Worth It: Ironing Your Clothes Is a Time-Sucking Drag. This Is Better.

Illustration for article titled Worth It: Ironing Your Clothes Is a Time-Sucking Drag. This Is Better.

Much unlike many a magazine editor who recommends you buy all sorts of crap that they most likely got for free, your Jezebel staff doesn't get jack shit (other than books, unsolicited). And that's how it should be. But on our own time, in our personal lives, we still buy stuff. So this is Worth It, our recommendation of random things that we've actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we'd actually tell our friends about. And now we're telling you.


I hate ironing. I hate it on principle; the fact that we must straighten and smooth our garments after we've already gone out of our way to clean them seems, at best, an inconvenient injustice. In practice, it just doesn't work with my schedule — I don't have time to press my clothes after I've already washed them, so they get thrown in my closet, clean but forgotten until I actually need to wear them. And when that time comes, it's invariably when I'm running late and don't have time to pull out the iron and heat it up and get everything all nice and flat on my bed (because I can't fit an actual ironing board in my rathole apartment, and those tabletop ironing boards are humiliating and require me to clean off a tabletop and that's even more work) and gah, I fucking hate it, okay?

A hand steamer, however, is wonderful. On a whim, I bought a My Little Steamer at Bed Bath & Beyond for $20; just aim it at the garment, run it up and down the fabric a couple of times, and it's good to go. The entire process takes about three minutes, start to finish. If you want a really perfect job, just take an extra minute to keep running over the fabric. There's no job this little thing hasn't handled for me, from jeans and sweaters to fancy bridesmaids dresses and the like.

There are plenty of brands of mini-steamers, and admittedly I suspect My Little Steamer is one of the lesser models. I do know that leaving leftover water sitting in it for a month between uses tends to create some gross residue on the inside (as one might expect, but still an oversight on my part), but that doesn't really affect its steam capabilities. And if you're working with a garment you don't want to get wet, don't put the steamer too close to the fabric — mine has been known to get a little drippy. The Conair model (pictured above, at left, $39) has some snazzy attachments that appear to protect your clothes a little better than the bare-bones My Little Steamer; the Emerson model also looks like a good option for only $18.

I've owned my mini steamer for about 18 months. Not coincidentally, it's been about 18 months since I last used an iron. For me, that's a win.

My Little Steamer, $19.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Other assorted models starting at $17.99 at Amazon.

Worth It only features things we paid for ourselves and actually like. Don't send us stuff. To see all previous Worth It columns, click here.




When I bought my house I used most of my savings for the down payment, so pretty much all of my furniture is from relatives' basements/storage units and Craigslist scavenging. The only things I decided we HAD to get new were a mattress and a fancy-ass steam washer and dryer. (It has been 100% worth it, and my scavenged second-hand furniture wound up being pretty awesome.) I usually just toss any wrinkled clothes into the dryer on the steam setting and that takes care of it—for the most part, anyways.

Steam hasn't completely replaced ironing for me because it doesn't give that same crispness and shape to items like oxford shirts and nice trousers. Is there a shortcut for that other than just paying to have the dry cleaner's starch your shirts? It doesn't cost much for Mr. Boom's, but one of my blouses costs like $12, which is ridiculous.