Not everyone is great at packing, and traveling can be quite the journey for clothes.
Every fold, crumple, crease, and wrinkle proves that fact, but fortunately, this can often be fixed once travelers reach their destinations.
Most hotels have some kind of smoothing device available for guests, whether it’s a classic iron or a steamer for delicate items.
While some hotels may provide steamers, most only come with an iron and ironing board. If you know you’ll need to steam an item, contact the hotel before you arrive and check if one is available. If a steamer is unavailable, guests can try alternative steaming methods or purchase a travel steamer for their trip.
This article explains how to check if a hotel provides steamers, discusses whether irons or steamers are better, and provides alternative ways to de-wrinkle your clothes in a pinch.
How Do I Know if My Hotel Has a Steamer?
If booking a hotel room with a steamer is a must, guests should check the hotel website for a list of in-room amenities.
If the website doesn’t mention a steamer or only lists an iron, travelers can contact the hotel to confirm if one’s onsite.
Hotels often don’t stock their rooms with steamers but may keep one available at the front desk.
Alternatively, hotels that don’t provide steamers for guest use may offer steaming or pressing services for an additional fee.
Which Is Better: an Iron or a Steamer?
Whether an iron or a steamer is better for de-wrinkling depends on the garment’s fabric and desired finish.
Steamers use hot steam and the natural tug of gravity to relax fabrics and remove wrinkles, providing more of a casual finish.
Irons use a heated metal plate to compress clothing fibers and straighten out creases, leaving the garment with a crisp, pressed finish.
Before steaming or ironing your clothes, check the tag for the recommended treatment of the fabric.
Pros and Cons of Using an Iron
Using an iron is the traditional way of effectively removing wrinkles from all kinds of items, and they’re great for more substantial fabrics like denim and cotton.
However, irons can also damage or burn clothing when they aren’t used correctly or set at the right temperature.
Guests using a hotel iron should test it on a towel beforehand to check if it’s dirty, works properly, and get a sense of how hot it is.
As an extra precaution, travelers can also lay a bath towel under their garments to ensure nothing on the ironing board transfers onto their clothes when heat is applied.
Pros and Cons of Using a Steamer
Unlike irons, steamers can safely treat delicate fabrics like silk, wool, and cashmere.
The heated nozzle of the steamer never actually touches the clothing, so it’s less likely for a steamer to burn or damage the garment.
Likewise, steamers are better at preserving the quality of most fabrics and can also help sanitize clothing in a pinch.
Steamers are also a bit more travel friendly since they don’t require an ironing board and work well in tight spaces or anywhere guests can hang their clothes.
They also tend to heat up faster than the average iron.
However, steamers may take extra time to work out the kinks in denser fabrics since they provide a gentler wrinkle treatment.
Using a steamer can also be tedious since regular tap water contains minerals that can cause build-up, streaks, and stains.
As a best practice, guests should fill their steamers with distilled or demineralized water, adding an extra layer to the process.
What Can I Do If My Hotel Room Doesn’t Have a Steamer?
Most hotels at least provide guests with an iron and ironing board.
Even if these items aren’t in-room amenities, many have some available for guest use.
However, if you need a steamer for more delicate items – and the hotel doesn’t have one – there are a couple of things you can do to de-wrinkle your clothes.
Try a DIY Steamer
The first hack is creating a DIY steamer by hanging wrinkled clothing in the bathroom, closing the door, and taking a steamy shower.
The steam from the shower should dampen the fabric slightly and loosen any wrinkles.
You can then tackle any lingering creases by applying heat directly on stubborn areas using the hotel hair dryer while the item is still damp.
Don’t put the hair dryer too close to the garment, and use the lowest possible heat setting to avoid accidentally damaging the fabric.
Purchase a Travel Steamer
When in doubt, plan ahead and purchase a travel steamer.
Travelers can easily toss these compact steamers in their luggage for a quick fix at any hotel.
Just ensure that the steamer you buy is compatible with the voltage and plugs at the hotel – international destinations vary in this regard, so you might want to consider a dual-voltage option.
Most of the time, hotels provide guests with either a steamer or an iron as part of their in-room amenities.
To confirm if a hotel offers steamers specifically, check their website or give them a call.
If a hotel doesn’t provide an in-room steamer, one might be available at the front desk.
Both steamers and irons have pros and cons when it comes to eliminating wrinkles.
When deciding between the two, consider the fabric of the garment and the type of finish required.
Guests at hotels without access to a steamer can try the ‘shower method’ or invest in a travel steamer.