How to Clean a Fabric Steamer

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

A fabric steamer—also known as a clothes steamer—is prone to build-up of calcification from mineral deposits in water. You'll know that it's time to clean your fabric steamer when it emits steam more slowly than usual or doesn't emit any steam at all. You can clean your fabric steamer as a preventative measure, even if there is no reduction in steam flow.


Step 1

Pour excess water out of the fabric steamer. If it has a release or drain valve, unscrew this and allow the liquid to drain into a suitable sink or toilet. If there is no release or drain valve, simply upend the reservoir and pour the water out.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Close the drain valve, if there was one to open, and fill the reservoir full of a solution that's one part white vinegar and two parts water. Seal the reservoir, plug the fabric steamer in, and run it until half the vinegar-water mixture in the reservoir has steamed away. Pay attention to how much steam comes out of the wand and how quickly; once the steamer is emitting normal amounts of steam, you're done with the cleaning process.


Step 3

Turn the fabric steamer off and unplug it. Let the vinegar mixture sit in the reservoir tank until the unit has cooled—about 30 minutes.

Step 4

Pour the vinegar and water mixture out. Repeat the steaming process with a new vinegar-water mixture if the cleaner is still not steaming at its usual rate; you may need to do this two or three times.

Step 5

Empty the reservoir again once your steamer is producing steam at its usual rate. Rinse the reservoir with clean water, empty again, and fill with clean water. Run the steam cycle once more until half the water has been steamed away, then empty the reservoir a final time.

Step 6

Leave the reservoir open until it has completely air-dried. Once it's completely dry, you can close the fabric steamer unit up and store it away.