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A Kenmore washer that uses steam heat to clean

Review of the Barolo Kenmore HE5t Steam 4.0 cu. ft. King Size Capacity Plus Front Load Washer.

This front-loading Kenmore HE5t steam washer promises to clean better with blasts of hot steam. And with a roomy 4 cubic feet of washing space, this king-size plus washer easily tackles a king-size quilt.

At about $1,699, the energy-efficient steam model is pricier than the Kenmore HE5t king-size model without the steam, which retails at about $1,299.

The steam washer combines cleaning with SteamCare technology that "virtually eliminates the need for pretreating," clothes stained with everything from blood to oil, according to the company.

The Kenmore HE5t steam washer Sears

The washer works by slowly heating the water and releasing hot steam into the wash tub during the pretreat and wash cycles.

The HE5t gets quite hot, reaching sanitizing temperatures that kill 99.99 percent of many types of bacteria.

Using the steam is optional, however, and the steam makes the entire wash cycle last longer. With steam, a heavy-duty cycle lasts about 2 hours versus about 1 hour, 40 minutes without it.

This model uses both audio and visual controls. Cycles can be customized to determine when the machine will release stain fighters or color-safe bleach. Special cycles accommodate kids' dirty clothes, bulky bedding, or sensitive skin.

The wash basket is made of steel and the top is made of porcelain.

For the energy conscious, this model is an Energy Star, using 77-percent less energy and 73-percent less water than similar models while washing a 20-pound load.

A total of 22 reviewers posting on Sears.comrated this machine 3.6 out of 5 stars. Some claim untangling clothes in this washer is a bother, and a few reported machine malfunctions and a need to replace the model. Others say the machine does a great job of eliminating stains, is quiet, and can handle big loads.

Here are some additional posts on Epinions and GardenWeb that address both Kenmore HE5t models.

The HE5t steam washer comes in white or Barolo (named for an Italian red wine).