can you use a clothes steamer on your face

Can You Use a Clothes Steamer on Your Face?

A facial is a luxury not everyone can afford, so do it yourself facials are becoming increasingly popular.

Using steam as part of your facial has many benefits, such as opening up your pores and deeply cleansing and hydrating your skin.

If you don’t own a facial steamer but have invested in a clothing steamer, can you use the clothes steamer on your face? In short, you can, but you shouldn’t. Here’s why:

Steam Burns – Clothes Steamers are Too Powerful

Steamers for facials run very low wattage (between 20 watts and 150 watts) and maintain the temperature for around 30 minutes.

This means the volume of steam coming from the facial steamer isn’t a lot. This makes facial steamers perfect for the delicate skin on your face, neck and around your eyes.

In contrast, a handheld steamer runs at approximately 1200 to 1600 watts and a full sized garment steamer pumps out steam at 1500-2000 watts.

The volume of steam and temperature of the steam from both a handheld steamer and full sized clothes steamer is much greater than a facial steamer. The risk of sustaining burns or serious injury to your face by using a clothing steamer is high.

Using a clothing steamer on your face should be avoided at all times

How to Use a Clothes Steamer for a Facial

Take a look at DIY facials on You Tube and you’ll find people who are using either handheld steamers or garment steamers on their face. If you understand the risks but still want to use a clothes steamer on your face, follow our top tips to avoid injury:

Use the lowest heat setting

If your clothes steamer has multiple heat settings, please use the lowest heat setting and lowest volume of steam.

Hold the steamer well away from your face

Hold your travel steamer an arms length away from your face at all times. If you must try facial steaming with an upright garment steamer hold the nozzle as far away from your face as possible.

Steam for a couple of seconds only

We watched a person on you tube use a full sized home garment steamer on her face. She did this for 2-3 seconds only and held the steamer head an arms length away from her face before removing the steam away quickly. Also, try circling your wrist so the steam does not stay in one place for any length of time.

Keep your eyes closed

Whilst the steam is pointing in the direction of your face. You do not want to risk injury to your eyes.

Have cold water handy

In case of injury or burns. If you do suffer a burn, run the affected area under clean cold water for 20 minutes. Do not apply ice or ice packs to burns. Seek medical advice.

Using a Low Wattage Handheld Steamer

The makers of iSteam Portable Steamers have gone as far as to advertise using their handheld steamer as a facial steamer. Given it has only 900 watts of power the steam output won’t be as good as the garment steamers I recommend on this website. When a retailer of iSteam Luxury Edition Portable Steamer was questioned by a consumer, the response was:

…take extra care and certain distance from the skin and hair to avoid skin irritation.


Ideally, your garment steamer should only be used on your clothes. It also works wonderfully on other soft furnishings and curtains, but using the hot steam from a clothing steamer on your face isn’t recommended.

The risk of injury or serious burns by using your garment steamer far outweighs the benefits of having a facial with steam. If you do burn yourself, not only will your relaxing facial be ruined, but you could be left with pain and scarring to your face. Don’t risk it.

A Facial Steamer is Designed For Your Skin

Most facial steamers are priced under $30 and pose far less of a risk of burns to your face than if you were to use a garment steamer for a facial.

A facial steamer heats up in around 30 seconds and runs for around 10 minutes, which is far more beneficial for your skin than the couple of seconds of steam on your face if you were to use a high powered clothing steamer.

By using a facial steamer you get the full benefit of steam such as the steam penetrating your skin, opening pores and relaxing skin tissues.

Using a facial steamer at home may produce just like you would get at the salon. They generally sit on on any flat surface, are portable, stylish, and unlike using a clothing steamer on your face, are safe for use for facials.

Here are some good options:


Buying a facial steamer is a far better choice than using a garment steamer on your face. As technology advances, clothing steamers are increasing in wattage, which in turn, increases the heat and steam output. This is likely to cause serious burns to your skin if used for a facial.

I really recommend not using a clothing steamer on your face and instead choosing a facial steamer which operates at a much lower temperature and steam output. Your skin will still benefit from steam, without the risk of redness, burns and peeling skin.

Price wise, they are not too much different in cost than a handheld garment steamer.

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