Thursday, October 13, 2011

Extravagance = Economy: Rowenta Steamer

The vertical poles "telescope" down so that the steamer will only be about 3 feet tall when collapsed.
Available here from Macy's.

Back in the dark ages of my retail career, I worked for a very lovely women's store which had an absolute LAW about how things were done: no clothing hits the floor without being steamed first.  Given that the clothing was often shipped in boxes via FedEx, almost everything had at least a few major creases in it, and looked about a thousand times better after being steamed.

Fast forward to my real life, in which it seemed that we were frequently taking garments to the cleaners just because they were sort of rumpled - not necessarily because they were soiled and needed to be cleaned...

I did a bit of math (I'm a number geek; you may not have realized that), and I figured that over about 40 garments or so, we could PAY for one of these little beauties.

So into our home it came, and it's revolutionized our relationship with winter clothing.  Suit jackets that are crumpled in the back look like new.  Pants that have that "behind the knee" thing going on - perfect. Skirts that have been sat in, now look pristine.  Unpacking my winter clothes, which have been living in a duffle bag in the sub-sub-basement for 6 months - steam away and they're ready to go.

Steamers will NOT scorch anything - it's almost impossible to ruin a garment unless it has plastic trim or weird fake jewels sewn onto it - but any natural fiber will just hang there and suck up steam and plump back up to its normal lustrous self and look glorious. And steaming takes a fraction of the time that ironing does - it doesn't require meticulous placement of garments on the board and then precise placement of the iron (not that I don't love that too!).  With a steamer it's just point and watch the wrinkles fall out.  Sort of astonishing the first 300 times you do it - I'm still continually amazed at how effective it is.

Steam, of course, will not take the place of appropriate laundering when that is required... just in case you thought I'd lost my mind completely.

Make sure you get a really serious steamer - one that alters the relative humidity in your entire zip code and curls your hair. (or makes it limp, depending on your natural inclination).  Years after you forget what you paid for it, you'll still be using, and loving, it.


  1. I was just thinking about buying one of these, thank you for the information! Does it completely eliminate the need for an iron?

  2. A steamer won't make anything "crisp", so if you iron cotton shirts, tee shirts, or put creases in pants, you'll still need an iron.

  3. I L.O.V.E. my steamer - which I too discovered during my time in Retail. Years later I still enjoy watching the wrinkles fade and in the morning when I'm rushing around to get out the door, it's the perfect way to ensure my clothes are neat. My poor iron often collects dust thanks to the steamer. Great post!

  4. I also worked in retail and agree that a good steamer is a great commodity. I have a steamer, but it's not a good quality one. I rarely use it because I'm always struggling with it: the cord isn't long enough and the steam is not strong enough. I like to crease my slacks though, so I would still use my iron for creasing pants.

  5. Could you recommend a few decent brands? I've seen a few (at my local Costco) and since ironing is against my religion, I considered. However, I like to be a savvy buyer so decided I didn't know enough about good ones vs meh ones. Thanks.

  6. The only ones I know from experience are Rowenta - I would recommend ANYTHING they made. Maybe Consumer Reports has rated them? You're wise to avoid getting just any old steamer - a cheap one that doesn't absolutely gush steam is just an expensive doorstop!
    let us know what you find,
    and thanks for being here,

  7. ABSOLUTELY-POSITIVELY-A-MUST! I was introduced the same way many years (20) ago when I worked retail. I cannot imagine my life, all these years, without one! Mine is Jiffy, professional and still going strong. It pays to invest but I think that really is only $150-$200 and it pays for itself in no time!

  8. I have to chime in here, although I am reading this post years after the rest of you, and noone may never readit. I own the Rowenta Steamer, identical to the one in the picture. I LOVE it. I also remain fascinated each time I use it. Enough said.

  9. This garment Steamer from Bizarkdeal is an awesome device to keep around and use to clean anything you can think of in your house! It truly is professional quality steaming too and is very simple to use. Just fill it up and make sure it's plugged in and you're ready to go...couldn't be any easier. I've used it on a ton of different clothes so far and all the curtains in my house...they have come out better than I could have expected. Very happy with this! Make sure you get one as soon as you can. A+

  10. I love to use clothes steamer. First of all, because it does not damage delicate fabrics, it's easy to use, it's compact, the clothes will be sterilized.