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Tips and Caveats about Steaming Your Clothes in the Bathroom

When packing for travel, the best way to minimize wrinkles is to leave your clothes in the plastic bags we use to protect them. Our plastic covers provide an air cushion that helps prevent unwanted creases.

But, if you still find a few unsightly wrinkles when you get where you are going, the good news is that steam (ex. from a shower) will relax the fibers and therefore remove some wrinkles. The bad news is you must be very careful to walk the fine line between enough ‘good’ steam and too much ‘bad’ steam.

We’ve all seen bathroom mirrors fog up and walls and fixtures bead with moisture after a nice, hot shower, and therein lays the biggest danger in this approach to steaming your garments. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to give it a try:

  1. Remove any surface air borne dust, dirt or atmospheric pollutants with a lint roller. The steam is going to dilate (open up) the fibers and you do not want any particulate trapped in the fibers (causing microscopic abrasion) when the steam is removed and the fibers contract to their original state.
  2. Be sure to hang the garment on a wooden hanger. Plastic and metal are more likely to accumulate condensation and that water will stain the garment.
  3. Dress (smooth out) the garment to its proper ‘form’.
  4. Place the garment far AWAY from walls, doors and other surfaces that could accumulate moisture, and which in turn will stain the garment.
  5. Do not run the shower too hot, or leave the garment in there so long, that condensation builds on the ceiling and drips onto the garment.
  6. Do not leave the garment unattended. Stand by and watch, periodically tensioning and smoothing out until you are satisfied with the results.
  7. Do not aim for 100% wrinkle free. Professional steaming is a combination of steam, pressure and vacuum to draw away the moisture. This bathroom DIY approach is solely reliant on atmospheric steam, will not provide the same ‘perfect’ results and must be monitored closely to prevent disaster.

WARNING: This is NOT suitable for fine knitwear, which could easily relax TOO MUCH and stretch out of shape, distort at the shoulders and other undesirable things.