8 In Wardrobe Wellness

What not to do with a steamer

Erins Burn

What not to do


It was ugly, right from the start. Erin and I met at a strip mall in Mill Valley to carpool together to see our client for a closet session. She got out of her car and into mine and then pulled her skirt up. “What do you think?” she said.

You can thank me for this: I am not showing you what she showed me. Yes, I took a picture of it but I have made the editorial decision not to reveal the gruesome photo of the skin on her thigh as it was starting to bubble up and blister.

The picture on the right is what remains six months after the original incident occurred so you at least have an idea.

It looks like the Big Dipper, right? Well, that morning, six months ago, it didn’t look like the Big Dipper. It looked like a big pile of hurt.

“What did you do?” I asked.

“I was steaming my skirt this morning.”

“And what does that have to do with your leg looking like that?” I said.

“Well, I had the skirt on and I was in a hurry and saw it needing steaming so I thought…”

“No, you didn’t! You steamed it while you were in it?”



Lesson learned


I hope you’ve never done this yourself. Or, maybe after reading this, if you find yourself in a similar situation (no time, wrinkles) you’ll remember this little post and not do what she did. The pic on the left is the reenactment of that very large error on her part.

When it comes to clothes care, it is best to not be wearing the clothes you are steaming because:

Hurry+hot steam applied near skin=big ole blister


Have you had any adventures or mishaps with hand-held steamers? I’m old-fashioned and don’t mind pulling out the ironing board and the steam iron so I rarely use them. What’s your preferred way of coaxing out wrinkles?

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  • Reply
    Marjory DeRoeck
    September 29, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Ooo.. ouch, Erin! I sewed my own clothes for years and always had the ironing board (with steam iron) set up in my sewing room. Old habits die hard and even though I no longer have time to sew my clothes, I always have my ironing board and iron set up in my spare room. I only use a steamer in my studio when I get the Carlisle collection. I’ll remember not to steam out a wrinkle while my client is trying on her clothes!

    • Reply
      September 29, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      Oh boy, for sure! No steaming a wrinkle for clients. The thing with Erin’s leg is it just grew and grew and got uglier and uglier throughout the day. I really mean it when I say that I’m doing every one a favor by not showing the picture of the full on blisters. It was mighty fierce. She wasn’t wearing anything near her skin for days.

  • Reply
    Amy Roseveare
    September 29, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    I must admit that I have had stores do a touch-up steam on me while I’m wearing a garment. But this will make me think twice about doing it again!

    • Reply
      September 29, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      Oh my gosh, Amy! I am all shook up just thinking about that! I’d slip it off and hang out in the dressing room while they steam the garment. This was awful, truly. I don’t want that to happen to you!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2015 at 6:30 am

    I have tried to iron things while wearing them. It doesn’t end any better!

    • Reply
      December 29, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      YIKES!!! I hope no skin grafts were needed. Be safe! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    July 15, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I was thinking about steaming a skirt I was wearing, Googled it, and clicked on this post. I KNEW it was a terrible idea but I was going to do it anyway. Then I read/saw this and snapped out of it. So thanks!

    • Reply
      July 15, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Oh I am so very glad you snapped out of it in time!!! Thank goodness for Google! Thanks for sharing, Lisa. It will keep someone else from doing it too.

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