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Garment Steamer vs Dry Cleaning: Which Works Best?

When it comes to getting a fresh look to clothes, both steam and dry cleaning work magic. They provide a picture-perfect finish, removing all the spots and dirt in the process. Between garment steamer vs dry cleaning, which one serves the most user benefit?

Well, some people ask, can I steam dry clean only clothes? The answer is yes, but this is just for the DIYers. However, dry cleaning will give you a professional clean of clothes, which hardly matches anything DIY. 

Today, we will see the differences between garment steaming and dry cleaning head to head. For us, both of them are good, but a garment steamer wins overall. 

Additionally, some fabrics like silk, leather, linen, etc., are better off with dry cleaning. A garment steam cleaner may add steam burns to them. 

We have added a comparison chart, so you don’t have to dig deep for an easy answer.  

Garment Steamer vs Dry cleaning comparison chart 

Features Dry Cleaning Garment steamer
TimeAbout a whole dayInstant work done
Cost $1.99 to $100 depending on where you live Free to use, but buying one will cost you some investment
Germ removal Removes all bacteria and virusesKills most germs and keeps everything fresh
Wrinkles removalYesYes
Steam burn issuesNoYes, if the temperature is too much
Plastic, PVC, or PolyurethaneNoYes
Silk and Wool YesNo

Garment steamers: Why go for it?

A garment cleaner is a wonderful machine for fabric, which kills off bacteria, allergens, wrinkles, and so on. If your fabric smells funny, just give it a good steaming and wallah. All the odor-causing bacteria will disappear in a zip. Let us see the features, why you should consider a garment steamer in the first place. 

Perfect germ removal

Sometimes, odor-causing bacteria can accumulate in the clothes, making them smell bad. Garment steam cleaners can produce up to 150-degree Celsius steam, which can kill off almost anything. There is nothing too tough for a garment steamer, whether it be regular staphylococcus aureus, salmonella, or E.Coli. 

Wrinkles free cloths

Due to regular use or lack of iron, wrinkles may form on clothes. Having a garment steam cleaner around will let you avoid any sort of ironing. The high heat and high-pressure steam of garment steamers will straighten your clothes on the first go. 

When you compare steaming clothes vs. ironing, steaming will come handier for a regular user. 

Saves money 

Suppose you have bought a garment steamer, how much will it cost for every use? Well, the initial investment is the only thing you need. A quality garment steam cleaner will cost you anywhere from 150 to 600 bucks. However, we would recommend the Vornado VS-570, which has both high performance and functionality features. 

You can DIY use a garment steamer, saving a lot of money in every cleaning, sanitizing, or straightening project. 

Get instant finish

Does steaming clothes clean them? Yes. Using a garment steamer takes no more than a couple of seconds. The high heat steam penetrates deep into garment fabric that cleans and straightens them. 

You don’t have to wait for hours or maybe a whole day, unlike dry cleaning. The experience is almost instantaneous. 

Dry Cleaning: Why go for it?

Dry cleaning is one of the most popular cleaning services due to its expert fabric care. So, what is dry cleaning? Generally speaking, it cleans garment fabric with chemical solutions containing the least water content. Here, an organic solvent helps clean up a fabric, which also takes care of tough wrinkles and germs. 

Preserves delicate fabrics

If your cloth can’t handle the harsh steam of a garment steamer, your best option is dry cleaning. Turns out, dry cleaning uses organic solvent chemicals, which act gently on delicate fabrics like silk, wool, and so on. 

Dry cleaning always preserves the premium shine of the clothes, keeping their value intact. 

Tough stain removal

Most of the time, greasy residues are responsible for making stains in clothes. Wet cleaning methods tarnish the fabric and ruin its fabric quality. This is where dry cleaning kicks in. 

The best part of dry cleaning is, it removes all sorts of petroleum and oil stains inside out. So, no stains and no worries. 

Professional care

We are sorry to say, dry cleaning is not for DIY enthusiasts. Professional dry cleaners dedicate their lives, cleaning and taking care of your precious clothes. As a result, you will always get a professional finish to the clothes, which makes them look brand new. 

Improves fabric quality

Dry cleaning may sound harsh, but it is one of the safest ways to do garment cleaning. A blend of soft chemicals attacks oil stains or dirt, giving you a picture-perfect finish. The best part is, the internal fabric structure will puff up and improve. Additionally, a professional touch adds up to the care factor for the fabrics. 

Garment Steamer vs. Dry Cleaning: Head to head

When comparing Dry cleaning with a garment steamer, we found both of them to be equally efficient. For starters, both of them offered fantastic germ removal and wrinkle-free fabric. 

However, dry cleaning will take about a whole day, whereas garment steamers are practically instantaneous. 

A single dry cleaning will cost you more than 2 dollars in the least when it comes to pricing. Steamers will charge you initial investment but are completely free afterward. 

Steamers have a downside, which is steam burning. Sometimes the steam heat becomes too much, causing the fabrics to burn. On the other hand, dry cleaning offers you a perfectly safe way to clean your clothes

Besides, steamers can handle delicate clothes fabrics like silk, wool, or anything synthetic. Dry cleaning is your only option here. 

Turns out, if you can use a steam cleaner carefully, chances are you can save a lot of money on cleaning. 

What is dry cleaning?

Dry cleaning is a way of fabric cleaning, which removes stains, dirt, and wrinkles, hardly using any water. Dry cleaning offers professional cleaning for clothes. Unfortunately, only professionals can do dry cleaning. 

Can I steam dry clean only clothes?

Dry cleaning is meant for cleaning clothes. Even if you use steam dry cleaning only on clothes, the effects will be somewhat similar. 

How to dry clean with steamer? Dry clean at home with steam dryer

Dry cleaning uses low to zero water to clean fabrics such as silk, wool, etc. Though you can try mimicking the effects of dry cleaning with the steamer, the results won’t come evenly. Anyway, this is how you can use dry-cleaning with a steamer:

  • Fill a garment steamer or a regular steamer with water and heat it up. 
  • Find a rust-proof hanger to hand the fabric cloths.
  • Now, steam your way through the clothes while slightly touching the stains with the steamer head. 
  • Finally, dry the whole thing, and you are done. 

Note: Avoid this method for any synthetic fabric, silk, or wool. 


Can steaming replace washing?

Steaming is good and all, but it is just not as efficient as washing. The regular washer offers a hundred percent dirt removal, which is pretty hard to beat. So, steaming can’t replace washing any time soon.

Can I dry clean at home?

If you have a dry cleaning machine, nothing is stopping you from dry cleaning at home. However, dry cleaning needs some organic solvent chemicals, which you need to master.

Can steamer replace dry cleaning?

Steamers are already replaced dry-cleaning in some cases like stain removing and germ cleaning. However, of fabrics like silk and wool, dry cleaning is your best shot yet.

Is a steamer worth it for cleaning?

Steamers offer a natural solution to any stubborn dirt and stains. Not even germs like Salmonella and E.Coli can withstand its superheated steam. Additionally, it can sanitize and kill off bugs such as mites, lice, etc. Due to all these features in a complete pack, a steamer is totally worth it for cleaning.

Is steaming clothes as good as washing?

Steaming clothes can never be as good as washing. Washing clothes removes all the dirt and debris completely. However, germs die off in steaming, but debris can still stay on the internal fabric structures.

Can you use a garment steamer to clean?

Garment steamers are just regular steamers with a boost in head and pressure settings. You can clean any cloth with it simply by adjusting the steam output.


So, did you find your top choice between garment steamer vs. dry cleaning? For us, a garment steamer offers a cheap and easy alternative to dry cleaning. However, fabrics like silk, wood, and synthetic fabric can’t resist too much heat. 

Other than that, a garment cleaner will do your job without spending a dime on professional cleaners. 

Results are almost similar in both steaming and dry cleaning. 

No more today. Have a good day.

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