Steam washers work like non-steam washers, but operate with added benefits and wash cycles that incorporate steam. Steam washers are typically high-capacity and use less water than traditional machines, which helps with water consumption. However, steam washing machines tend to have longer cycles, which use more energy, so they're not necessarily environmentally friendly. The steam cycle is what sets them apart.
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Washing and Steaming
Steam washers have water-only wash cycles, combination steam-and-water cycles and steam-only freshening cycles. When steam is added in conjunction with a water wash, steam is injected into the drum, along with the water, for extra cleaning power in the wash cycle or extra rinsing in the rinse cycle.
This feature is only on steam washers. It is typically a 20- to 30-minute cycle where steam is injected into the wash drum to freshen, remove odours, sanitise and lift wrinkles from laundry. The steam cycle can be used to freshen items that would be damaged if washed in water, such as decorative pillows, dry clean only items, sweaters, wool scarves and hats, bedspreads, afghans and drapes.