Choosing, Using and Decalcifying Your Clothes Steamer Made Simple

A garment steamer can be a great way to make a laundry list of fabrics, from clothes and linens to drapes and furniture slipcovers, as smooth and wrinkle free as if they had just been pressed at the dry cleaner. In fact, over the long haul, a garment steamer can be a smart investment that saves you a good deal of money you might otherwise spend on professional steaming.

Quicker and easier than ironing no board
Quicker and easier than ironing, and no ironing board

Ideal for today’s busy lifestyles and fast-paced travel schedules, steaming tends to be quicker and easier than ironing—no clunky ironing board and less physical exertion needed. And thanks to the gentleness of the steam, you don’t have to worry about scorching or damaging most fabrics. Steaming is easy and effective—not only as a way to remove wrinkles, but also to eliminate odors and make fabrics smell fresh and new again. Steaming effortlessly performs double duty, refreshing fabrics as it renders them wrinkle free.

What’s more, steaming is clean because it uses only water and none of the dry-cleaning chemicals that can take a toll on fabrics. It’s also an environmentally friendly and effective method of killing bedbugs and dust mites in furniture and mattresses, followed by a good vacuuming to get rid of them. For a quick rundown of reasons to steam instead of dry clean, check out our article, To Steam or Not to Steam.

Hot Sellers: The Conair Fabric Steamer Selection

It pays to know the difference between upright, compact, and handheld models. Our article, Choosing Your Perfect Steamer, can help you decide which one suits your needs best.

Determine whether you need a home or travel garment steamer, or one that is suited for both use at home and on the go. Make sure whichever garment steamer you choose comes with features and attachments that will give you the performance you need. Also, be mindful of each model’s power and water tank capacity to ensure you get optimal value in comparison to what you would spend on dry-cleaning bills for pressing.

As the industry leader in advanced yet easy-to-use garment steamer technology, Conair is America’s #1 selling garment steamer brand. In keeping with our long history of personal care product innovations, the company manufactures a wide variety of professional-grade fabric steamers that combine portability and performance.

Be sure to check ratings and reviews to make an informed purchase. A quick online search will show that Conair garment steamers are widely marketed and earn high ratings. The Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam® Advanced Handheld Fabric Steamer has received top honors from reviewers, with scores as high as 9.8 out of 10. It has also been rated “best budget clothes steamer,” spotlighting this portable clothes steamer by virtue of it's effective performance, and also because it comes with many features and add-ons that more expensive steamers do not have. Plus, all Conair garment steamers have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal, so you can rest assured that any model you choose has been quality tested.

Conair turbo extremesteam advanced handheld fabric steamer
Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam® Advanced Handheld Fabric Steamer

Easy to Use, Easy to Clean: It’s Full Steam Ahead with Your Best Clothes Steamer

Ease of use should be an important factor in considering which garment steamer to purchase. Some models may limit movement by being too bulky or having a short hose and cord. Compact, portable, and handheld models like those offered by Conair give you the greatest flexibility, whether you steam clothes on a hanger, curtains on a rod, or upholstery from room to room. Take a look at these practical tips to help you get the most out of steaming.

Ease of cleaning the unit is another important wrinkle in the best clothes steamer purchasing process. Removable tanks tend to be preferred, if only because detaching them simplifies filling and cleaning. To keep your steaming channel clean and in good working condition, avoid tap water and use distilled water instead. Distilled water helps prevent lime scale and minerals from gunking up the tank and blocking the release of steam—which means you’ll have to clean your steamer less often.

Smooth Move: Decalcifying Your Clothes Steamer

It’s important to decalcify your steamer periodically to keep it running smoothly. Decalcification is the process of removing any buildup of calcium deposits that may form on the steamer’s metal parts.

For a thorough decalcification, run the steamer with the water tank filled with 1/3 white vinegar and 2/3 distilled water until half the amount has steamed. Then leave the steamer unplugged for 30 minutes before dumping out what’s left of the mixture in the tank. Rinse out the tank and repeat the process until the steam is working as normal (2 to 3 times usually does the trick.) Before steaming your fabrics, be sure to run a fresh cycle of cold, distilled water through the steamer.

Simple supplies for decalcifying your steamer

So how often should you decalcify your steamer? It all depends on how often you use it. Rule of thumb, though, is to clean it every 45 to 60 days to keep it operating at peak performance. If steam flow starts to slow down or sputter, chances are you’ve gone too long without a good cleaning.

For full details on how to care for your steamer, be sure to refer to the instruction booklet included with the unit you purchase.

Now that you have the inside track on choosing the best clothes steamer for your needs and can differentiate between the various kinds of garment steamers, be sure to browse our full selection.