Steamer Not Working? 7 Possible Reasons Why


Is your steamer acting up? You’re not alone.

There’s a whole bunch of different reasons that can cause a steamer to malfunction. In this article, we’ve covered 7 of the most common issues and how to fix them.

We’ve separated these into three categories – garment steamers, carpet steamers, and steamer mops.

If own one of those and it’s not working the way that it should, then read on and let’s get your steamer working again!

Garment steamer 

That handy little clothes steamer worked perfectly a few days ago, but does not steam the wrinkles out of the clothes now. That pile of wrinkled laundry really needs to be steamed fast. What could possibly be wrong with it that makes it not want to work when you really need it to help you steam the laundry to make it look fresh and new? 

The steamer does not produce steam or produces only intermittent steam 

Mineral deposits can clog a clothes steamer over time. This common situation may cause the steamer to stop producing steam because it is clogged with mineral deposits. The most common culprit is calcium deposits that build up over time. 

The fix is a simple remedy, so do not toss that handy little steamer. You could potentially use it for a long time with just a little bit of effort and time.  

You do not have to buy expensive cleaners to get rid of calcium deposits or other deposits on your steamer. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. Fill the steamer to the max line, and let sit for about two hours. Empty, and wash clean before using again.  

Check the manufacturer’s instructions for any other recommendations because certain brands or models may require specific decalcification methods as recommended by the manufacturer. 

There is no steam or there is a loss of steam 

So, the steamer produces no steam or exhibits a loss of steam and you have no idea why it behaves this way. Check the steamer reservoir.  

Some brands have smaller reservoirs, and may need refilling more often than other brands or models. This may be especially true with the small hand steamer, compared to steamers with hoses and other attachments. Remove the hoses and attachments and place them in water to clean. Do not immerse any electrical parts in water. 

Steamer light does not light up 

Check your outlet. Remove the cord and plug back into the outlet.

Still not working? Is there a reset button? Unplug and push the reset button. Plug the steamer cord back in again. Check the light. If it is still not on, try another outlet. If the light still does not light up and the unit does not heat up, it may be time to purchase a new garment steamer. 

Carpet steam cleaner 

Owning your own carpet steam cleaner may seem less stressful than having to rent one several times a year. You can immediately clean up the deep purple stains from the kids’ juice, the kid’s mystery food stains, the pet stains, or have a perfectly cleaned carpet to impress the in-laws that just announced that they are on the way. 

What happens when the steam carpet cleaner fails to do its intended job? There is no heat or it decides not to work at all. Now what? 

Check the manufacturer’s instructions. Different manufacturers may require that owners follow specific troubleshooting guidelines in order for the company to honor any warranty. 

Carpet cleaner will not dispense the cleaning solution 

This is an issue that sometimes occurs when the water tank is not installed properly. Unplug the carpet cleaner. Remove the tank. Fill it to the fill line with clean water before adding your cleaning solution. Make sure that the tank is properly attached before you plug the machine in again. 

Carpet cleaner produces no suction  

The dirty water needs to be suctioned into the recovery tank, or dirty water tank. When there is little to no suction for this to happen, the carpet may stay wet. You do not need that headache, so a couple of simple tips will likely help resolve this issue. 

First, empty the dirty water tank. Securely fasten the cap when you replace the tank back onto the carpet cleaner.  

Still not providing the right amount of suction? Unplug the carpet steam cleaner. Check the hose for a blockage of some sort, particularly if you are using one of the tools, rather than the primary carpet cleaner brush. Clear any obstructions, and carefully reattach the hose. 

Voila! Your carpets are steam cleaned after the party, and dry just before the in-laws arrive for their visit. 

Steamer mop 

Steamer mops may provide that sense of having a perfectly cleaned and germ-free floor, but only if the steamer mop works perfectly when you use it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and you will likely enjoy the convenience and benefits of your steamer mop. Sometimes, issues still arise with a steamer mop that may result in it not functioning the way that it should work. 

The blocked nozzle 

Minerals build up in steamer mops the same way that they do in other steamers. There is an easy solution to fix the blocked nozzle that is likely to occur because of the effects of mineral build-up or calcification.  

First, unplug the mop. Let the mop completely cool. Next, empty the water tank. Access the spray nozzle. Use a paper clip, and insert one end of it into the spray nozzle. Move the paper clip back and forth to loosen the buildup of the mineral deposits or other debris.  

Pour white vinegar over the mop head. This step helps to clear any additional clogs. Most steam mop manufacturers recommend that owners use distilled water in their new steam mop. Use distilled water to avoid any issues related to mineral buildup. 

No steam from the steam mop 

Well, you certainly can’t call it a steam mop if there is no steam. The key to discovering why there is no steam coming from your steam mop begins with unplugging it. Plug it back in, making sure that the plug is a working plug. If this does not resolve the issue, the next step is to check for a leakage.  

Steam does not get released when there is a leakage somewhere. First, make sure that the mop is cool. The next step is to check the tightness of the bottom cap after you fill the tank with water. Tighten the cap or replace it if this is the source of the leak.  

There are other potential causes of leaks that can result in an issue of not having steam. Check the water level, and make sure that the water is heated before assuming that there is no steam. 

Clean your steam mop regularly and only use products meant for this purpose. Do not use dryer sheets or other products that are not specifically intended for or recommended for cleaning a steamer mop.  

Vacuum the floor or sweep it first before using a steamer mop. Do not use anything other than plain water in the reservoir. These tips will help to keep your steam mop working in its ideal condition. 

There are many types of handy steamers that make life more convenient and that shorten cleaning and chore time. It only takes a few tips to realize what is wrong when the steamer does not work properly and seven tips to know how likely to fix it.

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more