Steam washing machines are a modern day convenience that has the potential to save you time, energy and money. What’s more, they can be used on all sorts of clothing – even those with delicate fabrics and hard-to-wash items like activewear or small toys. Find out how steam washing machines work in this post.
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What is a steam washing machine and how does it work?
Steam washing machines are designed to use the power of steam to wash clothes. The process is quite different from a conventional washer which relies on a combination of high water temperatures and detergent to do its work. Instead, steam uses much lower temperatures relative to an ordinary washing machine, but it makes up for this by using more pressure.
A steam washing machine works by relying on pressure to clean your clothes effectively. This is done in the following ways:
Detergent: With a conventional washer, detergent has to cover any sort of stain or dirt to ensure that it comes out properly. However, with steam washing machines, you can usually get away with using only a small amount of detergent – even with the most severe stains.
Water temperature: The water used in steam washing machines only reaches temperatures of about 80 degrees Celsius (176 Fahrenheit); however, due to the sheer amount of pressure it is subjected to, this is enough to get your clothes thoroughly clean and stain-free.
Rinse cycles: Steam washing machines generally include a number of rinse cycles. Some may even have three or more. The purpose of these rinse cycles is to remove the detergent residue left behind from cleaning. Only with a clean machine can it be put to use for future washings.
Pressing: Steam washing machines also feature an automatic pressing system. This works to smooth out wrinkles as it washes your clothes, so you’ll finish the wash with less dry-cleaning and ironing.
Should you buy a steam washing machine?
Steam washing machines are pretty great to use. At the end of the day, they’re convenient, cost-effective and help you to save time and energy. If this sounds like something that would work for you, go ahead and give it a try. That said, if you don’t actually need a steam washing machine, it’s probably not worth the price for you. Consider renting one or checking out a laundromat instead. At the end of the day, what matters most is that your clothes get clean – not how they get there.
For users who are undecided whether or not to buy a steam washing machine or any other type of washing machine and is looking for more information, read our buyer’s guide on washers which may benefit you in making your decision.
For all those who would want to buy a steam washing machine for personal/home use, check out the table below which consists of some of the best steam washing machines in India.
|Samsung 6.0 Kg Inverter 5 Star Fully-Automatic Front Loading Washing Machine (WW60R20GLMA/TL, White, Hygiene Steam)||Check Price at Amazon|
|LG 8 kg 5 Star Inverter Wi-Fi Fully-Automatic Front Loading Washing Machine (FHT1408ZWL, Luxury Silver, Steam)||Check Price at Amazon|
|LG 9 Kg 5 Star Inverter Wi-Fi Fully-Automatic Front Loading Washing Machine (FHT1409ZWS, VCM, Steam)||Check Price at Amazon|
|IFB 8kg 5 Star Fully-Automatic Front Loading Washing Machine (Senator WSS Steam, Silver, Inbuilt Heater, Aqua Energie Water Softener)||Check Price at Amazon|
|Samsung 8 Kg Inverter 5 star Fully-Automatic Front Loading Washing Machine (WW80J42G0BX/TL, Inox, Hygiene steam)||Check Price at Amazon|
Benefits of using a steam washing machine
Despite their high cost, a steam washing machine is worth considering. Here are some of the ways it can benefit your household:
Convenience: Steam washing machines get clothes really clean in a fraction of the time that an ordinary laundry cycle takes to complete. Without having to wait for hours for your clothes to be done, you can save yourself a great deal of time.
Cost-effectiveness: In the long run, steam washing machines are cheaper than ordinary washers. This is mostly due to their lower water and power consumption as well as the fact that they don’t rely on detergent for cleaning ability.
Cleaning potential: It doesn’t matter if you forget to pre-treat your clothes before throwing them into the wash – steam washing machines can handle any and all stains.
Better environment: Steam washing machines use a far smaller amount of water than ordinary washers, which means that they have less of an impact on the natural environment. This is doubly true if you opt for an energy-efficient model.
Options: As mentioned above, steam washing machines come with all sorts of features that can help you get more out of your wash. Things like pre-clean cycles and pressers make the entire process much easier for you to complete as well.
Drawbacks of using a steam washing machine
Steam washing machines aren’t perfect by any means. Sometimes it’s hard to get your money’s worth out of them, particularly if you live in an area where electricity costs are high. That said, these drawbacks shouldn’t deter you from a steam washing machine if you truly appreciate their many advantages.
Cost considerations: As with most things, you get what you pay for. Steam washing machines are expensive up-front, but really don’t cost that much over the long term.
Lacking in customisation: Some people find it hard to get used to the fact that steam washing machines can’t be customised when compared with more conventional residential washers. You’ll have to do with the pre-set cycles provided and there is no way to add or remove certain functions.
Noisy: Steam washing machines tend to be much louder than conventional washers. This is a drawback especially for those who need quiet homes of work. If you’re sensitive to noise, this may not be the machine for you.
Tips for getting the most out of your new appliance
Using a steam washing machine is pretty straightforward, but there are some ways to make the most of it. Here are some tips that can help your new appliance last longer and get you better results:
Use the proper detergent: Always read the instructions on the detergent bottle that comes with your steam washing machine. Different parts of your clothes need more or less detergent to get them clean. Hopefully, you won’t need too much of the stuff, but be prepared to use a bit more than you’re used to.
Go easy on the hot water: Steam washing machines have their own heaters, so there’s no need for you to turn up your thermostat in order to get your clothes clean. In fact, there’s no need for the water to be hot at all.
Try cycling with and without detergent: The two most important components of any washing machine are detergent and heat. If you’re having trouble getting your garments really clean, try using a bit of both and then trying it again without either.
Beware of lint traps: If your clothes are coming out with lots of lint on them, it’s probably a sign that the filter is clogged and needs to be cleaned. If you do this regularly, your steam washing machine will keep running smoothly for years to come.
Use the right setting: There are plenty of different settings available on most steam washing machines:
- Normal (Warm, Cold): This is the basic washing setting.
- Delicates/Hand Wash: If you’re trying to get small pieces of clothing clean without ruining them, this setting will be your best bet.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does a steam washing machine take less time than a traditional washing machine?
Yes, but the extent depends on the appliance. A regular washer requires an hour of your time while a high-efficiency top loader can complete a cycle in about 35 minutes. A steam washing machine, however, requires just 12 minutes with the right settings. It’s ideal for busy people who don’t have time to do laundry throughout the week.
2. Are there any other benefits of steam washing machines than quick wash?
Yes, because it doesn’t require you to use a lot of detergents, a steam washing machine may save you money long-term. Steam washing machines are also great for those who have sensitive skin because the process uses low temperatures and short cycles to remove dirt.
3. Can I use normal detergents in a steam washing machine?
You can, but stick to products specifically developed for this kind of washer or you risk damaging it. Using regular laundry detergents may make your laundry smell clean and fresh, but it may also leave a residue on your clothing.
4. How does the steam get into a steam washing machine?
The process is simple. First, you’ll pour water and detergent into the washer drum as you normally would. Then, add clothes to the wash basket or tray. Once they’re securely inside, shut the door. When you switch on the washer, it will heat up your water and produce a burst of steam to remove dirt from your clothes.
5. Will using a steam washing machine ruin my clothing or leave behind lingering odours?
No! Steam washing machines are a safe option for removing dirt, debris, and odours from your clothing. In fact, some models protect fabrics with special features like an included fabric softener dispenser or tumbling action.
6. Can I wash heavily soiled items in a steam washing machine?
Yes, but you should use the gentle cycle to reduce wear on material such as silk, fine wool, or cotton.
7. Is it safe to use a steam washing machine with children’s clothing?
Yes, but always remember to keep an eye on the washer and the wash cycle itself for any signs of over-heating or malfunctioning. If any steam escapes from the washer, disable the cycle and unplug it immediately.
8. What should I do if my steam washing machine is leaving rust spots on clothes?
Your steam washing machine may be overexposing the clothes to heat or steam. Keep an eye on it and try using a gentler cycle in the future to see if this fixes the problem. If not, you may need to replace your appliance.
9. Are steam washing machines better than regular washing machines?
Steam washing machines can be beneficial if you have sensitive skin or prefer a low-temperature wash. However, they are not always the most cost-effective option when it comes to conserving electricity. If measured use per cycle is taken into account, then both types of washers are about equal in terms of energy consumption.
10. Is the steam washing machine worth it?
It depends. If you have a lot of delicate items to wash and want to protect them, then yes – it’s definitely worth considering a steam washing machine. If you just want better-smelling clothes or longer-lasting garments, then it’s probably not worth the investment.