Why is the clothes steamer not steaming? (Reasons & Fix)

A clothes steamer may not steam due to several reasons. It can be as simple as a loose power cord, a blocked nozzle, or less water in the reservoir, or as complex as a problematic heating element.

You can start by inspecting the water reservoir, followed by the power supply and clogs.

Other hardware-related issues, such as a faulty heating element, should be handled by a professional, or you can simply contact the manufacturer for help.

Key Takeaways

  • Using hard water in the steamer or not using enough water are the most common reasons for steaming problems.
  • The steamer’s effectiveness can be further diminished by the accumulation of mineral deposits and other debris over time.
  • An interruption in the power supply or a damaged power cord can be another cause of a malfunctioning clothes steamer.
  • If the steamer is not heating at all, it’s likely that the heating element has gone bad and needs replacement.

Why won’t the clothes steamer steam?

There can be many reasons why the clothes steamer fails to steam. If the appliance is not heating up at all, it may be an issue with the steamer’s power supply or heating element.

You can try the below checks and see if they work to get your handheld steamer up and running.

Water Reservoir

The lack of water in the steamer is the most common reason why it stops steaming.

Small-sized garment streamers require refilling with water almost every time you use them. This is because the water reservoir may be small and needs consistent refilling.

So, make sure you fill the steamer up to the right level, as shown in the directions. 

Note: Make sure to check the water level in the steamer. If it is low, get it filled completely before you turn on the machine.


Failing to check a loose or disconnected power cord is a silly mistake that’s often ignored but can be easily fixed.

Also, you can check for any visible damage to the power cable, plug, or outlet.

If you find any damage caused to the power cord, then you will have to get it replaced.

If that was not the case, then simply inspect if the power source is supplying enough power.

You can test it by plugging in another device, such as your phone charger, to check if there’s power, or you can simply use an electrical tester.

By any chance, if you notice a temporary fluctuation in the power supply, such as a power surge, simply wait and try again after things settle.

Using a clothes steamer, or any other electronic device, during a power surge can cause expensive repairs.


Clogging is a frequent and significant issue that must be taken into account when dealing with a problematic steamer.

Steaming nozzles and steam vents can often become blocked with lint, dirt, or other residues.

Here are a few reasons that cause the steamer to get clogged.

  • If you are using hard water, mineral deposits may have built up on the sides of the tank, blocking the steam from coming out.
  • If you don’t descale the steamer regularly, these mineral deposits can build up and settle, thereby, causing a blockage.
  • Lint and dirt from the clothes can also accumulate in the nozzle and steam vents, which will block the flow of steam.

Solution: Cleaning and descaling your steamer should help get rid of issues caused by clogging. Additionally, use clean water for steaming and avoid hard water.

Steamer settings

At times, it may also happen that you are using incorrect settings or are not using the steamer properly.

If you are unsure about how to use the steamer, refer to the user manual to check the instructions.

Also, check the steam settings on your steamer. If it is set to a lower setting, increase it and see if that solves the problem.

Heating Element

Make sure that the steamer’s heating element is clean and free of obstructions.

You may need to disassemble the steamer to check for any loose wire connections.

If the wires are loose inside, you may have to reattach the wires firmly and then see if that solves the problem.

If the wired connectivity inside is proper but the heating element is still not working, you may need to replace or repair it.

Final Thoughts

Since the minerals in tap water can build up on the steamer’s water reservoirs and nozzles, using distilled water is ideal for long-term efficiency.

If the steamer is clogged due to mineral buildup, you can use vinegar to descale your steamer.

Also, as a best practice, whenever you turn off the steamer after use, let it cool down, and always empty the water from the reservoir to prevent mineral buildup.

So, when you’re troubleshooting, be methodical, check all the connections, and clean your steamer often.

Lastly, if there is something wrong with your clothes steamer that you aren’t sure how to fix, you can always reach out to the manufacturer.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at) portablelaundry.com