6 Surprising Uses for Garment Steamers

This Handy Tool Can Steam More Than Clothing

steaming fashion
Getty Images/sturti

Compact handheld steamers are commonly used to quickly press wrinkled clothing. Maybe you have an impromptu work meeting or an on-the-fly hot date. Just grab an item of clothing from deep inside your closet, fire up the steamer, and look perfectly put together in less than five minutes. This great ironing alternative can be used anywhere, too, so pack it in your suitcase to use on clothing while traveling. And while garment steamers provide a speedy option for removing wrinkles, they can also be used to clean your sofa, sanitize surfaces, or perform a plethora of other domestic tasks.

Clean Your Sofa

Let's face it. There's only so much a vacuum can do for your beloved couch. Sure, it takes care of the crumbs and dust nicely, but for stains and soil, you need something more. Enter, the garment steamer, complete with distilled hot water vapor. A quick pass with this unit can transform spots on any water-tolerant sofa fabric.

Dust Your Drapes

Don't remove your heavy window panels just to toss them in the washer and dryer. Instead, remove dirt and dust in place with a handheld steamer. Yet, before you start cleaning, double check that your drapes don't have a "dry clean only" tag, as the hot steam could potentially warp the fabric.

Remove Carpet Stains

Light carpet stains are no match for your handheld steamer. Dirt from shoes and pet paws can easily be lifted up. However, when dealing with more heavily-soiled areas, refrain from using this method and instead opt for a deep cleaner, complete with carpet-safe detergent.

Sanitize Surfaces

Steamers with temperatures that reach at least 212 F can sanitize a variety of different surfaces. And it's a chemical-free way to disinfect after a family flu bug, too. Just quickly steam your kitchen countertops or tables surfaces—saving both time and energy—while also avoiding any cross-contamination that can occur with surface wipes or sponges.

Clean Grease

Stovetop grease is every chef's nightmare. And one of the only methods that cuts nasty buildup is removing it with harsh chemicals. But, a handheld steamer is a tool that makes cleanup from a home-cooked meal almost as pleasurable as the cooking process itself. Steaming your stovetop saves you the workout, while also providing a quick way to prevent grease buildup.

Brighten Bathrooms

An unsuspecting place to use your steamer is the bathroom. And you can steam clean almost any surface in that room. Brighten discolored grout, remove mildew from tile, disinfect countertops, and melt away any hard water stains that build up on glass doors. Just a few passes with the steamer will make your bathroom sparkle.

Garment Steamer Tips

Fabrics or textiles not suitable for high heat or moisture should never be steamed. If a garment is labeled "dry clean only," steaming can damage the fabric's structure or leave spots. Use caution when steaming fabrics with dark colors that could run (it's best to test a small area first). When in doubt, resort to dry cleaning only.

While most surfaces can handle steam cleaning, avoid steaming finished wood, and polished waxed, or freshly painted surfaces. Unsealed floors, musical instruments, and antiques should also not be steamed.