Steam cleaning in a washing machine is the process of adding steam during the washing process to help keep clothing and fabrics wrinkle-free and soft. The steam is introduced to the washing cycle during the pre-wash, wash and post-wash phases to improve cleaning, soaking and sterilization of clothing.
The introduction of steam during the post-wash cycle helps reduce the chances of a fabric hardening and wrinkling. Steam inside a washing machine can be generated either by heating water inside the central tub directly or through a separate steam compartment. As of 2015, certain types of washing machines provide the option of adding steam to a normal wash cycle to complement pre-existing steam-washing options.