The steam station (also called a steam generator) is a special type of iron that uses steam ejected under high pressure (up to 6.5 bar) for ironing – thanks to which it better penetrates fabrics and smoothes them faster. Only a few years ago steam stations were used mainly by tailors or at fashion shows, but at some point there was a real boom of consumer versions of these devices. User feedback is clear: steam stations iron better than irons, although they are much more expensive.
How does the steam station work?
The steam station differs from the iron in that steam is not produced in the ironing device itself, but in a special boiler that generates it under high pressure. This, in turn, is located in a separate station to which we dock the iron. The soleplate is connected to the base station by a long cable with a steam transfer tube.
The steam station always has a large water tank, which for many models can be refilled while ironing. Steam stations produce steam at a pressure of at least 3.5 Ba – this loosens fabric fibers and smoothes them better. It is worth mentioning that in steam stations steam is the main ironing element, not the weight and temperature of the iron. Such a mechanism guarantees a much longer life of the clothes, because the fabric does not wipe so quickly under the influence of mechanical friction. What’s more, using a steam station, you can iron items of clothing that are not suitable for the iron, such as suits
Steam generator or iron?
Until recently, steam generators were chosen mainly by professionals, people who for some reason need an efficient and fast solution. Today, the steam station is a must in many homes around the world, including Poland. It is useful in families with many children, where after each washing session a whole pile of clothes gathers, only those willing to iron are missing.
Purchase of a steam station should be considered by people who sew at home. Regardless of whether they do it semi-professionally or amateur – for a family, the help of a steam generator in many situations can be invaluable. A good quality steam station will quickly iron out any seam and ditch, and it does not require the presence of an ironing board.
Disadvantages of steam stations
Steam stations are not ideal devices. Although they work well in dealing with a lot of ironing clothes, they have flaws that may discourage some from buying a steam generator. They are here: Steam stations are still quite expensive. This price is followed by the high power of the steam generator and the production of high pressure steam. A special ironing board under the steam station should be made of suitable material (not OSB), which increases the cost of starting up. Some steam station ironing boards may exceed the prices of traditional irons.
Steam stations are big. A steam station consists of two separate elements – a base station in which steam is formed, and an ironing device connected to it by a cable. Everything weighs about 5 kg. People looking for compact solutions should strive for good quality hardware. Steam stations are not among the quietest devices. The characteristic hiss that comes from the formation of steam for many family members can cause irritation. This is worth fixing, especially if you have a small child at home.
What to buy? Here are 5 good steam stations.
What models should you pay special attention to? Contrary to appearances, there are not many of them. Here are the most interesting and best steam stations on the market.
Philips PerfectCare Elite Plus GC9682/80
Has a power of 2700 W and produces steam at a pressure of 8 bar. Thanks to OptimalTemp technology, we iron jeans and silk fabrics without manipulating the temperature settings. The constant steam distribution is 165 g / min, but with a strong blow we get 3 times more! The iron has a SteamGlide soleplate and the warm-up time is 2 min. It is also worth paying attention to the Easy De-Calc Plus anti-calc system, which will remind you to clean the iron with light and sound signals. The ECO mode is also cool, which will reduce the steam generated and thus save energy, without losing the ironing properties of the device. And vice versa - to iron faster, you can activate Turbo mode. You can use tap water for this steam station and add it at any time during ironing - not every manufacturer gives such a possibility. The Philips steam station is extremely light and the water tank has a capacity of up to 1.8 liters. In practice, DynamiQ technology works great, which accurately detects when the iron is in motion and automatically turns on the steam, providing a powerful stream whenever it is needed. This significantly reduces ironing time.
Braun CareStyle 7 IS 7156 BK
Braun CareStyle 7 IS 7156 BK is a steam station which is the result of many years of experience of specialists of the German giant. This model is equipped with three ironing programs: universal iCare - automatically setting the optimal temperature for all fabrics, TURBO - designed for ironing thick materials, removing up to 99.9% of bacteria from clothes, towels and bedding, and dedicated to the most delicate materials - ECO, saving over 30% electricity. In combination with the patented Eloxal 3D PLUS alloy and a large volume of water container (up to 2 liters), production of large amounts of steam (125 g / min) and steam ejection at a pressure of 7.5 bar, you can achieve perfect ironing results for all types of fabric. It is also worth mentioning the ergonomic shape and low weight of the iron, which make it easier to maneuver over fabrics, while the Auto-off automatic shutdown system ensures full safety during use. You also do not have to worry about descaling, because the Fast Clean system significantly extends the life of the iron.
Tefal Pro Express Ultimate Care GV9580
This is the most powerful steam generator from Tefal. The device produces steam 180 g / min at a pressure of 8 bar, which guarantees rapid removal of any creases. Thanks to the intuitive Direct Control panel on the iron handle, you can instantly change the combination of steam and temperature for each fabric (4 different programs are available). The device has a 1.9-liter water tank. The steam station is equipped with a self-cleaning AutoClean foot, so you won't have to spend a lot of time on this process. The equipment also has a locking system for safe carrying. Tefal Pro Express Ultimate Care GV9580 is a good, simple steam station for people who think that too much technology in one device is unhealthy. Here we can only find what we really need.
Bosch TDS 3831100
Bosch TDS 3831100 is a steam generator for people who have a more modest budget. The device produces steam at a pressure of 6.5 bar and has a water tank with a capacity of 1.4 l. Bosch steam station is equipped with VarioComfort9 technology, which allows easy and intuitive adjustment of temperature to the appropriate fabrics. Thanks to Ultimate400 PulseSteam, it is possible to produce three consecutive steam strokes of 400 g. Calc'nClean Perfect technology also deserves praise, which helps clean the stone - both the station and the iron.
The 2600 W device generates 110 g / min steam with a maximum pressure of 6 bar. This means that with this model we can not iron all bends as well as with Philips or Tefal equipment. The water container is also smaller, because here it has "only" 1 liter, which means the need for more frequent walks to the tap. The BEKO SGA7126P steam station has a SteamXtraPro ceramic foot that is resistant to scratches, dripping, automatic shutdown after 10 minutes and a self-cleaning system. At the beginning of the adventure with steam stations, this model will be enough for most users.
How to clean your iron effectively?
An iron is a product that is bought once every few years. During its use, hardly anyone remembers about proper cleaning and maintenance. And this is a big mistake, because even the cheapest iron can serve us for many years, if we take care of it properly.
It is difficult to imagine functioning without an iron today. It is, next to a washing machine and a fridge, one of the most basic household appliances. The price range of irons is large. You can buy them for $1000 and destroy them in a month, and you can also reach for the simplest for $100 and enjoy its functionality for many years. In this particular case, everything depends only on us. Hardly anyone remembers that often used iron is worn out and to keep its functions, it should be properly maintained.
Cleaning the soleplate of the iron
The most important element of any iron is its foot. She has direct contact with our clothes and the quality of ironing depends on her. Each iron foot is made of stainless steel, but can be finished with different materials. These have a direct effect on the slip and adhesion of the foot to the material. We also wrote about it in our guide on how to choose an iron well. This is a banal advice, but it is still underestimated by many people. The iron should be rested with your foot only on a special shelf built into the ironing board. Leaving even the best iron on ironed material can cause serious damage. We will not only lose our favorite t-shirt, but also burn the most important element of the iron.
There is nothing to break, however, because a dirty iron soleplate can be relatively easily cleaned. The exceptions are situations when we burn a plastic or terry material. When this happens to us, it is worth reaching for a special cleaning agent, thanks to which we will put the iron’s foot to working condition. Smaller dirt can be dealt with “at home”. Vinegar and baking soda will be most effective in combating dirt on the soleplate. The substance can be used interchangeably (when the dirt is light) or together (when the foot is severely contaminated). In many cases – when foot contamination due to daily, proper use of the iron – a solution of washing up liquid with water is sufficient. Of course, we will get the best results when the iron is still warm (but not hot). We apply each of these substances to a cloth and clean it in a circular motion.
It is absolutely not worth using radical methods to clean the soleplate. Instead of tearing dirt off with a knife, sandpaper or wire sponges, it is worth immediately putting away for a new iron. Because using this technique, we will not achieve the desired effect, but will destroy the equipment. You need to be especially allergic when the iron has a Teflon coating.
Simple ways to stone.
When cleaning your iron, it’s important to remember about other components, not just the alloy. Steam generator outlets are exposed to dirt, at which stone constantly collects. They should be regularly cleaned with ear sticks soaked in a solution of water and vinegar (1 to 1 ratio). Another element of the iron that needs to be cleaned regularly is a water tank. Iron makers recommend using distilled water regularly for ironing, which prevents the formation of scale. In most homes, there is simply no time for such luxury – the water in the tank is refilled directly from the tap. You have to remember to flush the container from time to time with a special chemical available in most supermarkets.
If you do not have one on hand, you can use vinegar or citric acid – substances identical to those for cleaning an electric kettle. Pour vinegar or citric acid into the tank, top up with water and set the iron to the maximum temperature. We iron unnecessary things until the vinegar / acid water has completely evaporated. With it, the iron should get rid of stone deposits. As in medicine – it is better to prevent than to cure. Cleaning the iron once every few weeks will not take us much time, and thanks to it we can save a lot of money on really broken equipment or buying a new one. It doesn’t take much that even the cheapest iron will serve us well for years.
Food Processors FAQ
What is called steam boost in irons is normal work for steam generators. In the most advanced models of irons, steam boost is 120-150 g per minute. What does this mean in practice? For example, your linen from cotton or linen is dry. To smooth it, you apply a steam boost – the release of steam under pressure. The capacity of the water tank in the iron is rarely more than 200-250 ml, that is, in a few “shock” minutes all the water will be consumed, while you will press or hold the steam boost button. To iron a mountain of dry laundry with an iron, you have to add water to its tank several times and make an effort. Steam boost for steam generators is several times more powerful than for irons.
Steam escaping under pressure from the sole of the iron is able to penetrate through several layers of fabric. You can fold duvet covers, sheets, pillowcases and towels 4 or even 8 times, and everything will be perfectly ironed. This saves not only time, but also nerves: you don’t need to show miracles of dexterity so that one end of the duvet cover does not fall on the floor while you iron the other.
Some irons also have a “vertical steam” function, but often it simply does not work: there is not enough power and steam pressure. But even if everything is fine with these parameters, the volume of the water compartment in the iron body is not enough to steam large items. The steam generator provides a consistently high pressure and can replace the steamer, which is traditionally used in clothing stores, ateliers and interior salons for steaming clothes and curtains in an upright position.
Lingerie and clothing for young children and allergy sufferers are best ironed with powerful steam. A temperature range of 140-150 degrees is sufficient for the flexibility of most pathogenic bacteria. As for allergies, it can cause detergent residues, pollen, and dust mite waste products. Hot parks destroy allergen proteins.
A steam generator helps to do without unnecessary household chemicals: after all, it by itself greatly facilitates ironing, regardless of whether the fabric is conditioned or not. With all the advantages (pleasant aroma, softness of linen), the conditioner contains potential allergens, remains on the tissues, and is in contact with the body. Sensitive people may gradually develop an allergy to it, and air conditioners for children and allergy sufferers are two to three times more expensive than ordinary ones.
Condensation forms in the hose through which steam from the boiler enters the iron. In low-cost steam generators, condensate droplets along with steam can get on clothes, which is why wet spots appear on them. In a more advanced model, an anti-drip system is provided: drops on the approach to the hot sole are divided into tiny particles that instantly evaporate before they have time to “inherit” them on the laundry.
Not all irons have a function of automatic shutdown, but this point is thought out in steam generators. In addition to auto-shutdown, many models have additional protection: shutdown when overheating and a protective screen. Between work or after its completion, the iron is covered with a plastic casing so that children and pets do not accidentally burn themselves.
So, the steam generator significantly reduces the time it takes to iron. In large families, where it is often necessary to change bed linen and towels, children’s and office clothes, the steam generator frees the user several hours a week at once and reduces tedious physical activity. As you can see, it is pleasant to use it, even if the ironing volume is not so large, but the maximum comfort and convenience of the process itself is important!