What is a steam shower? A guide to improving the popular bathroom (2023)

It's no surprise that steam showers were everywhere at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show earlier this year. Recent trends in homes prioritize maximizing space while providingpersonal health benefits- A steam shower is a great example of how to do both.

"Steam is mankind's oldest healing practice, dating back to Greek and Roman times. Despite its rich history, Steam continues to amaze people with its wide range of health benefits," said Martha Orellana, Vice President of Steam.g. for.

Here we explore what steam showers are, their benefits and what to consider before installing one in your own home.

What is a steam shower?

"By definition, a steam shower is just a completely enclosed space that releases steam," says Orellana. A steam shower relies on a steam generator located outside the shower to generate steam. "At the touch of a button or screen, the steam generator heats water until it turns into steam, then quickly releases the resulting steam into a steam head inside the shower."

"A steam shower is perfect for almost everythingtraditional showerIf only it were closed, insulated and sealed," says Orellana. A steam shower can be integrated into an existing traditional shower and equipped to provide experiences such as aromatherapy, color therapy and music therapy.

The difference between a steam shower and a traditional shower

If you've ever wiped water droplets from a bathroom mirror, you know that traditional showers create steam. However, it is not the same as a steam shower. "Although traditional showers may release some steam, they are not as effective from a health standpoint as a fully enveloping steam shower system," says Orellana. Steam showers are designed to be completely enclosed to keep the steam in the shower, while traditional showers often have vents that release the steam to other parts of the bathroom.

What is a wet room? How to know if this bathroom design is right for you

The difference between a steam shower and a sauna

While both services sound warm and relaxing, saunas and steam showers offer very different experiences.

Saunas generate heat from a furnace inside the space, while steam showers rely on a steam generator outside the shower. They also differ aesthetically. While a steam shower can be inside a traditional shower and tub, a sauna requires its own room.

"Traditionally, saunas are built from kiln-dried wood, usually cedar or fir, which can withstand higher temperatures and lower humidity," says Orellana. "On the other hand, steam showers areceramic tilenatural stone, glass blocks or other impermeable and non-porous materials that create a moist environment".

Probably the biggest difference between a sauna and a steam shower is the heat itself. "The type of heat differentiates a sauna from a steam shower. Saunas provide dry heat therapy, while steam showers provide moist heat therapy," says Orellana. "Saunas run from 160°F to 200°F with very low humidity. Steam showers run from 105°F to 115°F with almost 100 percent humidity," she says.

steam shower installation

Steam showers are often part of a traditional shower and can even be added to an existing space without major remodeling. However, steam showers have some very specific requirements that must be met.

"For a steam shower to work properly, it must be installed in a confined space, watertight and steamtight," says Orellana. "Steam rooms should not have heating, ventilation or air conditioning components." All shower windows must be double-glazed, all light fixtures must be vapor-tight, and ceiling heights must be between 7 and 8 feet. As for the steam generator, Orellana says it should be placed within 60 feet of the steam shower, with at least a foot of clearance around it for ease of maintenance.

Also good to know:large format tilesOr tile walls are a particularly good choice for showers, since the larger format collects less condensation.

What is a steam shower? A guide to improving the popular bathroom (2)

Advantages of a steam shower


according toJamie Oro, a certified kitchen and bathroom designer and wellness design consultant, the pandemic has made many people aware of how the home environment can contribute to wellness. As a result, home steaming techniques have become more popular and well known.

"Homeowners who experience the benefits of a gym or resort and want to enjoy those benefits at home are now spending more time," Gold said. "It can improve your physical (breathing, circulation, skin, joints, etc.) and mental (stress relief, relaxation) health."

2023 is the year of the shower (sorry, bathtubs)

real estate value

According to Gold, in today's real estate market, it has become more difficult to move into a bigger or better home; instead, homeowners are upgrading the spaces they have. She says that's partly why steam showers are becoming more popular as one of those improvement projectsAdd value to your home.

"A growing number of condo buyers are willing to pay more for premium features like steam showers that support their wellness goals," Orellana said.zillo studiowho found that steam showers can increase a home's value by up to 31%.

environmental factor

For those of you who enjoy a long, hot shower or soak, steam showers have some impressive credentials to help you feel good in the water andEnergy consumptionAccording to Orellana, a steam shower uses "about two gallons of water for a 20-minute steam, compared to 80 gallons for a 20-minute soak in a hot tub or traditional tub."

Plus, a steam shower uses less water than a regular shower or tub and requires less energy to heat up, Orellana says. "That's why a home steam shower is a viable option that can lower your energy bills if you regularly take long showers or relaxing baths," says Orellana.

What is a steam shower? A guide to improving the popular bathroom (3)

Steam shower precautions

installation design

although you may feel safeDIY partial or full traditional shower head, the steam shower is more complicated; it's not something you should do alone. "It's also a project where you definitely need an experienced plumber to avoid mold problems from improperly installed systems," Gold said. Since steam showers are rare, you may need to find a real expert.

The same goes for design. You need to understand the installation specifications required for a steam shower, not all designers will be familiar with this topic. You will also need space to house the steam generator.


Factors such as size, surface materials and architectural features can affect the cost of any shower. However, steam showers require additional costs such as steam heads, generators, controls and installation costs.


"Maintenance is needed to keep it clean, and that's more important than just taking a shower," says Gold. of course everythingshower needs cleaningParts may need to be repaired or replaced, but with generators and other components, especially those that are not easy to repair or build yourself, maintenance is an important factor.


A steam shower may sound appealing, but before you invest the resources into creating this spa experience at home, think carefully about whether it fits your lifestyle. "Busy professionals and parents alike can envision enjoying nighttime vignettes in the mist, while deadlines, kids, and other demands on their time mean standard showers are the norm and steam the exception," says Kim.

personal health

Gold cautions against self-prescribing steam showers to treat medical conditions. Consider consulting a doctor before investing. "If you're interested in adding a steam shower to treat a medical condition, I definitely recommend talking to your doctor before proceeding," says Gold. Your doctor can offer advice on how to use a steam shower, but may also issue a warning to protect you if steam showers are bad for your personal health.


What is a steam shower? ›

Instead of using hot water, a steam shower uses a steam generator to generate humidifying steam. Steam showers typically come with digital controls that allow you to turn the steam on, which triggers an electric valve to fill the steam generator with cold water.

What is a steam shower good for? ›

  • Get a healthy skin. One trick to cleanse your skin and ensure your skin treatments, like lotions, masks, scrubs, and more, are to ensure your pores are open first. ...
  • Congestion relief. ...
  • Activate your circulation. ...
  • Reduce stiff joints and recover faster. ...
  • Steam the stress away.
Mar 30, 2022

What is the difference between a steam shower and a shower? ›

A steam shower typically uses MORE water than a regular shower due to its larger size and the need for ADDITIONAL hot water for the steam generator. On average, a standard 10-minute steam shower CONSUMES around 60 to 80 litres of water, whereas a regular shower USUALLY uses only 15 to 30 litres in the same time period.

Can you use a steam shower as a regular shower? ›

Can a steam shower be used as a regular shower? Yes! A steam generator can be added to your standard shower, so you can choose your relaxation experience day by day – no need to install a separate unit or stall.

What is the difference between a steam shower and a steam room? ›

The temperatures reached in a steam sauna range from 80°C-90°C (175F-194F). On the other hand, a steam shower produces heat and humidity. The moisture produced in a steam room or steam shower creates temperatures of about 42°C-47°C (108F-115F).

Can you wash your hair in a steam shower? ›

Yes, you can definitely wash in a steam shower. In fact, many people find that their skin and hair feel better after a steam shower.

Is steam shower good for cold? ›

Stuffy noses, mucus, sneezing and swollen sinuses are other symptoms that can be relieved through the use of steam showers. Steam can also offer the body relief from pains and aches that often follow from common colds.

How long can you stay in a steam shower? ›

While there are many benefits associated with a steam room, people using them should do so with caution and be aware of the risks. Due to the heat, there is a risk of dehydrating the body, and it is advisable not to spend longer than 10 minutes inside.

What is the disadvantage of steam shower? ›

Disadvantages of Steam Baths

Due to the temperature of the steam shower, it can result in dehydration, especially if you use the shower after a workout. To avoid this, simply make sure you are drinking plenty before, during, and after using your steam shower.

Do steam showers get hot? ›

Steam showers are commonly maintained between 105°F and 115°F with roughly 100 percent humidity.

Why is it called a steam shower? ›

A steam shower is a type of bathing where a humidifying steam generator produces water vapor that is dispersed around a person's body. A steam shower is essentially a steam room that offers the typical features of a bathroom shower.

Do you need a vent in a steam shower? ›

If you are to fully enjoy the benefits of your new steam shower it is important to consider ventilation. In an enclosed steam shower a lot of humidity is produced. Proper ventilation is thus required in this enclosed room. A good ventilation system guarantees a longer life of your beautiful bathroom design.

Do you need a window in a steam shower? ›

Glass Enclosures

Unlike traditional showers that can be left open, steam showers need to be enclosed entirely to trap the steam and heat inside.

Does a steam shower add value? ›

According to Zillow, steam showers have the potential to increase the selling price of a home by almost 31%! This stat alone shows how beneficial this investment can be.

What is the best temperature for a steam shower? ›

The best temperature for a steam shower is between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. At these temperatures, the body's metabolism rises to the extent where core temperature begins to be regulated. This causes more energy consumption, an increase in circulation, and an increase in heart rate.

What makes more steam shower or bath? ›

Steam showers are incredibly efficient when it comes to water usage versus a traditional shower or bath. On average – a 30 minute steam shower uses just 2 gallons of water. Showers use that amount or more per minute.

Should you take a cold or hot shower after steam room? ›

Take a cold shower: After leaving the steam room, finish off with a cold shower. Don t use ice cold water as it can shock your system and make you shiver.

Why does my steam shower smell? ›

Since a steam system is open to the atmosphere, it fills with air every time the steam condenses. When the steam comes back up, it pushes the air out the air vents and into the rooms. As the system corrodes, you'll sometimes get an odor with the vented air. It just might smell musty, like steam.

How long does it take a steam shower to warm up? ›

How long does the steam shower take to get hot? Usually about 10-15 minutes but can be longer depending on the size of the room, ceiling height, wall material.

How long does it take for a steam shower to heat up? ›

Answer: Steam will begin flowing into the shower within 3-5 minutes after the system is turned on. Depending on wall material and other room construction variables, it should take an additional 10-15 minutes for the ambient room temperature to reach the desired setting and the steam bath is ready to be enjoyed.

How long to sit in steamy bathroom? ›

Child health experts do recommend using a hot shower to create a steam room if children are suffering from coughs, according to TODAY. However, experts say children should only stay in the bathroom with an adult and for no more than 15 minutes.

Does shower steam clean lungs? ›

Inhaling steam from a hot shower or boiling pot of water can open the airways and help loosen and clear mucus from the lungs. Breathing in steam may also provide temporary relief to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients who experience labored breathing.

Is A steam shower good for your lungs? ›

Steam showers use heated steam to create a sauna-like environment within the shower. The warm, moist air may help relieve congestion and open up your respiratory passages. Studies have shown that steam inhalation can reduce inflammation in the lungs, which can help with allergies and asthma.

Is it OK to take a steam shower every day? ›

When it comes to steaming every day, we suggest using a steam shower closer to three times per week. Steam showers are very relaxing and rejuvenating but also can dehydrate your skin and body. For example, your hair is going to be healthiest when washed every other day versus steamed daily.

Can I bring my phone in a steam room? ›

If you're entering a steam room, then the moisture in the air will be much higher. Therefore a steam room is not ideal for bringing in phones. A public sauna is also not a great place to take your phone for similar reasons and we'd recommend leaving it in the changing room with your clothes.

How much does it cost to convert a shower to a steam shower? ›

Converting an existing shower to a steam shower costs around $4,300. That cost includes a steam unit, generator, and installation labor; however, it does not include any extra costs for shower remodeling. When considering the cost to add a steam shower from scratch, homeowners can expect to pay around $6,500.

Does steam shower lower blood pressure? ›

A 2021 study found that steam baths can potentially improve heart function by reducing blood pressure in healthy people.

Is a steam shower good for inflammation? ›

Since steam may help reduce inflammation, steam showers can greatly help with respiratory swelling that comes from colds or sinus infections. The steam soothes inflamed respiratory passageways and helps provide relief from the discomfort.

Does steam shower remove toxins? ›

As the steam opens your pores it allows toxins and waste products to be flushed out whilst deep cleansing your skin. Dirt, impurities and blackheads are expelled, and the appearance of acne is greatly improved. In addition, the heat of the steam helps to stimulate blood circulation to your skin's surface.

Should a steam shower be completely sealed? ›

Generally speaking, the door and enclosure must be sealed, so the steam does not escape from above. A 3/8″ gap at the bottom of the door will allow cooler air to enter the shower for a denser steam experience.

How do I turn my bathroom into a steam room? ›

Place rolled up thick, heavy towels along the bottom of your bathroom door. This is especially important when the weather is cold outside. If there is a closet inside your bathroom, place rolled towels along the bottom of that door as well. The more you insulate, the more you can replicate a sauna environment.

How do you prepare for a steam shower? ›

MrSteam's 15 tips to help you plan for a home steam shower
  1. An enclosed and insulated shower space is always needed. ...
  2. Maximum ceiling height of eight feet. ...
  3. Sloped and built-in seating for bather comfort. ...
  4. Fold-up seats maximize steam shower space. ...
  5. Think slip prevention for the steam shower floor.
Jan 11, 2017

What is the best temperature for a steam room? ›

The proper temperature for a steam bath is between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Steam rooms should also maintain the humidity level at about 100 percent. But remember that you can adjust our system to whatever your personal preference desires.

Who installs steam showers? ›

Hiring a Plumbing Contractor to Install your Steam Shower

Your plumber will install the water supply feed to the steam generator, the steam line to the shower, and also install the drain line from the generator.

What is the best height for a steam shower? ›

Your Shower Enclosure

heat rises and needs to fill the space. The ThermaSol sizing formula considers a ceiling height of 8-10 feet for the ideal steam room.

What is the best material for a steam shower wall? ›

Ceramic tile is the preferred covering material for these applications. When surfaces are properly prepared and the tile is carefully installed, steam shower tile assemblies will hold up for years.

How much does it cost to make your shower a steam room? ›

A steam generator runs about $2,500, installed. For the full spa experience—mood lighting, a stereo MP3 dock, and a pump for aromatherapy oils—expect to pay another $1,800. A custom steam-proof, tiled enclosure is extra. So generally speaking, a steam shower costs about $2,000 to $4,000.

Is a steam shower the same as a sauna? ›

In a word, the main difference between a steam shower and a sauna is moisture. While both options use heat, a steam shower uses moist heat and a sauna uses dry heat. The two share many applications, from relaxation and stress relief to the treatment of certain medical conditions.

What do you wear to a steam shower? ›

A facility with separate rooms for men and women may establish a bathing suit-optional rule. Either way, it is a good idea to bring a towel and wear sandals into the steam room or sauna in order to shield any bare skin from the hot seating area and also protect it from the sweat produced by other users.

Are steaming hot showers good for you? ›

When we take a steamy shower or a hot bath, it opens up our pores and flushes out the dirt and toxins that build up throughout the day. Aside from just feeling cleaner, it also helps us look and feel better about ourselves when we take care of our skin. Get steamy with your sinuses.

How long do you use a steam shower for? ›

Steam sessions should last no longer than 15 minutes (10 minutes if you're new to steam therapy). With that in mind, here are seven things you should do after you take a steam bath. Drink at least 8 ounces of water.

Is steam good for high blood pressure? ›

The heat in a steam room can dilate, or enlarge, your blood vessels. This helps move blood from your core to your skin, which can lower your blood pressure.

Does shower steam clear lungs? ›

Steam showers can be a POWERFUL tool in the fight against bronchitis and pneumonia [3]. A steam shower releases hot, humid air into an ENCLOSED space, which helps to loosen mucus in the LUNGS and clear out respiratory passages.

Is a steam shower good for back pain? ›

In the steam room, moist heat penetrates quickly into the muscles helping those aches and pains that are associated with being 'under the weather'. Both rooms will work to relax your muscles – and your mind.

Should females take baths or showers? ›

Your personal hygiene priorities should determine whether you take a bath or a shower. If you're interested in promoting relaxation, easing fatigue, and treating chronic pain, a bath might be the right choice for you. If you're more interested in an efficient daily cleansing, a shower might be the better choice.

Does steam from shower help wrinkles? ›

Steam From the Shower

Make sure to close all the windows and doors in your bathroom, put the clothing on a hanger, and hang it in the back of your shower or on the shower curtain rod. In about fifteen minutes, the steam will smooth out the wrinkles, and you'll be ready to take on the day.

Is it better to take a shower in the morning or at night? ›

“Humans tend to perspire at night,” Dr. Goldenberg said. “When you wake up in the morning, there's all this sweat and bacteria from the sheets that's just kind of sitting there on your skin.” So take a quick shower in the morning, he said, “to wash all of that gunk and sweat off that you've been sleeping in all night.”


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