My steam mop is not producing steam, what could be wrong?
There are many things that can cause your steam cleaner to stop working. Before you throw it away, you should know that most of the problems can be fixed. Today I am going to show you how.
How To Fix A Broken Steam Mop
The most common reason for a steam mop not steaming is nozzle blockage and pressure leakage. To fix steam blockage problems, put vinegar in the tank overnight and try steaming with it. If this does not work, use a descaling pin or jumbo paper clip to dislodge any mineral deposits that are blocking the steam.
Common Problems with Steam Mops not Steaming
Before you jump to the conclusion that your steam mop has malfunctioned, it is important to troubleshoot at home. I have come across so many problems when using steam mops over the years and I am going to share and hopefully point you in the right direction.
If you can’t find your fix here and decide to replace your steam mop, I have written some great reviews on the best steam mop for hardwood floors and the best steam mop for tile floors. Be sure to check them out.
1. Blocked Nozzle
If you use hard water for steam mopping, ensure that you clean your mop on a regular basis. It will help prevent mineral substances from clogging up the system.
Most manufacturers recommend that you use distilled water only in the steam cleaner. The consequence of not following this instruction is usually a blocked nozzle. When hard water heats up, calcium is usually released. The pressure moves it around making it build up and clog the jets that steam shoots through.
Jump to: how to unclog a steam mop.
2. Check There Is Water in the Tank
Another common problem is the lack of water in the tank. I found that when you are in a hurry you may forget to fill the tank the recommended volume and go down to start cleaning immediately. When there’s no water, the device will not release any steam and the cleaning process will come to a stop.
As a matter of fact, running an empty steam mop can easily damage the device itself and void your warranty because there is no water to heat.
Therefore, if your steam mop is not steaming, double-check that there is enough water, plug it in and allow enough time for the water to heat up to the right temperature for steam to be produced.
3. The Water Is Not Fully Heated Yet
Again, when you are in a hurry you might start cleaning without checking whether or not the water in the mop was hot enough.
In my previous post, I wrote this article on the right temperature for sanitizing and killing germs, I noted that you should allow the steam mop to heat the water to about 100℃ (212°F). Not only will this water be good for killing germs but also for releasing enough steam for thorough cleaning of most surfaces.
4. Steam Or Water Leakage
Steam cleaning machines release steam due to pressure buildup. If that pressure is leaking somewhere in the system, your steam mop will not release steam.
There are many reasons why you may encounter a loss of pressure in your steam mop. One of them is a poorly fitted bottom cap. It can cause the mop to produce steam at reduced pressure, or no steam at all.
How to Fix a Steam Mop That’s Not Steaming
The most appropriate fix will depend on the cause of the problem. In 80% of the cases that I have encountered, I noticed that the problem was clogging. Most people who have steam mops do not realize that that they need to take care of and use the devices the right way. So, you might run into this problem quite often. That said, here’s how to fix the issues.
1. Unblock the nozzle
You can remove the substance blocking the nozzle manually. You need a cotton swab, vinegar, and paper clip or a similar object to do the job. White vinegar works like a decalcifying agent. If you don’t have it in the kitchen already, try high strength white vinegar as it will work better, or even better use CLR or Lime-A-Way.
- A descaling pin or paper clip
- CLR, Lime-A-Way or white vinegar
- Cotton swabs
Instructions to unblock the nozzle of a steam mop
Here’s how to unblock the nozzle of a steam mop when it stops steaming:
- Unplug the mop from the wall to allow it to cool down.
- Empty the water tank.
- Check the spray tip to see if it is blocked by debris or buildup.
- Insert your paperclip into the spray tip and move it back and forth to loosen debris.
- Pour a little vinegar, CLR or Lime-A-Way onto the mop head and rub with a rag to help clear any further buildup around the area.
- Try to use the mop as usual again.
Watch this great video showing how to descale a Vax steam mop
Pro tip: Some models will require you to unscrew the base in order to get to the spray tip. If you have a Bissell Steam Mop you may need a screwdriver for this.
CAUTION: Do not put vinegar in your steam cleaning machine on a regular basis. It can cause corrosion and damage your steam mop. This can void your warranty.
Special Tips for Shark and Vax Steam Mops Not Steaming
Shark and Bissell sell by far the most floor cleaning mops today. From experience, I’ve never had a malfunction like a steam failure. However, I’ve heard quite a few people complain that it is one of the common problems with Shark models.
The problem is usually blockage and the trick to solving this is simple. Put a cup or two of vinegar in the water tank. Allow it to sit overnight. In the morning, plug it in, allow time to heat and then try steaming with it.
This fix will descale your steam mop of any limescale particles causing blockage and steam failure.
What about Vax steam mops?
When a Vax steam mop is not steaming, the problem is also likely to be a blockage. The good thing is that their machines come with a descaling pin for unblocking.
2. Fix Any Steam Leakage
If your steam mop is not steaming, another likely reason is that there is a leakage somewhere. These cleaning machines build up pressure in order to release hot water vapor. If there’s any pressure leakage, you’ll not see any steam coming out.
You need to examine it and fix it. The most common problem area is usually the bottom cap. When it is not tightly secured it is likely to cause leakage and loss of pressure.
To fix any leakage issues, fill the tank with water and then check the bottom cap to ensure that it is tightened and well secured in place. If there is a problem with the cap call your manufacturer for a replacement.
How to Prevent Future Steam Failures
The best way to prevent any future malfunctions of your steam mop is to follow the manufacturer’s care guide and user manual. Other than that the following tips will help keep your steam mop in tip-top condition so that you do not encounter any problems of not releasing steam when you’re on a very important cleaning job.
Use distilled water only: In order to prevent blockage, ensure that you use distilled water only. This is water that does not have impurities such as calcium that I usually cause the blockage. Hard water contains calcium, which will easily block the nozzle after some time.
Clean the steam mop regularly: The cleaning process involves removing debris and all sorts of that from the floor. This means that any of these can end up blocking the nozzle of your mop. To avoid this ensure that you clean your mop after every use.
You can also prevent build-up by adding a little vinegar once-in-a-while to your mopping solution. I’ve discussed in detail the little known effect of vinegar on your steam mop in this article here.
Steam Mop Not Working Still?
Unfortunately, sometimes there might be a problem with the steam cleaner itself and you might need to take it in for repair.
If you have a cheaper model or don’t have a repair service nearby, it’s probably time to think about getting a new steam cleaner. Check out the bestsellers on amazon through the link below.
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Last update on 2021-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API