How does a Garment Steamer Work – Key Points


One more question that has been asked several times across the community and that is how does a Garment steamer work or how does a Garment Steamer operate so if you would like to know the main functions, then take a quick read through this post which outlines all the main points that you need to know. First of all, please be aware that there are 2 different types being used in the average home nowadays.

Types for Garment Steamers:

1, Hand Held Garment Steamers – steamer blower fixed to the water tank (no metal rods)
2, Long Steam Wand Garment Steamers – for larger fabrics where a rubber hose and long metal rod are used to cover larger areas of wrinkles and creases (ideal for drapes, table linen)

Water Tank

First of all, the water tank is filled with cold water to the maximum level indicator on the appliance – do not overfill in an effort to save time as it will end up in unnecessary spills that can harm you. When buying, please be aware that the larger tanks and the higher wattage appliances will be more powerful and in effect will be able to generate higher levels of steam output which also reduces the amount of time for refilling and steaming.


Once filled, the steamer is turned on and the temperature rapidly increases internally with the heating element and then will stay at a predetermined heat level to prevent over heating or over boiling. The temperature setting will then be maintained at the level you specify.

Water Heating

When the power is switched on, the heating element will start to heat the water similar to what you would see in a kettle and will bring it to boiling temperature.

Steam Generation

Once you have boiled water, you now have the ability to generate steam and the settings provided by the steamer will emit the specific level of steam that you need to loosen the fibers within the garment so that they get flattened out.

Heat Levels

By adjusting the levels on the appliance, you can work it at different heat levels which in turn generate the different levels of steam output.

Steam Head

By pulling on the trigger or lever, steam will be sprayed out at a larger quantity that your typical iron from the steam head and this steam is then applied to your clothing in large volumes removing the creases and wrinkles that may exist.

Wrinkle Bonds

When the steam is applied in high dosages to the wrinkled or creased areas – it loosens up and releases the bonds and fibers that exist in the chained molecules within the fabrics so that they become flattened out. The denser the fabric the deeper the wrinkle will be and in effect it will take longer to remove these types of creases but for thinner garments made from linen, silk or satin it will operate in a much quicker fashion.

Metal Rod / Steam Wand

For the larger Garment steamers, a long metal rod or steam wand is used so that larger areas can also have the areas covered in steam which makes the job quicker and easier for you to complete. Garments can be hung up on this metal rod or choose a suitable hanger in its place.

Rubber Hose

It is the part on the end of the steam wand or metal rod where the steam is emitted and this hose is then directly positioned over the garments in the crease affected areas and to maximize fiber relaxation.

Garment Suitability

Please note that garment Steamers will have much better results working on lighter softer fabrics such as satin, linen and velvet where heavy metal irons can be avoided where possible. The denser garments however that have thick heavy creases will work better by starting with an iron for 2 minutes and then finishing off the final touches with your garment steamer. Dress shirts also that have deep creases will need a conventional iron as the results are much better than using a garment steamer alone to obtain a sleek crease free crisp dress shirt. So overall, the garment steamer will certainly reduce the level of ironing but in certain situations, the conventional iron should be used also.

Pros with Garment Steamers

  • Handheld models are easy to carry around
  • Low price tags associated with them
  • Can be brought with you on holidays or trips
  • Works much faster than irons and you don’t have the hassle of setting up the board, the cover and also having to fill the iron.
  • Ideal for delicate fabrics, for example satins, silks, linen
  • Perfect for items where a normal iron cannot be used

Cons with Garment Steamers

  • Can lack sufficient power to get rid of heavy creases or deep wrinkles.
  • Will struggle with dress shirts that require a sleek crease free appearance – for a crisp flat surface on a dress short, you are better off working with a conventional iron


In addition, while you are here - feel free to take a closer look at popular Garment Steamers by clicking on any of the images provided below…


Finally, it would be greatly appreciated by the community if you can share your own favorite Garment Steamers and the reasons why by leaving a comment in the comment box below – So that other people in the community can learn also!!!


Posted in Consumer Questions and tagged , , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *