cropped shot of male holding garment steamer with steam on black

9 Ways to Use a Clothes Steamer That Have Nothing to Do with Clothing

A compact clothes steamer is handy for removing wrinkles and stale odors from fabric, but is that all? Just another single-purpose tool that sits on a shelf gathering dust? Don’t be so sure! I’ve discovered so many ways to use an ordinary clothes steamer to steam clean, sanitize, renew, and refresh all around the house and garage.


cropped shot of male holding garment steamer with steam on black


Before we get started, let’s go over a few steam clean basics.

  • Always use distilled water in a steamer. The minerals in tap water can cause it to clog up and can also leave behind traces of minerals.
  • Never use steam on silk, other delicate surfaces. Always test first in an inconspicuous place for color-bleeding or spotting.
  • Do not use steam on freshly painted surfaces, vintage surfaces, waxed or polished wood, or musical instruments.

Loosen carpet stains

A blast of steam can loosen a tough carpet stain that’s been challenging to remove. Hold the steamer a few inches away from the spot for at least 30 seconds, then blot it with a clean white cloth. Repeat until nothing more is transferred to the cloth. If you still see evidence of the spot, it should respond more effectively to a good stain remover like Spot Shot. Just make sure you follow the instructions on the label, which may require rinsing once the stain is gone.

Remove labels and stickers

A blast or two from your trusty clothes steamer can soften and melt the adhesive that keeps a stubborn label or sticker stuck so you can easily remove it. Be cautious if you’re dealing with an unpainted surface.

Defrost a freezer

If your freezer is not self-defrosting, you need to defrost it manually from time to time to keep it working well. And that can be challenging if you have frozen items you’d rather not thaw in the process. Use your clothes steamer to quickly melt the frost and ice.

Free icemaker

Now and then, my ice maker gets jammed up with too much ice. A few blasts of steam gets things moving again.

Sanitize solid surfaces

As long as your steam reaches 212 F., you can use it to sanitize and sterilize surfaces like appliance handles, countertops, sinks, faucets and toilets. Steam can easily loosen the mineral build-up in cracks and crevices so it can be easily wiped away without any harsh chemicals.

Remove grease and baked-on gunk

While steam can make light work of removing grease and baked-on food from a stovetop, pan, or oven, it is especially effective on a glass cooktop that could be damaged by harsh scraping or abrasive cleansers. Work in small areas, blasting it first with the steam, then quickly wiping away the residue.

Clean grout

Steam blasts away mildew and dirt that can be stubbornly lodged in the grout lines between tile on floors, tub walls, and shower enclosures. Steam then wipe. Repeat as necessary, working in small areas.

Clean glass and mirrors

Hit that smudge or streak with steam, then wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth to avoid making a new streak or leaving behind lint. Steam is so effective on glass you probably won’t need to use any other products at all. Moisture, heat, and microfiber is the perfect combination.

Detail a car

Steam is excellent for removing dirt and grime from wheels, trim, cracks, and crevices on the outside of a car. And it works wonders inside the car as well. Steam clean the seats and floor mats, too. Sticky handles, armrests and steering wheel? Hit them with steam! While you’re at it, clean the car windows and mirrors, too. Always test first in an inconspicuous place.

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3 replies
  1. Kathy Seline says:

    I have two additional ways I use my hand-held steamer. One is to use it as a facial steamer, holding it about 2 feet from my face. Also, I have used it to create a steam sauna in my bathroom.

  2. Brenda says:

    You mentioned that this is the best inexpensive Steamer. Can you tell me what the best stand up steamer is? I am talking about the kind that you can take it off of the stand and steam stuff on the ground without the Steamer spilling water out. I have found that the smaller inexpensive ones work well but I need the big tall one that has a hose connected possibly like the stores use. It doesn’t need to be inexpensive; I was just wondering if you have done any research on this type of steamer?


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