When ironing, what is the difference between using steam and not using steam?

under what circumstances would I want to use steam and when would I not want to use steam? Thanks

82 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    If your iron is not a steam iron, then you can spray a small amount of water onto the surface of the fabric and then iron it. The steam iron combines the two processes and simplifies it for you. That's all.

  • Erika
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Non Steam Iron

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well, first I hope you only use DISTILLED water so no mineral build up occurs.

    Second - get a lightweight teflon coated iron that has a visible water gauge, and variable settings for heavy duty, lighter weight, and very cool.

    Third - until you are more of a 'pro' opt for cooler temps on fabrics and increase the heat very very very gradually until you find the temp that works best. BE PATIENT

    Fourth - Even silk and satin can be steamed. Just put a hand towel or a pillowcase over the area (making sure you've smoothed the material out before you place the cloth over it)

    Then you won't damage the material you are ironing. I suggest ironing silk and satin from the reverse side also. Be VERY careful not to pull the silk while you are ironing, it will change shape and stay that way.

    Mostly I leave the steam setting on for all my ironing (which is very little nowadays, due to the great new fabrics that dry wrinkle free in the dryer if I get them out quickly and don't let them sit.) and I give extra bursts of steam as needed on seams, pockets, collars, sleeves, creases I want to stay in like slacks, etc. Practice on old material or on stuff you're gonna toss out. You'll get the hang of it in no time. And then it becomes FUN :) Happy ironing.

  • endpov
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Using a little steam helps press and iron clothing faster.

    I think you could say I always use steam. I think.

    I say that because I have an iron that has settings for dry and for steam. Whenever I use the steam setting, for some reason, it always soaks the item I'm steaming and gets it too wet. So, I set the iron the dry and use a water bottle to spray the item first, then I iron. The iron steams the water right out as its presses and flattens the clothing very quickly. It's works out perfect because I can spray the exact amount of water I need to iron out the wrinkles. Sounds like a lengthy process, but it isn't and makes things go faster, thankyou very much. I also watch the heat and use a lower temperature for lighter materials and check the label for any specific instructions.

    Source(s): been ironing for years
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago


    I worked at a local dry-cleaners for awhile. My job was pressing the clothing... I learned ALOT!

    when you dont use steam, you surcafe iron, this does not take out the wrinkles.. Steaming puts moisture THRU the fabric and allows the hot iron to move the fabric and create a crisp, smooth fabric.So, Hot iron with STEAM is great for EVERYTHING! When you send you stuff to a dry cleaner, they do press everything with a flat table steam presser... I mean everything.. The secret to non stick and no burning is the STEAM. BUT.. for home use, use a Teflon coated iron.

    The best iron to have is a Teflon coated iron..This allows you to iron ANY fabric with a medium to high steam.. I now steam everything.. from jean to silks.. The trick is the Teflon bottom..

    This makes ironing a breeze!And yes, steam is what makes the wrinkles disappear! NEVER use any steam iron with hard water.. it clogs up the iron and creates a brown ting to the garments being steamed..The hgher the heat, with steam the better the look.. you will get a real crisp look!

  • 1 decade ago

    Ok I worked on the effect of materials on various fabrics for a while. Well there are many variables dependent on materials, amounts, and how they are layed down etc among others as well as how much liquid and how much exposure the material has to the steam.

    Steam tends to be absorbed by natural materials of course not all material and permeate surfaces of natural and non natural materials. There are probably some effects of the water molecules self attracting after and before absorption when the molecules hit the cooler air. This effect of water being absorbed can cause the fibers to straighten out faster than when not using the iron alone. The iron tends to only straighten out one side. So if you are considering the ironing of cotton materials then water will have an enhancement of the irons effect. The iron can there fore heat up a larger area due to the hydrogen bonding of water or self adhesion.

    Any ways it is better to use water in its liquid state rather than as a steam because of the loss of water to the air because of evaporation. Furthermore the water may protect the material from being over heated and being burned or misshapen.

    To answer your question do not use steam unless you have a lot of it for short periods and particularly with natural materials, cotton etc. That is not to say you cannot use steam at all. I am saying that if you throw some cool liquid on the natural fiber you might be more successful at ironing.

    Steam is hot and can burn you but it is useful for clothes if you have the proper equipment.

    Again steam and or hot liquids can alter artificial materials form in the long run.

  • 1 decade ago

    When I was small, people did not have Steram irons, and in the 50's every man that worked in an office of any kind wore a White Shirt and tie....back then everything was 100% Cotton, women wore house dresses and Aprons, little girls wore dresses ........most women never worked out of the home...so there actually was still a wash day and ironing day in the week...and ironing was very important......so in order to get the wrinkles out, the clothes had to be damp...not wet, just damp. Ths was accomplished by a "Sprinkle Bottle" or a Sprinkler adapter that fit into an emptied pop or beer bottle, that you filled with water and then "sprinkled all of your ironing.....the clothes that had been sprinkled, would then be put into a large Plastic bag and placed in the refridgerator to keep them cool and damp until time to iron...at least this was what my mother did. Then when it was time to iron, she removed the bag and started to iron....the Hot iron "Steamed the clothes, and took out the wrinkles! Then in the late 50's, or early 60's came the wonderful "Steam Iron" making the project much easier...however, white shirts still needed to be sprinkled and starched, and this was improved upon by adding a spray button on the iron so that you could spray the wrinkles in the clothingas you ironed......towards the end of

    the 60's came the best thing of all.....the "Shot of Steam" iron with the spray button! This is a must for me! So my answer is as follows: If an item is damp, you do not need steam...however if the item is dry, steam will help give you a wrinkle free garment......I still use a spray bottle on the ironing board, because even with the spray and the "Shot of Steam" it still looks better if the item starts out slightly damp. and the iron water department empties fast! I iron almost daily now instead of a full day.....work clothes for myself mostly! And of course my husbands dress shirts! My son is 24, and he knows the differnce between pressed clothes, and wash and wear, which in my opinion still need to be pressed to look good. He prefers his dress shirts ironed. I almost always use Steam, unless the garment is damp to begin with. Hope this helps.

  • 1 decade ago

    It depends on what kind of cloth it is, if it is really wrinkled, and how soon you need it. If you look at the tag of clothing, it will tell you if it is a good idea to iron it or not, and at what heat. Some irons will tell you what setting to use for what cloth. If it is really wrinkled, steaming it will make the wrinkles go away easier. However, if the cloth is really delicate, too high of heat can cause it to burn, and sometimes steam needs to be used with higher heat. I typically use steam for all my clothes, except when I'm in a rush and the clothes might be slightly wet. When they are wet, the steam just helps to keep them wet.

  • 1 decade ago

    When you iron a piece of clothing that is dry and wrinkled you need to use the steam to help the heat smooth the article. If you don't want to use the steam then most of the items to be ironed need to be pre-dampened before ironing. One of the problems with that is the article is still somewhat damp after ironing whereas if using steam the article is usually dry enough to use or put away without re-wrinkling.

  • 1 decade ago

    Heavy fabrics such as some wool blends, wool, cotton and polyester blended with cotton or wool you could use steam. Your lighter fabrics and those that will stain with water spots such as rayon, silk, polyester and other synthetic fabrics, that you are unable to pronounce, avoid steam and always use a cool temperature. BTW way these fabrics can burn easily so always use a cool iron, better yet, get the wrinkles out by hanging the garment in your bathroom while taking a shower, the steam in the bathroom will get the wrinkles out, this will also avoid any mishaps with a hot iron and steam.

  • I've been using steam one for 2 years and prefer the steam. But it seems that the hot steam makes the cotton old and color faded quicker than normal iron. But it may be false. Did you ladies feel the same?

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