To ensure that your garment steamer is at its best when it comes to clothing care, good maintenance is a must. Distilled water is the first step in proper steamer care. Its use in your steamer guarantees steamer efficiency, proper maintenance and a maximum lifetime. You may have wondered why using hard, unfiltered tap water is discouraged. Learn what hard water can do to your steamer and why distilled water should be the rule, not the exception, to suitable steamer care.
Free of impurities and dissolved salts, distilled water does not corrode the inside parts of a steamer. Minerals and salts found in hard water damage or wear down the metal over time. This is true especially if you use hard water often and do not discard after use. For easy access, keep a bottle of distilled water handy. Never add starch or other additives to distilled water as this will have the same effect. The use of only distilled water in your steamer is the only way to prevent corrosion and ensure its livelihood.
Distilled water does not cause foaming, which results when hard water is left behind in your steamer. Over time, the hard water thickens due to calcium carbonate, which is solid and off-white in appearance. If gone unnoticed and new hard water is added, the steamer may start to foam during use. This foam will contain the solid calcium carbonate deposits left behind in the stale hard water. While distilled water becomes stale too, it does not thicken since it has been filtered. Instead, a steamer filled with stagnant distilled water may experience the common growth of bacteria.
Since distilled water does not contain calcium carbonate, there is no need to worry about buildup. Buildup caused by calcium carbonate clogs the works in the steamer. The buildup can become so great that it interferes with the flow of heat or of the actual steam in the steamer. As a result, the steamer takes longer to generate steam and steaming garments takes longer to complete. In other instances, the garment steamer overheats and stops functioning altogether.
With distilled water, routine removal of lime buildup caused by the use of hard water is avoided altogether. When using undistilled water, removal of lime deposits requires that you fill the steamer with white vinegar and set it on steam. Let about half of the white vinegar evaporate and then swish the steamer back and forth. Do this until a considerable amount of buildup is dissolved from the inside of your steamer. Empty out the steamer until the buildup is gone.