When the weather’s fine, I run to work. However, by the time I reach the office, the clean clothes in my backpack need freshening up. But without an iron it’s hard to get the creases out, so the Philips GC300/20 Steam & Go Handheld Steamer offered hope.
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A “compact solution for easy de-wrinkling”, it’s lighter than an iron and small enough to fit in a drawer at my desk, plus it doesn’t require an ironing board (although I did need somewhere to hang the garment I was working on).
The basic premise is: fill the container with water, plug it in, press the trigger, move the steamer up and down, watch the creases “disappear”.
In trying to smooth the wrinkles out, I saturated my cotton shirt with steam (there’s plenty generated so make sure you open a window or switch on an extractor fan). Then I had to wait for the shirt to dry (so much for “steam and go”). After all that, my shirt was still rumpled.
Second time around, I tried a lightly creased blouse, tugging gently on the hem to keep the fabric taut, but the chiffon stretched out of shape. Oh, and the creases didn’t budge.
I wasn’t having much success with delicate textiles, so I tried something thicker: a slightly musty blazer abandoned by someone who no longer works at Consumer. According to Philips, steam “refreshes clothes and kills up to 99.9% of bacteria. Less frequent washing and dry-cleaning saves time and money, and helps clothes last longer.” Without sending the blazer to a lab for testing, I couldn’t verify the bactericide claims, but I could see if there was some truth in steam’s “refreshing” ability.
Now, “refreshed” is subjective, but the blazer didn’t look any neater after a few swipes with the steamer, nor did it smell better. Even in a pinch, I wouldn’t consider using this as a substitute for dry cleaning.
Philips’s advertising says the appliance can be used for “creating a natural look”. I’m confused as to what the “natural look” actually looks like, but if it’s more scruffy than sleek, then I’ve been nailing it for years…without the help of a $99 gadget.
The steamer is also recommended for “quick touch-ups”, but even after a good five minutes of steaming, my blouse was as wrinkled as it had been at the start – I could have set up my ironing station and flattened a shirt or two (with better results) in the same time.
As for the advice that you use an iron in addition to the steamer for “tough wrinkles and for a more formal look”, all I can think is, “Why? Why would you use two appliances, when you could skip step one and go straight to the iron?”
While I gave it my best shot, there were only so many YouTube tutorials I could watch before I threw in the towel. In short, trying to get results from the Steam & Go left me boiling mad.
By Julia Addison