How to use a Steam Iron effectively?

To use a steam iron, open the lid of the iron’s water tank and fill it with distilled water to the desired level. Plug in the iron and turn the dial to the steam setting. Depending on the fabric type, set the temperature (heat setting) to low, medium, or high. Now, hold the iron over the garment and press the steam button, then carefully run the iron over the garment to press and remove wrinkles.

Key Takeaways

  • Steam irons are similar to regular electric irons that help to remove wrinkles in an effective manner, it’s just that it has an additional feature of producing steam.
  • Steam irons are gentle over all fabric types, however, you will need to select the appropriate settings as per the fabric type.
  • It uses water to generate steam and the water is heated through a heating element.

What is a steam iron?

A steam iron is similar to a regular clothes iron, but it has a water reservoir that turns water into steam. It uses the power of steam to remove wrinkles from fabric. 

It includes a built-in heating element that requires electricity to heat the water inside the reservoir.

When the water heats up, it turns into steam and is released through tiny holes in the iron’s soleplate or the flat, metal bottom.

The steam helps to loosen the fibers in the fabric and allows the iron to glide more easily over its surface.

How is steam generated in a steam iron?

Inside the iron, a chamber or reservoir (a small water tank) stores the distilled water. In other words, this is where you pour the distilled water.

When you turn on the iron, the water in the reservoir is heated by a heating element.

This heat turns the water into steam, which is then released through the holes in the soleplate.

By changing the temperature setting on the iron, you can change how much steam it makes.

So, as soon as the water reaches a boiling point, it creates steam that is forced out through holes in the soleplate of the iron.

How to use a steam iron?

If you want your clothes to look like they were professionally pressed and wrinkle-free, then a steam iron is the best tool for the job.

The steam from the iron makes the fabric’s fibers loosen up, making it easy to press out wrinkles.

Here’s how you can use a steam iron effectively.

Step 1: Sort your laundry pile

Sort your garments for ironing as per the fabric type.

This is an important step, as you need to set the temperature of your iron as per the fabric type.

You can get a better idea by looking at the care labels on your clothes.

The care labels include symbols that indicate the appropriate temperature for that specific item.

Step 2: Use Iron-board / Flat surface

You can either use an ironing board or a flat surface to lay out the garments for ironing.

Additionally, place a layer over the surface, such as a thick cotton sheet or a bedsheet.

Step 3: Fill the water tank

Some steam irons have a detachable water reservoir, whereas others have a built-in one.

To use a steam iron, start by filling the water reservoir with distilled water.

Fill the water tank with clean water to the desired level and make sure you do not overfill the tank.

In case you have overfilled the water tank, simply remove the excess water and then close the lid or attach the reservoir to the iron.

Step 4: Plugin to Power

Now, plug in the iron to the power source and keep enough distance from the outlet to move the iron over the garments.

When the iron is turned on, you must wait for it to heat up to the required temperature.

This process usually takes around 2 minutes, and once it has reached the appropriate temperature, you can then start steaming your clothes.

Step 5: Steam Settings

Most steam irons have more than one setting that lets you change how much steam comes out.

This is important, as too much steam can damage delicate fabrics such as silk.

When using a steam iron, you should always refer to the clothing care label for guidance on which setting to use.

Step 6: Iron your garments

Once the iron is heated, hold it over your garment and press the steam button.

The steam will come out of the holes in the soleplate and loosen up the fabric fibers.

You can then run the hot soleplate over your garment to smooth out any wrinkles.

Be sure to move quickly so you don’t scorch your fabric.

Step 7: Empty the water tank

After you’re finished steaming, empty out the water reservoir and unplug the iron.

Let it cool down before you wipe down the soleplate with a clean cloth to remove any residue.

Finally, store your iron safely until you need it again.

What are the benefits of using a steam iron?

Steam iron is an excellent tool to own for anyone who frequently needs to remove wrinkles or freshen up their fabrics.

In fact, many of us reach for steam irons when we need to look our best.

Let us look into some of the well-known benefits of using a steam iron.

Remove wrinkles quickly and easily

Steam irons are quite effective in removing wrinkles from clothing, linens, and other fabrics.

This is because, the steam relaxes the fibers in the material, making it easy to smooth out any wrinkles.

Freshen up fabrics

Steam irons are also very useful for freshening up your fabrics without actually washing them.

The steam from the iron can help remove any odors and wrinkles from the garments, making them look as good as new.

Not just clothing

Steam irons are not only useful for clothing; they can be used on curtains, and other fabrics as well.

This is because steam irons can easily remove wrinkles and make fabrics look fresh without having to wash them.

This is how it becomes a multipurpose tool in your household.

Gentle on fabric

Unlike some other methods of removing wrinkles (like tumble drying) or regular irons, a steam iron is gentle on fabric and reduces the chances of damaging even delicate fibers.

This makes it ideal for removing wrinkles from expensive or delicate fabrics like linen, cotton, and silk.

Overall, steam irons can be a great tool to own for anyone who frequently needs to iron clothes or freshen up fabrics.

What are the drawbacks of using a steam iron?

While steam irons have a number of benefits, there are also some drawbacks to using one.

Let’s take a quick look at the possible drawbacks of using a steam iron below.


One of their biggest drawbacks is that they can be pretty heavy, making them difficult to use for extended periods of time.

This is because of a built-in water tank that makes it a bit bulky and heavier to use.


Compared to regular irons, steam irons can be quite pricey, especially if you choose a high-end model.


Using a steam iron can take longer than using a regular electric iron.

This is because you need to add water and wait for the iron to heat up before you can start streaming.


Some steam irons can be quite noisy when in use, which could be quite annoying for some people.

In most cases, the steam generator in iron uses a pump to build steam pressure, which can be a bit noisy.


If you don’t clean your steam iron regularly, the buildup can cause it to become clogged. This is one of the worst problems that can occur while using a steam iron.

Over time, mineral deposits and other buildups can clog the boiler and stop it from making steam.


Rust can also form if water is left in the iron for too long after use.

Moreover, when water turns to steam, it leaves behind mineral deposits, which can build up and cause rust.

To prevent this, be sure to empty the water out of your iron after each use.

If you neglect the above fact, over time, it can lead to rusting and other serious issues with your steam iron.

Heating element

If the heating element that is supposed to heat up the water reservoir turns faulty, it won’t produce enough steam and will work like a regular electric iron.


Steam irons require some maintenance in order to keep them working properly, such as descaling the iron regularly.

This must be done to keep the boiler from getting clogged and to make sure it makes enough steam.

Final Thoughts

Steam irons are great for freshening up fabric, and removing wrinkles from clothing, and other fabrics.

But, like any other appliance, steam irons have some problems you should think about before buying one.

They can be heavy and expensive, and require regular maintenance.

But, if you are looking for an effective way to quickly remove wrinkles from fabric and make them look fresh again, then a steam iron is a good fit for your laundry room.

It is important to remember that regular cleaning and descaling will help keep your steam iron in great shape and prevent it from getting clogged or rusted.

Lastly, it is always advised to empty the water tank of the steam irons after every use to avoid internal clogging and damage.

Refer to the user manual of your iron’s type and model if you are unsure about how to use it.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)