Can You Use a Steam Iron As A Dry Iron? (Yes, If…)

Ironing your clothes is an essential task.

Ironing makes your clothes wrinkle-free and putting on wrinkle-free clothes makes you look neat.

It’s a sign of dedication and neatness. 

However, you’ll need a quality pressing iron to iron your clothes with ease and to deliver the best results.

If you do not have a hot iron or you’re concerned that it may damage your fabric, you might be wondering if you should use a steam iron instead.

I did some research and here’s what I found:

It’s fine to use a steam iron in place of a hot iron, especially if the clothes (e.g., silk) can’t withstand the hot steam. Hot steam may break the fiber, so you should use a steam iron instead to straighten your fabric.

Types of Pressing Iron

There are two types of pressing iron:

  • Steam iron
  • Dry iron

Generally, pressing irons are iron boxes with different watts, a thermostat, and a soleplate.

Pressing irons help to straighten clothes and remove creases from them. 

Dry irons press and straighten clothes using dry heat.

Steam irons are similar to dry iron but with advanced features to generate steam and jet them on clothes while ironing.

Steam irons are the latest technology. They make ironing faster and smoother and remove wrinkles faster.

Nowadays, dry irons are not as common as the steam irons as most households have a steam iron.

You can use steam irons on some fabrics like cotton and other hard-wearing fabrics.

When you use a steam iron on such fabrics, the steam straightens the threads of such fabrics faster than dry heat. 

However, you can’t use a steam iron on silk and other delicate fabrics. They can’t withstand the hot steam and may get damaged.

So, if you have a steam iron and wondering whether you can use it as a dry iron or if you’re worried about getting your delicate clothes damaged by steam?

Here is good news for you. You can use a steam iron as a dry iron.

Here are a few reasons to use your steam iron as a dry iron:

Some fabrics, such as silk and satin, can’t withstand the hot steam and their fibers may be broken if exposed to hot steam. 

Other fabrics may transfer their dye onto the iron soleplate, discoloring the soleplate and also getting their color faded.

As stated above, almost all steam irons can also serve as a dry iron. This is known as dual purpose.

These irons have a dry/steam setting as well as a steam shut-off feature or any other similar feature.

However, if your steam iron doesn’t have any of such functions, you may not pour water in the water tank or you can turn the steam level to a minimum.

Note that the water in the water tank may be so hot, so you need to unplug the steam iron and allow it to cool before you empty the water tank. 

After then, clean the soleplate with a lint-free cloth and go ahead using the steam iron as a dry iron.

How Can You Use A Steam Iron As Dry Iron?

Most steam irons have dual functions. This means they can be used in either steam or dry mode. 

However, if your steam iron doesn’t have dual functions and you’re wondering how you can use it as a dry iron, follow these simple steps below to use your steam iron as a dry iron:

1. Always Wash Your Fabric before Ironing

Don’t iron dirty fabric. Always ensure to wash your fabrics before ironing them.

When you iron dirty fabrics, the dirt, oils, or staining materials in the fabric can stick to your iron’s soleplate when heated, and this will damage it.

2. Ensure To Remove Water from the Steam Iron 

Since you are using the iron dry, there is no need to leave water in the steam iron. Some steam irons can dip water at high heat settings.

So, always remove the water from your steam iron before using it as dry iron.

To do this, first unplug the seam iron and allow it to cool. Then empty the water tank. 

Carefully wipe any moisture off the soleplate with a dry, lint-free cloth. You can skip these steps if your steam iron has a dry iron setting or steam shut-off switch.

Consult the user manual to help you out.

3. Preheat the Iron 

Now that your steam iron is set to dry mode, it’s ready to be used as a dry iron. However, you need to preheat the iron first.

Turn the temperature regulator or fabric selectors to the desired settings you wish for the iron.

4. Use an Ironing Board or Appropriate Flat Surface

The next step involves laying your fabric on your ironing board or any other appropriate flat surface that is heat-resistant like wood, metal, or tile.

If you are using any other surface other than the ironing board, make sure you lay a towel (white is better) on the surface to protect the surface from damage from direct heat. 

If you’ll be using a patch or iron-on transfer, make sure you carefully follow the instructions for preparing and placing the patch or transfer on the fabric for ironing.

5. Start Ironing When the Temperature Indicator Light Shows Your Iron Is Ready

Once the temperature indicator light shows that your iron has reached the correct temperature, then it is ready for ironing.

Start ironing your fabric back and forth or start the iron-on transfer.

Consult the user manual to understand how the indicator light works. While some irons turn off or turn red when the desired temperature is reached, others have a light that turns green. 

6. Unplug Your Iron after Use

After ironing your fabrics, don’t forget to turn down the temperature regulator or fabric selectors. After that, unplug the iron and allow it to cool.

Based on research, here are a few best pressing iron for both domestic and industrial use:

WASING Classic Dry Iron 

This iron is best-suited for both domestic and industrial usage. This iron comes with an elegant and sleek design. It has a glass surface that is made flat with a big easy-to-read display. 

wasing dry iron

You don’t need to worry about spills and fingerprints. This iron will easily remove them without leaving traces behind.

This is a unique feature lacking in most other dry irons.

Sunbeam Turbo Steam Iron

This is an extra-large size, 1500W steam iron. It comes with a non-stick steel soleplate.

The powerful water tank and anti-drip system prevent water from leaking even at a high temperature.

sunbeam steam iron

Aside from the steam openings on the soleplate, this iron also has a hot steam jet for an extra burst of steam on your fabric.

BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron

This iron is designed with a fabric select dial that enables you to control the temperature to whatever fabric you want to iron.

It’s fitted with a 3-way auto-shutoff system that gives you the total security of your clothes.

steam iron

It also has an anti-drip system that prevents water from dripping on your clothes. The movable pivoting cord enables better maneuverability.


If you currently have a dry iron, you may not need to buy a steam iron, which is costlier.

If you’re satisfied with using a dry iron and a water spray. All you need to do is get a water spray.

Yes, if you don’t have heavy-duty ironing projects that require steam iron, then you may not use your dry iron. A dry iron works well with a water spray for daily domestic ironing.

However, if you’re planning on getting a pressing iron, it’s advisable to get a steam iron, and if you already have one, fine. A steam iron can practically do what a dry iron does.

Hence, if you own a dry iron, then you don’t have to pay for a steam iron, simply get a water jet.

And if you own a steam iron, then you don’t have to buy a dry iron, it can serve both purposes.