Why Hand Steamers Are Better Than Irons

How my hand steamer changed my life (and no, I’m not even exaggerating)

It must have been around 8 years ago that I first discovered the joys of a hand steamer. I was at Paris Fashion Week and was staying with my colleagues in an AirBNB (yes, this was a very fun time in my career), and as you can imagine, getting five fashion editors ready in the morning could get a bit hectic. Looking well put together was very important to us! Luckily, my friend Arabella had brought her travel steamer with her and offered to let us all use it. It was a game changer.

The minute I got home (or possibly while still on the Eurostar), I ordered one online and I’ve never looked back. Here’s why I preach the benefits of owning a hand steamer to literally anyone who will listen to me (including The Daily Telegraph, who quoted me recently in this article).


Travel hand steamers are designed to be portable, which also makes them perfect to keep in the bedroom where you actually need to do the steaming. If you have space for a hairdryer and GHDs, you’ll probably have room for a hand steamer too.


I know some people love ironing, and that’s cool. But I have never been one of those people. What appeals about the hand steamer is that it’s easier to use than an iron. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s simple. Finding a good spot near a plug to hang whatever you need to steam is essential.


I hate ironing boards more than I hate ironing. They’re cumbersome to use, take up loads of space, and the covers always look rubbish (in my opinion). We haven’t even owned an ironing board for the last 5 or 6 years (although I have kept hold of the iron for “emergencies”; not that we’ve had an iron-necessary emergency yet). 


Ever not ironed something you wanted to wear just because you couldn’t justify the time it takes to get the ironing board out, wait for the iron to heat up, do the ironing and then put it all away again? This will never happen to you again once you own a hand steamer.


I’ve been washing my clothes less frequently since I learned more about sustainable fashion, because the mere act of washing your wardrobe puts stress on the garments and can shorten their lifespan. Add to that the fact that anything made with manmade fibres, like polyester or acrylic, leaches microfibres into the water with every wash, and the fact that I’m keen on saving energy, and you have a pretty hefty argument for doing less laundry. I use my hand steamer to freshen up clothes between washes – add a drop of Clothes Doctor steamer water for a fresh scent.


Never face the embarrassment of having to learn how to say “can I borrow the ironing board” in another language again.


Like freshening up your curtains. Some hand steamers can be used at any angle, which means you can steam table clothes and bed sheets in situ. 

And now I’ve sold you on getting one, here are my top tips:

Don’t spend a fortune on a hand steamer! I’ve found the cheap ones work just as well, if not better. This is mine, which is available in pink or green. I love everything about it, other than the fact I can’t find another stockist (I would never usually use this website!).

Use distilled water rather than water from the tap. This will stop your steamer getting clogged up with limescale. You can buy distilled water, but I use the water from my dehumidifier (which is another “this gadget changed my life” blog post for a later date). You can also fill up with rainwater from your water butt if you have a garden, but make sure it’s fairly fresh. NB boiled water from the kettle does not work!

Your steamer might not give you the finish you want on shirts and tailoring, but you can crisp up collars, cuffs and fabric belts with hair straighteners (demonstrated by me in this reel).


  1. I was lucky enough to see you at the event in Ryde when you pulled your trustee steamer from your bag. Not sure if I should put this on my birthday list or try for dehumidifier.

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