If you are on the market for a new washing machine, you may have noticed the increased popularity of steam washers. As the name suggests, steam washing machines use the power of steam, in addition to water, to wash your clothes. This comes with many benefits, but as with everything, these added benefits come at a price. Is a steam washing machine right for you or should you go for a conventional model? Only you can decide that, but there are a few things to consider.
More Efficient Stain Removal
Steam cycle washer technology was first developed by LG 20 years ago. Since then, most companies have released their own models. Immediately after the release of the first LG steam washer, the claim was made that steam washers demonstrate 20 percent improved performance while using less energy and water.
The improved performance is, of course, made possible because a steam washer has a steam cycle, in addition to the usual cycles of a typical washer. The steam generation allows the waster to achieve higher water temperatures. On a regular washer, your hot water setting will give you a maximum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but a steam washer can achieve 212 degrees.
This is good for several reasons: First, it is said to be better at tough stain removal – stains that a conventional washing machine just cannot deal with. Your baby's diaper has leaked? Bad news: That favorite outfit that grandma has picked is ruined. But a steam washer would be able to save it for you. And while it does it, it'll also do an excellent job of eliminating odors.
Want your clothes to come out soft and towels fluffy out of the wash? The conventional washing machine requires you to use a fabric softener to achieve that, but in a steam washer, the steam does the job for you. The steam helps the cloth fibers relax, making them softer naturally. And as an added bonus, it reduces wrinkling so you won't need to iron.
The high temperatures achieved by the steam washer are also better at getting rid of bacteria. For sanitation to happen, water must be at at least 171 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that most conventional washing machines just don't reach. What's more, a steam washer will get rid of most common allergens. Dust mites, pollen, cat and dog allergens will be long gone by the time you take your clothes and bedding out of the washer.
Energy Efficiency of Steam Washers
Steam washers are also said to be more energy efficient compared to regular washers. Because the cleaning is aided with steam, less water is required for each cycle. Less water means less energy used to heat it. It is also true, though, that some cycles on a steam washer are longer, so they may use more energy.
Many steam washers allow you to completely customize your wash cycles for each load. For instance, you can choose from several pre-wash and wash temperatures and spin speeds, choose a delayed start mode and save the program settings for future use.
The Price of a Steam Washer and Dryer
Of course, all these benefits come with a hefty price tag. A steam washer today can be bought for anywhere from $600 to $1,900, while a non-steam washer can be bought at half this price.
Whether or not a steam washer is worth this money is an entirely personal choice. If your budget allows for one, you'll able to forgo the chemicals in the fabric softener and finally sell your iron.
If you or someone in your family has allergies, a steam washer may just be what you need to finally breathe deeply and freely.