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Steaming or ironing, what works better?

When it comes to crinkles in your clothes, you have three options: accept or ignore them, iron them out or steam them. If you can’t close your eyes to crinkles, it’s good to know that you have other options. But which is the best? Clothes steamer or iron? Steaming instead of ironing, or the other way around? In this blog, we will highlight the pros and cons of ironing and steaming.

The advantages of ironing

Ironing uses steam, heat and pressure. You move the hot sole of your iron over the fabric and use pressure to remove the crinkles. Ironing is perfect for a sleek and formal look. It works well for collars, cuffs and sharp folds. It’s an effective method, especially if you have a good ironing board and an ironing board cover.

The disadvantages of ironing when compared to steaming

But ironing is also hard work, and not as easy as it looks. Especially for collars, cuffs, pleats and ruffles, you need a decent amount of technique. And it’s not fast. Another disadvantage: ironing can damage the fabric or the prints, if the iron is too hot or you keep it in the same place for too long. Ironing causes wear and tear, and the colour scan be affected.


Even in the olden days, people were quick to realise that water – so steam – makes ironing easier. Steaming works by ‘blowing up’ the fibres of the fabric and relaxing them. And then if you apply some pressure, the crinkles will disappear. And a clothes steamer is a great tool for this. It provides so much steam that you need less pressure.

The advantages of steaming yourself

Steaming is quicker than ironing. It’s especially great for fabrics that are sensitive to heat and pressure and for clothes with pleats, ruffles or prints. Steaming also helps remove scents and bacteria. Steaming is safer than ironing – for your clothes as well – because you don’t have to work with a hot surface. There are more and more clothes steamers on the market, from super-complete to practical models for on the road. 

And the disadvantages.

Steaming has a lot of advantages. But, especially with a hand steamer, it’s not so easy to remove crinkles. It does help if you use back pressure in the form of a blanket or board. A steamer is not the perfect replacement of the iron for everyone. If you steam your clothes against a (closet) door, the steam may damage the wood or panel material. 


Do you want to be done quickly and do you not need it to be 100% sleek? Or do you have a lot of fine fabrics? Then a steam device or clothes steamer is a good option for you. Especially in combination with a steam blanket for on the door or a steam board, steaming provides great results. Do you feel like putting in the extra effort to remove every single crinkle? Do you have a lot of cotton or denim? Then you should use an iron and ironing board. Do you want to use both, depending on the clothes? That’s also good! You don’t have to choose between steaming or ironing – you can do both.

Which fabrics can you actually safely steam yourself with a clothes steamer? Find out in this blog!