Are Steam Washing Machines a good idea?
Innovation in normal appliances continues to make improvements and even to break new ground, which is a really good thing. However, there are some innovations which do not transfer from one type of appliance to another, and it would seem as though this could be the case with the advent of the steam washing machine. It maybe that in a few years’ time, this may become the norm as far as washing machines are concerned, but at the present moment, the results don’t reflect the hype.
One of the claims being made for the steam washing machine is that ironing will be reduced considerably, however, if the clothes are leaving the washing machine soaking wet, this does not seem to make sense.
Basic Principles of a Steam Washing
There are many types of steam appliances in the home already which work really well in cleaning floors, windows and suchlike, but to suggest that the same principle will work well to wash clothes does not seem to be the case.
In order for the steam appliances to work that we currently use in our home, steam has to be blasted at pressure from a nozzle to a specific area to be cleaned, always leaving behind water as the steam cools, which needs to be wiped away.
If you think of this principle and how it would work in a washing machine, you need to consider the drum, and it does not seem possible to get a similar jet of stream evenly onto your clothing. The steam will disperse inside the drum, leaving you with a drum full of hot misty water, and some very wet washing.
You also have to ask yourself how your delicate items would fare when hit with a jet of hot steam. If it is only suitable for use on more robust materials, how are you supposed to deal with the other half of your wash load. Change the set up of your machine so you can do normal loads, which is really self-defeating. If you buy an appliance you should be able to use it for all your needs, and not switch between systems.
On this type of machine, you will generally have an option for Steam Refreshing, which is suitable for items that you don’t wear very often, and is designed to freshen them up. Perhaps this would be suitable for your winter wardrobe that has either been folded or hung up during the summer months
The principle is to refresh the garments, but bear in mind that it will not clean them and, of course, they will come out damp at the very least.
A great idea in principle, but if the clothes are not being cleaned in this process, you may be just as well to hang them out on the line on a dry day.
The cost of a new type of product on the market is always quite high at the start, as the manufacturer will be looking to claw back some of the costs of research and manufacture in the initial stages. You must also add in the costs of servicing and repairs that may be required. Again, with a completely new type of product, there are bound to be teething problems, which could work out to be quite expensive.
The costs of repairing such a machine are currently very high, but the worst news is that in many cases, the repair costs are too expensive and the machine, of maybe only 1 or 2 years’ service, has to be scrapped.
If you are considering purchasing a new washing machine in the near future, it may be better to spend your money on a very good appliance that has a proven track record, from a recognised manufacturer and to wait for a few more years to see how the innovation of steam washing machines progress.