Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 04-12-2011, 02:27 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 347
Is the steam feature on a washing machine useful?

I'm looking to buy a new front loading washing machine. The major difference I see between the $600-800 machines and the $800+ machines is that the more expensive ones have a steam cycle, in which steam is used to clean the clothes. The only "reviews" I can find are just restatements of the manufacturers' marketing material. Steam cleans gently, steam removes allergens, steam loosens tough dirt, steam is green, etc. None say whether steam actually does any of these things better than a non-steam cycle. Additionally, most of these washers also have some kind of "cold water wash technology" so cold water "cleans as well as warm" which is a bit in conflict with the "steam gets your clothes hot so it cleans better" on the same page.

Anyway, does anybody have experience with steam washing? I'm sure it works fine, but does it work enough better than regular washing to be worth using? It's a big jump from $650 to $1000 for a washing machine, but I'll pay for something that works better.
#2
Old 04-13-2011, 10:43 AM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 347
I can assume by the lack of responses that nobody has used the steam feature on a washing machine to remove red wine from a wedding dress, or some such miracle.
#3
Old 04-13-2011, 10:56 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 9,815
My current washing machine has steam cycles - I've had it for a year or so, and probably used it less than 10 times. We tend to use it on the kids sheets during pollen season, since it claims that steam is the best way to remove allergens. IIRC, you can only use it on things that are hot water safe anyway, so I've been reluctant to try it on clothes.
#4
Old 04-13-2011, 12:19 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Munich, Germany
Posts: 4,951
I've never heard of using steam. I wonder how steam would be gentler - steam is 100 C hot! Compared to delicate clothes which are washed with 40 and 30 C (and gentle motions), and the most gentlest program is wool which is 30 C (handwarm water), I have severe doubts how boiling steam would not damage delicate clothes.

As for getting clean, here in Germany both the enviromentalists, the consumer advocates and now the manufacturers of washing powder and washing machines keep saying that you don't need to "boil" (wash at 95 C) your clothes under normal circumstances (Exceptions: somebody has scarlet fever or salmonella. Normal bacteria are killed at 60 C).

The new trend is even to wash less at 60 C and more at 40 C.

I would look first at how much water and energy (for heating up the water) the machine uses, because that's what adds up over the next 10 years.

If the machine actually uses steam, is it air-tight so the steam can't escape? How likely is it to scald yourself? Does the manufacturer adress this sensible or just marketing hype blabla?

Have you asked your local consumer advocate group, maybe they have tested this?
#5
Old 04-13-2011, 12:56 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 5,391
When I was looking, it seemed like families with young children were more apt to select washers with the steam feature for sanitizing clothes after whatever mishap. Since my husband and I don't have kids (and don't plan to in the future), I went with a cheaper model. Mine still gets sheets and towels plenty clean, and I'm not worried about them not being cleaned with steam.
#6
Old 04-13-2011, 01:41 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 9,815
According to my washer's manual, it injects steam into the drum during the wash cycle. The drum itself is not a pressure vessel, though it is obviously water tight. The door stays locked until the cycle is done, so burning yourself isn't an issue. No idea if they're generating actual steam or just very hot water vapor.

BTW, echoreply, if you're not in a hurry, late spring/early summer seems to be when a lot of appliiances go on sale. We got our front loader last June for something like 30% off recommended retail. And remember that the whole pairing of "matching" washer & dryer for the same price is nonsense - you can get a nice washer and a cheaper dryer.
#7
Old 04-13-2011, 04:30 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 347
Based on the replies so far, it does seem that the steam is mostly a gimmick. Not that it doesn't work, but it's nothing I'd use frequently, because it's so much better than just a plain wash cycle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by constanze View Post
I would look first at how much water and energy (for heating up the water) the machine uses, because that's what adds up over the next 10 years.
I'm looking at front loading machines, which use much less water than top loading machines. The cheap machines don't heat the water, but for $100 more I can get one with a heater that can bring the water to 158F. I don't see a need for that, and any washing which needs "sanitary" (as the extra-hot cycle is called) can run with bleach.

That's why I'm going with a gas dryer, even though it's $50-100 more up front. It should save me (at current prices for gas and electricity) about $0.18/load. The gas line is already in place, though with an electric dryer. Of course not using the dryer at all saves more, and I almost always hang clothes up damp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
BTW, echoreply, if you're not in a hurry, late spring/early summer seems to be when a lot of appliiances go on sale. We got our front loader last June for something like 30% off recommended retail. And remember that the whole pairing of "matching" washer & dryer for the same price is nonsense - you can get a nice washer and a cheaper dryer.
Yeah, pricing is a bit annoying. The "regular" price at Home Depot, Best Buy, etc. is more than MSRP, and the sale prices tend to be at or below MSRP. Based on web searches these prices aren't actually out of line. I've been noticing that they're constantly on sale, because one sale expires, and then a new one starts up within a week.

I'll be getting the cheapest gas dryer which will stack with washer.
#8
Old 04-13-2011, 04:46 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 9,815
FWIW, if you have or will soon have very young kids, the sanitary cycle (extra hot water) is useful for getting accidents out of clothes & sheets. On an old top loader, you'd have plenty of water to dilute the urine & get it out of the fabric. With low water front loaders, it's a lot harder. The sanitary cycle works well for that.
#9
Old 04-13-2011, 10:48 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Ainran
Posts: 11,449
I'm not sure if this is exactly what you are talking about, but my dryer back in the US had a 10-minute steam cycle for getting out rinses and obviating the need for ironing. It worked like a charm and I miss it dearly.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:27 AM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: accurate lyrics flintstones wayouts fica cap mensa lsat loki sandman lhm fluid magicjack message board utilities in monopoly lizard masturbating marijuana roach strippers blow jobs debacle pronunciation message dnd 3.5 2000 cubic inches firefighter pot fire musical keys straight circle jerk best spike episodes civet pet turrets cursing lice hair brush us war bonds o'mage definition shyster origin suge knight pronunciation peruvian lemon histamines in beer menards peanut oil stockholm or oslo darwin symbol meaning of iron cross how to remove a splinter under your nail where to buy turkey eggs board game like taboo steel toe boots on a plane pay bail with credit card does cvs sell plungers what is a rosary funeral it's colder in here than a hot cup of worth ginger tea induce period what does 41 mean what is the scientific name for boogers cost of paving a road best true religion jeans phi kappa psi handshake high efficiency washer not getting clothes clean does the military use shotguns music on direct tv commercial british word for cigarette how much do general contractors make on a house what gives rye bread its flavor heat spots on leg how much is a doctor's visit human rabies shots cost lewis black if it weren't for my horse bag balm top warnings why was coors beer illegal east of the mississippi always has to be right what are those glass panels in front of the president can you use spaghetti sauce for pizza wet sponge electric chair snow globe glass repair how to fix over churned ice cream life of pi island real put him in the scuppers with a hosepipe on him