6 Traditional Irons and Garment Steamers

With features like digital displays, retractable cords and drip-free operation, household irons have certainly come a long way in a short amount of time. Whether you choose to smooth your clothing and table linens into wrinkle-free perfection with a steamer or an iron press, there are a few key things you need to know before you make your purchase. After all, with proper care your steam iron will be your best friend for many years to come. More 
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What types of irons can I choose from?
You’d think a steam iron would be a simple tool, but no. There are at least a few common designs out there that let you customize your steamer to your needs:
• Steam iron: This combination of a steamer and a clothes iron is great for a variety of materials. The option to add a burst of steam or spray the cloth with water makes it perfect for natural fibers like linen. You can also use tap water in the reservoir, at least unless your water is very hard.
• Cordless iron: Like a traditional steam iron in all respects except for the cord, these irons have been designed for maneuverability and portability. However, be sure to check reviews before you purchase one to see how it stacks up against the competition.
• Garment steamer: These are a great solution for textiles that can’t be ironed flat on an ironing board, like curtains. They’re portable, easy to use and perfect for larger ironing projects.
• Steam press: If you’re looking for the crispest corners and seams for your tablecloths, sheets or napkins, a steam press is your go-to tool. These machines tend to be used mostly by professionals because of their large size, but some designs now come in the shape and size of an ironing board.

What features should my steam iron have?
With everything from self-cleaning reservoirs to retractable cords and automatic shut-offs, irons these days are equipped with just about everything you could want or need. Like all home appliances, the more features it comes with, the more expensive it tends to be. Think about which features would really enhance your use versus those that would simply raise the price tag. That way you can balance your budget and narrow down your choices.

What clothes steamer works best for my clothing material?
Each individual steamer or clothes iron may have different recommendations, so it’s best to follow the guidelines in the manual or those that are marked on the iron itself. Here are some general guidelines to get you started:
• Linen: High heat (446 °F; 230 °C). Steam recommended.
• Cotton: High heat (400 °F; 204 °C). Steam or spray recommended. Cotton blends should use low heat and steam.
• Rayon: Medium heat (375 °F; 190 °C). Recommended to turn fabric inside out and use no steam.
• Polyester: Medium heat (300 °F; 148 °C). Recommended to use a light spray.
• Silk: Medium heat (300 °F; 148 °C). Recommended to turn fabric inside out and dampen it. You can also use a clean cloth on top of your fabric to prevent marks.
• Wool: Medium heat (300 °F; 148 °C). Steam required; turn your fabric inside out to prevent marks.
• Acetate: Low heat (290 °F; 143 °C). Recommended to turn fabric inside out.
• Acrylic: Low heat (275 °F; 135 °C). No steam required, recommended to turn fabric inside out. A light amount of spray can be used.
• Nylon: Low heat (275 °F; 135 °C). No steam or dampening required.
• Spandex: Low heat (275 °F; 135 °C). No steam or dampening required.
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