamer for your specific needs, so your garments always look their best.

Additional Features and Accessories

Large Water Tank and Capacity

Garment steamers equipped with a large water tank offer extended steaming sessions, allowing users more time to clean their textiles effectively. A larger tank capacity ensures that the steamer can produce a powerful and consistent flow of steam, which is essential for removing wrinkles, dust mites, and odour-causing bacteria from garments and sheets.

Cleaning Accessories

Many garment steamers come with a variety of cleaning accessories to improve ease of use and help tackle different fabrics. These may include a cleaning tool designed for use with a specific type of detergent. Utilising these accessories helps ensure proper care for your textiles, effectively removing stubborn dirt and grime.

Lint Brush and Delicate Materials Brush

A lint brush is a handy attachment that can be used with garment steamers to remove lint, hair, and debris from fabrics. This accessory is particularly suited for refreshing upholstery and maintaining delicate materials, such as wedding dresses.

The delicate materials brush gently smooths out fine textiles, ensuring a thorough and uniform steam distribution. This feature assists in preventing spitting or sputtering, making it perfect for items with a sensitive care label.

Combining the power of a large water tank, versatile cleaning accessories, and specific brushes for lint removal and delicate fabric care, garment steamers provide an efficient and friendly solution for maintaining a wide range of textiles. With warranties often included, users can confidently invest in a device that caters to their specific needs and guarantees top-notch performance.

Top Garment Steamer Brands


Rowenta is a well-known brand offering high-quality garment steamers that effectively remove wrinkles and refresh your clothes. Their steamers are designed to be user-friendly, which make them a popular choice among customers. Rowenta garment steamers are known for their powerful steam output, fast heating times, and large water tanks that can provide continuous steaming for up to 60 minutes.


Conair is another reputable brand in the garment steamer market, providing a wide variety of options to fit the needs of different users. Their garment steamers are known for their rapid heat-up times and compact design, making them ideal for quick steaming sessions or travel use. Conair steamers also come with multiple attachments for versatile steaming options, such as a fabric brush and creaser.

Jiffy Steamer

Jiffy Steamer offers professional-grade garment steamers that are designed to deliver reliable and efficient performance. With a focus on quality and durability, Jiffy Steamer products are built to withstand frequent use, making them a great option for commercial settings or heavy-duty home use. Their steamers are known for their effective wrinkle removal, quick heating, and large water tank capacity.


PurSteam is a brand that prides itself on creating high-performance garment steamers at affordable prices. Their steamers are designed with user convenience and efficiency in mind, providing features such as adjustable steam settings, long steaming times, and lightweight designs. PurSteam garment steamers are suitable for use with a variety of fabrics and work efficiently to smooth out wrinkles and refresh your clothes.

The Laundress

The Laundress offers a garment steamer that focuses on providing effective steaming solutions while being gentle on your clothes. Their steamer is specifically designed to work well with delicate fabrics, making it a suitable option for those who require a gentle touch when refreshing their garments. The Laundress steamer is compact and portable, making it an excellent choice for those who need to steam their clothes on the go.

In conclusion, these top garment steamer brands, including Rowenta, Conair, Jiffy Steamer, PurSteam, and The Laundress, offer a variety of options to suit different steaming needs and preferences. Each brand brings unique features and benefits to the table, ensuring that there’s a garment steamer that’s perfect for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a garment steamer replace a tumble dryer?

A garment steamer cannot entirely replace a tumble dryer, as they have different functions. While a tumble dryer removes moisture from clothes through heat and tumbling action, a garment steamer releases steam to relax fabric fibres, reducing wrinkles and refreshing clothes. Steaming may help accelerate the drying process for damp clothes, but it is not a complete substitute for a tumble dryer.

How effective is steaming for drying clothes?

Steaming is not primarily meant for drying clothes; instead, it focuses on removing wrinkles and refreshing fabrics. It can accelerate the drying process if clothes are only slightly damp, but it won’t effectively dry wet clothes. Ideally, you should let your clothes air dry or use a tumble dryer for the best results.

Can steam irons help with clothes drying?

Steam irons are designed to remove wrinkles from clothes rather than dry them. However, the heat and steam released by a steam iron may help garments dry faster when used on slightly damp clothes. Bear in mind that steam irons are not meant for drying clothes and that excessive steam or heat may damage certain fabrics.

Is it possible to sanitise and dry clothes with a steamer?

A garment steamer can help sanitise and refresh clothes by killing bacteria, dust mites, and removing odours with the use of high-temperature steam. However, steamers are not designed to dry clothes completely. For best results in sanitising and drying your clothes, use a combination of a steamer and a tumble dryer or air drying.

What is the best method to dry clothes without a dryer?

If you don’t have a tumble dryer, air drying is the best alternative for drying clothes. Spread your clothes evenly on a drying rack, clothesline, or flat surface with good airflow, ensuring none of the garments are overlapping. It is essential to place them indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather conditions, so that they dry effectively and evenly.

Can a garment steamer cause clothes to shrink?

Garment steamers are unlikely to cause clothes to shrink, as they use steam to relax fabric fibres without applying direct heat. Unlike tumble dryers or washing machines, steamers don’t agitate the fibres, which is a common cause of clothes shrinking. However, always follow the care label instructions for your clothing items when using a garment steamer to avoid potential damage.

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