Can this portable clothing steamer smooth out wrinkles in under a minute?
Is this every fashionista’s secret weapon?
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Scrolling down the posts by influencers who city-hop around the world, I couldn’t help but wonder: How do they keep their Zimmermann dresses, Jacquemus jumpsuits, and vintage Gucci blouses wrinkle-free when they’re one day in Dubai and the next in Paris?
Then I learned about Steamery, a company that makes a sleek travel garment steamer that promises to unwrinkle any type of clothing item within minutes. Steam is gentler on most fabrics, and it won’t burn or crush silk and viscose as an iron could—instead of flattening the fibers, steam works by causing the material to swell, which gives the garment a fresh, matte look. Though Steamery’s minimalistic look is easy on the eyes, it’s not easy on the wallet: The $130 price tag initially dissuaded me from pressing the checkout button. But I was still intrigued by how useful it could be. As I got deeper into the planning process for my destination wedding, I realized my silky wedding gown is made of sensitive material that a regular iron, which is typically provided by hotels and Airbnb, could damage. I broke down and bought a Steamery steamer for myself.
What is Steamery?
Founded in Stockholm, Sweden, Steamery is a garment care brand that takes inspiration from Scandinavian designs. Everything at Steamery is minimalistic, from the product designs to its website. Aside from the sleek design and matte finish that give the Steamery products their luxe character, what really caught my attention was that the Cirrus No.2 travel steamer claims to heat up within 25 seconds—fast by steamer standards. Like other garment steamers, it also promises to remove unwanted odors and kill dust mites. Not only is this steamer often sold out on Nordstrom, but it’s also popular enough to make its way into Goop gift guides.
Other top-selling Steamery products include the Philo fabric shaver ($45), which can take out lint from wool sweaters and couch covers, and a full-size valet garment steamer that is available for Europe but hasn’t become available in North America yet.
What are the features of the Steamery Cirrus No.2 travel steamer?
The Cirrus No.2 steamer—an upgraded version of No.1—comes in four colors: black, pink, blue, and grey. For $130, you get the steamer (mine is Plush Pink), a well-made travel bag that doubles as a hand-protecting mitten, and a leather cord clip that ties the cord together when not in use. From the moment I opened the box, this sleek, simplistic steamer made me want to start de-wrinkling my clothes immediately.
In addition to its appearance that’s just as advertised, I found that the curved handle snugly fit into my palm, allowing me to get a firm grip on it. The steamer is a little larger than I’d anticipated but I still can store it in my bathroom drawer or in my Away carry-on luggage, as it’s about the size of a travel hair dryer. The steamer has two parts: The steaming head and the handle, where a small water reservoir is located. The steaming head has six holes that apply the steam to your garment.
How does Steamery’s Cirrus No.2 steamer perform?
Similar to other handheld steamers, the Cirrus No.2 creates steam from its water reservoir, preferably filled with distilled water because impurities in tap water can corrode the inside of a steamer. I found it easy to remove the container but difficult to fill it through the small, quarter-inch-wide nozzle, and I found it strange that it doesn’t come with a funnel to help make the process easier. According to the user manual, once the container is full, it can deliver eight minutes of strong steam, which is enough for one piece of clothing, such as a long-sleeve, button-down shirt or an above-the-knee dress.
I first tried it on a pink, long-sleeve silk dress, which usually takes me about five to 10 minutes to steam using a standing valet steamer. The steam from the Cirrus No.2 came out aggressively as promised, but it was so powerful that it spattered my dress with water. It wasn’t too big of a deal—eventually the water spots evaporated. But if that bothers you—or might stain your fabric—you may want to keep the steaming head a safe distance from the clothing item. Although the its video tutorial suggests that you “press the steamer against the garment,” I learned that keeping the steamer two to three inches away works just as well for dewrinkling and prevent water spots. As I got a hang of it, I appreciated how fast the wrinkles and creases disappeared. I steamed the entire dress with one fill, which was about nine minutes of steam.
For my second use, I steamed a dress made of viscose. Often used as silk alternative, viscose is a synthetic material partly made from trees—it’s less delicate than silk but still feels quite soft. In my personal experience, viscose doesn’t get as wrinkled as silk, so I was expecting less time spent on steaming this viscose dress. In a smooth process that took less than five minutes, my dress became wrinkle-free and ready to wear.
Lastly, I tested the steamer on a men’s shirt made of cotton and polyester blend. I found this shirt to be the most difficult to work with, because the powerful steam kept blowing the lightweight shirt away, which made it hard for me to bring the fabric within three inches of the steaming head. It was a messy scene as I had to manage the shirt with one hand and the steamer on the other—and not scald my fingers with the steam in the process. The steaming session took about 10 minutes, during which time I didn’t run out of steam (pun intended!), but was left frustrated with the unsatisfying results. In retrospect, I should have laid the shirt flat on an ironing board or bed so I’d have more control over the garment.
Another quibble: In theory, the storage bag doubles as a hand-protecting mitten. In the first use case, it’s well-insulated and pads the steamer just fine for when it's stashed away. But when I tried wearing it as a mitten for steaming this shirt, it was a miserable experience, as it didn’t give me any grip to hold onto the clothing item. As I tried to put my hand under the shirt, the mitten just slipped and fell off. It was impossible for me to effectively steam wearing the mitten.
How does Steamery travel steamer compare to a valet-style standing steamer?
Though I like the stylish look and portability of the Cirrus No.2 handheld steamer, I would never replace my standing garment steamer with it because the latter has a sturdy base and a rack where I can hang my clothes to get steamed. On my standing steamer, I can also adjust the strength of the steam, a feature that the Cirrus No.2 lacks. A standing steamer also features a water reservoir of a larger capacity that allows several pieces of clothing to be steamed before needing a refill.
However, the Cirrus No.2 has one major leg up on my standing steamer: It fits in my suitcase.
Is Steamery’s Cirrus No.2 steamer right for you?
If you’re a frequent traveler with lots of high-maintenance clothing items, the Steamery travel steamer may be a great purchase. It’s a portable, lightweight, and relatively powerful handheld clothes steamer that allows you to unwrinkle your delicate clothing items while traveling.
Although it falls behind a standing steamer in terms of the ability to smooth clothes fast with adjustable strength settings, it’s safer than risking your beloved garments with a board and iron.
For people who are on the hunt for an alternative to an iron for at-home use, a standing steamer is still the best choice. These are also more affordable than the pricey Steamery, but with more features and settings for different steaming tasks.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.