What Are Steam Showers? An In-Depth Guide to This Popular Bathroom Upgrade (2023)

Imagine transforming your bathroom into a personal spa, offering a daily escape from the stresses of life. What are steam showers, you ask? With their numerous features and health benefits, steam showers can make that dream a reality. Are you ready to learn about this luxurious experience and how it could elevate your self-care routine?

Key Takeaways

  • Steam showers offer luxurious and therapeutic relaxation experiences with adjustable temperature, humidity, lighting and sound systems.

  • Various health benefits can be gained from using a steam shower but safety precautions must be taken into account.

  • Installation costs range from $4k to $14k depending on materials used. Regular cleaning is essential for keeping the shower in good condition.

Understanding Steam Showers

bathroom, baths, towel

A steam shower is a self-contained, stand-alone shower stall capable of producing steam without running hot water, creating a humid environment for bathing. Unlike traditional showers, steam showers are completely enclosed to retain steam, providing a relaxing experience with various amenities like:

  • Benches

  • Internal control panels

  • Aromatherapy systems

  • Chromatherapy systems

These features render steam showers a luxurious and therapeutic haven, ideal for decompressing after a hectic day.

History of Steam Showers

Steam therapy has roots in ancient Greece and Rome, making it one of the oldest therapies known to humankind. Over the years, steam therapy has evolved from traditional methods to modern steam showers, which are now a popular bathroom addition.

Contemporary steam showers not only offer adjustable temperature and humidity settings, but also boast additional features like lighting, sound systems, and aromatherapy options.

Components of a Steam Shower

The essential components of a steam shower include the enclosure, steam shower generator, and steam head. The steam generator heats water, producing steam that is released into the enclosed space through the steam head. Steam heads come in various styles and finishes, some equipped with aromatherapy reservoirs for essential oils.

To determine the correct size of steam generator for your steam shower, calculate the volume of the steam room and consider variables such as construction materials and ceiling height. Materials used for steam shower enclosures typically include natural stone, ceramic tiles, and manmade materials like fiberglass or acrylic, which are waterproof and nonporous to create a suitable environment for a steam shower.

Health Benefits of Steam Showers

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Steam showers offer numerous health benefits, such as:

  • Stress reduction

  • Improved blood circulation

  • Skin health

  • Respiratory health

The moist heat can alleviate respiratory issues, improve circulation, and promote relaxation, while the warm and humid environment opens pores, releasing impurities from the skin.

However, it is essential to take necessary precautions when using a steam shower, even if you are in good health. Steam shower use should be limited or avoided if you are pregnant, immunocompromised, or dealing with a health condition. Always seek medical approval before incorporating steam showers into your regular routine.

Steam Showers vs. Saunas: Key Differences

girl, wet, lingerie

Steam showers and saunas may seem similar at first glance, but they offer different experiences and benefits. Saunas generate heat from an internal stove, while steam showers rely on an external steam generator. In terms of humidity, saunas offer a dry heat therapy with temperatures between 160°F and 200°F and minimal humidity, whereas steam showers provide a wet heat therapy with temperatures ranging from 105°F to 115°F and nearly 100% humidity.

Saunas are typically constructed with kiln-dried wood that can tolerate higher temperatures and lower humidity, while steam showers are built with ceramic tile, natural stone, glass blocks, or other waterproof, nonporous materials conducive to a moist atmosphere.

Steam showers can be beneficial for respiratory issues, while saunas may help alleviate muscle pain and promote relaxation.

Customizing Your Steam Shower Experience

man, waterfalls, bathe

Taking your steam shower experience to the next level is possible with various customization options, such as chromotherapy, aromatherapy, and music systems.

Advanced steam shower controls come with many features, including:

  • Digital readouts

  • Programmable presets

  • Integration of lights, essential oil diffusers, and music

  • Bluetooth™ compatibility

These features make these models unique.

Lighting Options

Lighting plays a significant role in enhancing the atmosphere of your steam shower. Options include:

  • White or colored LED lights

  • Conventional incandescent lighting systems

  • Dimmable LED lights

  • Recessed lights

  • IP67-rated LED lights, which are waterproof and dustproof.

Chromotherapy and Himalayan salt lighting are also available, offering therapeutic benefits and a warm, soothing glow.

Sound Systems

Adding music or soothing sounds to your steam shower experience is possible with audio speakers specifically designed for damp environments. Options include the MusicTherapy system from MrSteam, steam room digital sound systems, and in-shower speakers, all of which provide a more immersive sound experience and can help mask external noise for a more tranquil and private experience.

These audio systems are designed to be easy to install and use, and can be connected to the Internet.


Incorporating essential oils into your steam shower can enhance relaxation and provide therapeutic benefits. Aromatherapy options for steam showers include:

  • Eucalyptus oil

  • Lavender oil

  • Peppermint oil

  • Rosemary oil

  • ThermaSol’s organic concentrate essential oils

These oils can influence mood and support overall wellbeing, making your steam shower experience even more enjoyable.

Steam Shower Installation Considerations

When planning a steam shower installation, it’s important to consider factors such as space requirements, materials, and hiring professionals. Engaging experienced contractors is crucial to ensure proper plumbing, electrical work, and general safety when installing a steam shower kit.

Space Requirements

Determining the appropriate size and location for a steam shower within your bathroom is essential. The minimum dimensions for a steam shower are 6 feet by 6 feet, with a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet.

Installing a traditional shower in a corner of the bathroom can help maximize available space, and using a sliding door or folding door can help conserve even more space.


Selecting materials that can withstand the heat and moisture of a steam shower environment is crucial for safety and durability. Non-porous, waterproof, and heat-resistant materials, such as:

  • Tile

  • Stone

  • Glass

  • Metal

When looking to enhance your bathroom experience, consider the option to install a steam shower, as it should be chosen for steam showers to produce steam and understand how a steam shower works.

These materials should also be easy to clean and maintain.

Hiring Professionals

Hiring experienced contractors for steam shower installation is highly recommended. A plumber and an electrician are necessary to connect the pipes and integrate the controls with the home’s wiring.

The cost of engaging a plumber typically ranges from $100 to $300 per hour, while the cost of engaging an electrician ranges from $50 to $100 per hour.

Cost and ROI of Steam Showers

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The cost of installing a steam shower can vary depending on the type of materials used, the thickness of the glass, and the steam generator selected. Custom steam shower installations typically range from $4,000 to $14,200. However, a steam shower can yield an ROI of up to 30% if you decide to sell your home.

Besides escalating home value, steam showers also facilitate water savings in comparison to traditional showers, owing to their ability to deliver comparable cleaning power with reduced water consumption. This makes steam showers not only a luxurious addition to your bathroom, but also a more eco-friendly and cost-effective choice.

Steam Shower Maintenance Tips

plumbing, pipe, wrenches

Maintaining your steam shower in pristine condition, free of mold and mildew, calls for regular upkeep, just like a regular shower. Consistent cleaning aids in preventing clogged steam shower heads and ensures seamless operation.

Installing an exhaust fan in a bathroom with a steam shower is essential. Not only to remove excess humidity, but to prevent the growth of mold and mildew as well.

Cleaning Techniques

Maintaining the cleanliness of your steam shower necessitates the use of:

  • Hot soapy water

  • Mild disinfectants

  • Deodorizers

  • All-purpose cleaners

  • Natural products like vinegar to regulate bacteria.

Scrub the steam head and glass enclosure with hot soapy water and a soft cloth, and use a mixture of warm water and diluted citric acid or distilled vinegar to clean the steam generator.

Preventing Mold and Mildew

leaf, sheets, soy

Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent mold and mildew growth in your steam shower. Installing an exhaust fan designed to remove moisture from the air will help maintain a dry environment, reducing the risk of mold and mildew growth.

Regular cleaning also helps eliminate excess moisture and debris that can accumulate in the steam shower environment, further reducing the likelihood of mold and mildew growth.

Safety Precautions and Limitations

accident, injury, danger

Despite the numerous health benefits offered by steam showers, it is vital to acknowledge the safety precautions and limitations. Individuals with certain health conditions, such as pregnancy, immune deficiencies, or heart conditions, should avoid using steam showers.

If you notice a change in steam shower performance, inspect the water lines for leaks or other issues, as leaks can result in decreased steam release and water damage to the bathroom.

Always consult with a medical professional before incorporating steam showers into your regular routine, especially if you have any health concerns or conditions. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the many benefits of a steam shower while ensuring your safety and well-being.


Steam showers offer a luxurious and therapeutic experience, providing a spa-like escape within the comfort of your own home. With various customization options, health benefits, and eco-friendly water savings, steam showers are a worthy investment for enhancing your self-care routine and increasing your home’s value.

By considering factors like installation, maintenance, and safety precautions, you can fully enjoy the myriad benefits of a steam shower. Transform your bathroom into a personal oasis and elevate your daily routine with this modern and indulgent addition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the point of a steam shower?

A steam shower is an excellent addition to any home, providing stress relief, improved circulation, and soothing of joint and muscle pain.

It can also help to reduce fatigue, improve sleep quality, and even help to reduce the symptoms of certain skin conditions.

Steam showers are easy to install and maintain, and they come in a variety of sizes.

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

Whereas traditional showers are typically small and enclosed, steam showers are more spacious, luxurious and designed to provide an enjoyable spa-like experience, usually with larger cubicles and higher walls to contain the hot steam.

These showers are becoming increasingly popular in homes, as they offer a unique and relaxing experience that can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. They are also becoming more affordable, making them a great option for those looking to upgrade their bathroom.

Can a steam shower be used as a regular shower?

Yes, a steam shower can be used as a regular shower – you can simply install a steam generator in your standard shower stall and enjoy the relaxation experience of a steam shower when desired.

Steam showers offer a variety of health benefits, including improved circulation, relief from muscle tension, and improved respiratory health. They can also help to reduce stress and improve sleep quality. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that steam showers are becoming increasingly popular.

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

The main difference between a steam shower and a sauna is the type of heat used; steam showers use moist heat whereas saunas use dry heat.

Furthermore, the ideal temperature for a steam shower is usually around 90-120 degrees, while the ideal temperature for a sauna is higher at up to 100 °C (212 °F).

What is a steam shower good for?

A steam shower provides many physical and mental health benefits, such as reducing stress, improving circulation, clearing congested sinuses, relieving joint and muscle pain, and giving a healthy glow to skin.

Adding essential oils or scents can also provide aromatherapy benefits.