No hotel iron? No problem
Name: : Joy Mangano My Little Steamer - Go Mini
What it is: : A simple, packable 850-watt clothing steamer
How it works: : Fill with water to the top line in the reservoir, and steam away wrinkles until you reach the bottom line. Then refill. I was able to steam five cotton shirts in less than five minutes with one filling.
The good: : I had no idea a steamer could work better and more easily than an iron. By the time you haul out an ironing board and power up the iron, you can be done steaming, and there is no worry that you will "fry" the clothing.
I tried this on five cotton shirts from my carry-on. I had laundered all of them before returning from a trip, but they had wrinkled in my bag. One by one, I hung them on hangers from a door frame, and a simple once-over did the trick.
They looked professionally pressed. This steamer is small and easily tucked into a carry-on. Use it to hold some of your smaller toiletries, and it takes up hardly any room.
The most difficult test was a linen shirt, always a tough garment to smooth out, even with an iron. One load of water finished it off nicely.
The bad: : It doesn't hold much water, because it is meant to be small for travel, so if you're doing several garments, you will need to refill frequently.
On the other hand, because it is small, the water heats very quickly. In a hotel, you could just fill the ice bucket with water and use a glass to refill from that, if you have managed to take that many clothes with you.
One other problem: The first time I used it, I didn't wipe off the heating element when I was finished. The next time I used the steamer, there was an unpleasant residue on the element. Lesson learned.
Cost: : $23.95, plus $5.20 shipping
Available from: : hsn.com.
The site said the steamer was sold out when I checked, but a representative said more were scheduled to be back in stock. Another look last week showed the steamer available as part of a two-steamer set for $29.95, plus shipping.
- Ross Werland, Tribune Newspapers