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Some people find ironing relaxing. I have vivid childhood memories of my mom bringing out the ironing board, dropping a towering hamper of freshly laundered sheets by the TV, and watching “The Oprah Winfrey Show” as she ironed her tablecloths and bedsheets. I did not inherit this zen approach to ironing. Instead, I view it as hell on earth. Luckily for me, though, we’re in the age of steam cleaners and you don’t have to drag out the ironing board if you don’t want to.
The key to this approach is not doing what I did, i.e. buying the cheapest option available. My closet has seen a steady stream of $20 steamers that do the trick for about a year before burning out in a sad sputter. But I couldn’t imagine spending more than $20, so I made do. That is, until my boyfriend ruined everything by introducing me to a commercial steamer.
I knew I was in trouble the first time I used it. It reminded me of the “Seinfeld” episode where Jerry and Elaine were flying on a plane together, and he claimed the first-class upgrade from under her nose, reasoning he was doing her a favor. After all, once she tried first class, she would never be able to go back to coach. Jerry was right.
My boyfriend specifically has the Rowenta Master 360 Garment Steamer IS6520 (even the name sounds fancy,) and it looks like one of those commercial steamers in Nordstrom’s fitting rooms. At first, I thought he was wildly extra. Who needs such a beastly contraption in their apartment? It took up the same square footage as a cabinet! But I ate my words as soon as I had to steam a dress before we went out for the evening.
It took all of two minutes. There was no fussing, no going back and forth over the same crease line. There was no angry gurgling from the steamer; no pissed-off spitting that stains the fabric. Watching him steam my dress made me think back to when I tried to steam my duvet cover, which took three water refills and nearly 30 minutes. Why was I punishing myself?
I was a complete convert and got one myself immediately. While I’m advocating for any commercial steam cleaner, the Rowenta Master 360 is ready to use in 45 seconds, holds a gallon of water, and has a large metal head that lets you steam four times faster than the small cheap-o steamers. It also has a height-adjustable aluminum pole so you can shrink it and stick it into a closet, and its stretch hose lets you steam curtains and other upholstery, rather than just clothes.
While it might be a bit of an indulgence with its $100 price tag, for me, it’s well worth the money.