Always have a clean sock on hand.

By Megan Cahn
August 31, 2018
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stylists examine blouse in studio
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A fashion stylist's' job is to make his or her client look good, and that means, making sure their clothes look good. Whether they are on a photoshoot or helping someone put together the best outfit, garments need to be fresh, wrinkle-free and looking like new. Enter, the steamer. This trusty appliance is the stylist's best friend, and has even more super powers than you would expect. Ahead, five stylists share their steamer secrets.

Have A Sock Handy

L.A-based fashion stylist, Sarah Toshiko West, makes sure to have a clean sock on hand when she's on set. Yes, a sock! "I always put a sock over the nozzle before I start steaming," she says. "This saves me from getting wet spots!" Stylist Allison Koehler agrees, especially for important garments, like a silk dress or even more important, a wedding gown. "The sock will absorb the intensity of the steam so that you don't get water marks, which sometimes dry to a stain," she explains.

Less is More

It's true: one of the most annoying things about steamers is when they spew water all over a garment. L.A based celebrity stylist, Jordan Grossman's simple solution is to always put a little less water in the steamer than required. Why didn't we think of that?

Eliminate Odors

Toshiko West also makes sure to have a spray bottle of vodka around - no, not for cocktails - to help get rid of any odors. If a garment has a lingering smell, she'll spray it with vodka, let it dry, then steam the funky odor right out of it. You may be tempted to dilute the vodka, but that will kill the odor-removing effect, so just lightly mist the garment to avoid soaking it.

Filter It

Sure we choose filtered water to drink, but it seems our clothes might need a little extra love, too. New York-based stylist, Michelle Carroll, always uses distilled or purified water to steam her garments. "It will make your steamer last longer and help keep up the care of your clothes," she says.

Go Inside Out

Before you steam, Carroll suggests turning your garment inside out. "If a fabric is sensitive to heat or you happen to make a mistake, it won't show on the outside," she says. "It also helps with heavier fabrics where you may have to hold the steamer on wrinkles longer than normal."

woman steaming garment
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Work In One Direction

Koehler says it's best to steam in just one direction-she prefers vertically. To ensure even coverage, she works from one side of the garment all the way around, spending more time on the toughest wrinkles. "This will make the items look consistent and ensure that an item falls properly on the body."

Keep it Fresh

If you're clothing smells stuffy after hanging in a closet for too long, Carroll suggests adding about a teaspoon of fabric freshener to the water before steaming. She loves the classic scent from The Laundress.

Say Bye to Grime

You can use your steamer to get the wrinkles out of your clothes, but they also work to remove general grime and even stains, says Alyssa Dineen, stylist and founder of Style My Profile NYC. Hold the steamer above the dirty area, and go over with a fabric brush while you steam. "This works on rugs, sofas and curtains, too!" says Dineen.

Caught in a Pinch

If your steamer breaks or you happen to forget it, Koehler says a hot shower is the next best thing - for the clothes, that is. Hang the garment in the bathroom, crank up the hot water, and close the door for about five minutes. The steam will loosen the fabric enough, so you can press your hands over the garment to smooth the wrinkles away. "It's not as efficient as an actual steamer, but it will definitely make a big difference," she says. Grossman suggests always having wrinkle release on hand - it's a life-saver if your steamer stops working!

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