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Can Steaming Ruin Clothes?

Your friend is wearing a fabulous, expensive top. You compliment the shirt and ask if it’s hard to clean. Your friend answers,

“No, I steam it.”

You attend a party, and someone spills their drink on the host. Well, on his new blazer. Everyone at the party gasps, except the host. He says,

“It’s okay; steam will get it out.”

You are now seriously interested in using steam to clean your clothes. But all you know right now is that it has worked for two other people.

We are here to help teach you more about steaming so you can decide if it is a process you want to start using in your home.

What Is Steaming?

Steaming or steam cleaning is simply the use of heated vaporized water to de-wrinkle, deodorize, and kill bacteria on clothing. Steam cleaning can be used on many items, including carpets, glass, and even engines.

In the case of laundry, steam cleaning is done with the use of a machine created specifically for treating clothes. You add water to the device, and it does the rest. It heats the water. And when we say heat, we mean like over 300 degrees hot.

This can sometimes be a problem when it’s already hot outside, like during our Arizona summers.

With the push of a button, the steam exits the nozzle that you move up and down your clothing. Then watch as the magic happens.

What NOT to Steam

Steam cleaning can be done on almost any surface. However, some fabrics will ruin if you try to steam them.

Velour or velvet is one of these surfaces. I know what you’re thinking; those fabrics aren’t in high demand right now. But, you forget about that super comfortable blanket you take everywhere with you. Or, those pajamas that you can’t get rid of because they are so soft. Likely, they are made of velour or velvet.

Any fabric with a wax coating can melt from the steam. The same is true with plastics. Keep in mind small add-ons like buttons and appliques when considering what to steam. If you think heat can melt it, don’t steam it. Finally, avoid steaming suede. The heated water vapors could cause suede to shrink.

How You Steam Makes A Difference

If you read the directions on your clothing and your steamer and follow them completely, you should not have any problems when steam cleaning. If you are like some, and you know who you are, who skip the instructions, errors can happen.

For instance, you spray your clothing with a chemical cleaner then run the steamer over it. Or, instead of holding the steamer near the cloth, you press the nozzle onto the clothing, like an iron. Or, you think a cleaning solution inside the steamer would work better than plain water. Finally, you steam your delicate items with the same vigor you steam your heavy-duty things.

Those are just four examples of how to ruin both your clothes and your steamer.

Weigh the Risk

When you make a decision, in any area of your life, it’s common to weigh the risk before you make a final decision. For instance, you want that beautiful diamond necklace you saw in the store window. You could break the window and take the jewelry. The risk? Going to prison for theft. You decide to save money and purchase the necklace.

Sure, that’s an exaggerated example, but the idea is the same when it comes to steam cleaning. Is the piece of clothing you want to steam worth the risk of ruining? If you got a cashmere sweater at a thrift shop for ten bucks, it might be worth the risk. If you paid $1000 for an embroidered silk blouse, not worth the risk.

When you feel steaming your clothes is too risky for specific items, give them the professional cleaning they deserve.

Use the Pros

Professional dry cleaners understand you want to handle steaming your items at home. At Prestige Cleaners, we are happy to teach you how to use your steamer on different types of fabrics properly.

For those items that need professional care, we can put them through our commercial machines that do everything from the treat to the wash, dry, and steam using an eco-friendly process. We have the equipment to not only de-wrinkle and deodorize, but we return them looking like they have never been worn.

While at-home steam machines are great, they are limited. That’s when your local dry cleaner becomes the best option.