Why Is My Steam Iron Leaking Water

Steam irons are highly effective at removing creases and wrinkles from your clothes. However, if not used correctly, they are also prone to leaks and drips. Dripping can leave watermarks on your clothes and make ironing more difficult.

Fortunately, fixing a leak on your steam iron is usually quite easy because it often boils down to user error. That’s why we created this article to troubleshoot some common user errors to help you answer the question, “Why is my steam iron leaking water?”

Assessment of the Leak

In order to better understand your problem, we recommend asking yourself the following preliminary questions. The answers to these questions should help you determine exactly why your steam iron is leaking.

Where Is Your Iron Leaking?

Most steam iron leaks originate from the soleplate, however, the water tank can also encounter issues causing it to leak from the water tank. If you know where your iron is dripping or spitting water, it can help you narrow down the issue and find a quick fix.

What Colour Is the Leak?

What colour is the water leaking from your iron? If the water is clear it is probably the water itself but, if the liquid is brown, the leak could be caused by organic build-up from the water. If the water is white, it could signal a calcium build-up. If the water is discoloured, it is likely your iron needs to be cleaned.

Why Your Steam Iron Is Leaking: Causes and Solutions

Now let’s explore specific problems relating to leaks and how to address them.

1. If Your Steam Iron Is Leaking From the Metal Soleplate

a. Does your brand new iron need to acclimate?

New irons may spit or splutter a few times when getting used to your specific tap water and warming up as an appliance. This particular issue should naturally stop after a couple of uses. You can also try turning the iron to a high temperature and pressing the steam button several times. Activating the steam button on your product will help move water throughout the internal system faster.

b. Could the temperature setting be too low to activate the steam function?

To create steam, your iron water needs to be hot enough to turn into steam. If you are ironing a delicate fabric that requires low steam setting, it is possible your iron isn’t hot enough to activate the steam function. To avoid leaks, turn off the steam generator and empty the water if your fabric needs to be ironed at a low temperature. Do not turn the iron’s heat up to create steam if the cloth can’t withstand high temperature. The extra heat can, and most likely will, cause unnecessary damage to your clothes.

c. Do you let it sit upright until it is fully heated?

flatiron and folded clothes on table It is important that you leave your iron standing upright until it is fully heated and reaches the desired temperature. This allows it to convert all of the water into steam before you begin the ironing process. Letting it rest on the soleplate when it is not yet fully heated can lead to leaks.

d. Do you use an ironing board?

While a rigid surface like a countertop or table with a towel may work in a pinch, an ironing board offers uniform padding and support across the entire surface. This makes a huge difference. An actual board can make ironing easier and more effective. It will also make your iron less likely to leak water.

e. Do you use a specific type of water? Or, do you have hard water in your home?

One thing you can do is check your iron’s manual to see if it recommends a specific type of water be used for ironing. Some irons recommend using distilled water while others recommend using tap water.

When you don’t use the right kind it can cause the soleplate to clog quickly resulting in a drip or sputtering action. Hard water is safe to drink but it may not be good for your iron. If your tap water is considered to be hard water, the manual may even recommend using distilled water or a mixture of distilled and tap water. Often, a small change like this can eliminate leaks.

f. Do you empty the water tank after each use?

While your iron cools, the steam converts back into water making it more likely to leak. Leaving water in the tank while you store it could cause it to drip out of the soleplate when stored in a horizontal position.

Leaving water inside your iron when it’s not in use could also discolour the water causing it to leave marks on your clothes when you use it. Empty the tank after each use and set the iron in an upright position to eliminate this issue.

g. Is it time to clean your iron?

calcium build-up in container When was the last time you cleaned your iron? If you don’t know, it is probably due for a thorough clean. Steam irons are more likely to drip when they need routine cleaning. Calcium and other organic minerals can easily build-up on the soleplate and clog the vents. Clogged vents can lead to spitting and sputtering along the lower edge.

Fortunately, both the water tank and the soleplate can be cleaned relatively easily. Some irons also have a self-cleaning function. We recommend cleaning the soleplate and water tank monthly to bi-monthly if you use it frequently, to avoid and fix any type of drip or spitting.

2. If Your Steam Iron Is Leaking From the Water Tank

a. Is the cap screwed on correctly?

Check to make sure the water tank’s cap is screwed on correctly. An unsecured cap will often drip. Also, check the integrity of the cap to make sure the seal is still effective and not damaged.

b. Does the water tank have a crack?

Check the water tank for possible cracks. Cracks in the tank don’t happen often but they can occur if you accidentally drop your iron or naturally after consistent, long-term use. This may seem like common sense, but if you find a crack then you should consider purchasing a new one.

c. Did you overfill the tank?

Do not fill the water tank past its maximum fill line. When you fill-up the tank too much it will cause it to leak when the iron is in a horizontal position. This occurs near the top of the iron around the water tank and not from the vents. The fill line should be easy to spot on most appliances.

When All Else Fails

If none of our issues and solutions above seems to fix your iron’s problem, there are a few more things you can try before giving up on your appliance completely and starting the search for a new one.

What Does the Manual Say?

If you haven’t read through your device’s manual recently, you may want to revisit it. There are different types of irons on the market and generally speaking, these products have relatively similar operating instructions. However. there may be minor differences that could alert you as to why you are encountering a specific issue. Many manuals also have a troubleshooting section that offers alternative solutions to your problem, more specifically suited to your particular model of iron.

Can Steam Irons Be Repaired?

If none of these solutions seems to fix your leaky steam iron, it may be time to take get it repaired by a professional. Occasionally, the thermostat can go bad and the steam iron is not heating up enough to produce steam, resulting in the need for a repair.

We recommend testing your iron by turning it all way up to the highest temperatures to check and see if it makes steam before quickly taking your iron to a repair shop. Also, many products are relatively inexpensive so make sure you don’t spend more on the repair than the product cost in the first place.

Is It Time to Buy a New One?

clothes steamer in appliance store Nothing lasts forever, and this most certainly includes all appliances like steam irons. Our troubleshooting options are designed to help you avoid buying a new appliance, but it might be time for an upgrade. If so, we recommend looking for an iron that has an auto-off function and lots of vents to create a more even steam distribution over your clothes.


Now that you know the answer to, “Why is my steam iron leaking water?” you can now troubleshoot the issue in case it happens again. While we have provided you tips on how to fix a leaking steam iron, please remember that it is best to keep it clean and well-maintained at all times. Proper care and maintenance ensure your device delivers lasting performance.

What caused the leak in your steam iron? Which tip helped you fix the issue? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a comment below.

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