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Water 101: Prolong the lifespan of your steamer

People often reach out to us, wondering what type of water to use for our steamers. In this article we will tell you everything you need to know.

How a steamer works

A garment steamer is an appliance that transforms water into steam. The water travels from the water tank to a boiler that heats it to 100°C. The water then, compressed to a high and steady steam pressure, comes out of the mouthpiece through small vents.

Instead of pressing the fibers in the fabric like an iron, the hot steam makes the fibers swell, and the garment becomes fresh and wrinkle-free. The steam also removes bad smells, shallow dirt and bacteria.

One thing to be aware of is the risk of limescale getting stuck in the steamer’s pipes and vents. Think of a steamer as a coffeemaker. Unless you run it on certain water qualities, a coffeemaker needs descaling once in a while. The same goes for a steamer.

Hard water and soft water

In order to know what water to use in your steamer we need to go over the basics of hard and soft water and why it can be crucial for a steamer.

The hardness of  water  is determined primarily by the amount of calcium and magnesium. Higher levels of these and other minerals make the water hard. Instead of having more elevated calcium and magnesium levels, soft water tends to have higher sodium or salt concentrations.

If you have access to soft water, you can use regular tap water in your steamer. If you live in an area with hard water, that’s not really the case. Using hard water in a steamer will leave remains of limestone in the system which unfortunately will shorten the lifetime of the steamer.

How to check your water quality

If you are unsure whether you live in an area with soft or hard water, we would recommend searching for information about the level of water hardness in your area before you use it in your steamer to make sure that you are not using hard water.

One easy way to test the water hardness is to add soap to a bottle of water and shake it. If the water is clear and has a good amount of suds at the top, then you likely have soft water. If the water gets cloudy and doesn’t get any suds after shaking, that is a good indication you have hard water.

What water to use depending on the water quality

Follow these recommendations, and your steamer will be a longtime companion.

If you live in an area with hard water, we recommend:
  • Steamery’s Steam Water
  • Bottled or filtered still water
  • Distilled water
  • Battery water

If you live in an area with soft water, we recommend:
  • Regular tap water – if you’re traveling and don’t feel confident, use still water from a bottle meant for drinking or any of the above

We do not recommend:
  • Do not use scented and perfumed steaming water; it will clog the steamer and prevent it from working properly
  • Never use other fluids than water
  • Do not add detergents or cleaning products

A lot to take in? It may seem like a long list of dos and don’ts, but it’s actually not that complicated. When in doubt, use our Steam Water.

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