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 percent 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
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