How to Steam a Letter Open

Written by kathryn hatter
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How to Steam a Letter Open
Steam a letter open if you need to reuse the envelope. (envelope image by Marek Kosmal from

Steaming open an envelope is fodder from old spy books and movies, but it does work if you need to steam a letter open. Regardless of the reason, if you need to open an envelope and want to reuse the envelope glue again to reseal it, use steam from boiling water to open the envelope quickly and easily.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Dishcloth
  • Teakettle
  • Hob
  • Sharp steak knife or letter opener
  • Glue stick (optional)

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  1. 1

    Wipe the spout of the teakettle with the dishcloth to ensure it is completely clean. This will prevent grease or dirt from transferring from the teakettle to the envelope during the steaming process.

  2. 2

    Fill the teakettle with water and place it onto the burner. Set the burner to high and bring the water to a full boil.

  3. 3

    Open the spout of the teakettle while the water boils actively on the burner.

  4. 4

    Hold the envelope so the flap is facing down and place it directly over the steam as it escapes from the spout of the teakettle.

  5. 5

    Insert the edge of the knife or the letter opener into the envelope flap at the point where you are directing the steam. Slide the knife or letter opener sideways to separate the envelope flap from the envelope. Be gentle to avoid ripping or damaging the envelope.

  6. 6

    Move the envelope along the steam and continue to work the knife or the letter opener to separate the flap. Do not allow the steam to penetrate into one spot on the envelope for too long because it will damage the envelope.

  7. 7

    Continue applying the steam and separating the envelope flap with the knife or letter opener until the envelope opens completely.

  8. 8

    Reseal the envelope by moistening the glue that still covers the envelope flap. The envelope should reseal adequately. If you have trouble resealing the envelope because of a lack of glue, place a dab of glue from the glue stick on the envelope flap in several areas and reseal it.

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