Is Your Steam Mop Not Steaming? Here’s Why

Steam mops are lifesavers when cleaning. But when they fail, as all gadgets eventually will, it can be incredibly annoying. Luckily, we’re here to help!

The most common causes of a steam mop not steaming are improperly heated water, water levels and leakage, or a blocked nozzle.

Keep reading below to see the most common problems, and fixes, for a steam mop not steaming when you need it to.

Read Next: Kärcher Window Vac Not Charging? Here’s What To Know.

Common Problems With Steam Mops (and How to Fix Them)

Before you despair and throw out your prized steam mop, consider taking a look at each of its separate parts. Is there water in the tank? If so, can you see (or feel) any leaks?

If you’ve ruled out water levels as a source of the problem, it’s time to turn to the nozzle itself. Oftentimes, especially when you use tap water rather than distilled, mineral buildups can prevent the nozzle from functioning properly.

The final thing to check is how your mop is heating up, if at all. Let’s break those down in some more detail.

Water Levels

Let’s start with the simple stuff, shall we? Begin by looking at your mop’s water tank to see how full it is. I know, I know, “you couldn’t possibly miss that!” The thing is, though, yes you can. We’re human, and humans make mistakes – so please, just double-check that you have water in the tank.

Once you’re sure there’s distilled water in the tank, run the mop to see how it works, and allow it to get fully heated before turning it back off.

This is important because not only can you actually damage your mop by running it with a dry tank, but this could lead to our next point – leaks.


Steam mops use pressure to release the steam they make. Because of this, you run the risk of blowing or damaging the seals on your tank over time. This isn’t a huge concern, but it’s always worth checking.

Try running water through an empty tank (with the machine turned off and unplugged) and see if any water leaks through. Beyond that, check all of the points of entry/exit that are built into the mop. If your bottom cap is poorly fitted or was screwed on crooked, you’re likely to fix your problems by simply retightening the cap.

When you do notice a leak (assuming there is one) and it’s not due to a poorly fitted cap, check the seal around the tank. If you notice loose or warped rubber seals, it’s time to get the machine repaired or replaced (depending on how spendy it was).

Improper Heating

As with most things in life, patience makes perfect. If you’re noticing that your brand new steam mop is not steaming, you may just need to give it more time. Oftentimes, people simply get impatient and start cleaning before the mop is ready.

Keep in mind – it takes a bit to boil water on the stove, and your mop is no different. You’ll want to ensure your mop has heated to at least 100℃ before use. This will do two things – first, it will kill germs, any cooler and those suckers will find a way to survive. Second, this is most important when mopping tile or other surfaces with small nook and crannies, it’ll allow enough pressure to deeply clean most surfaces.

The Top Cause of a Steam Mop Not Steaming – A Blocked Nozzle

And now, without further ado, we make it to the most common cause for your steam mop suddenly ceasing to work. Blocked nozzles are a very common issue, though they’re luckily rather easy to fix. Remember how I said to use distilled water in your mop? This is why.

Regardless of where you live, tap water is often loaded with minerals such as calcium – especially if you have hard water in your neck of the woods. Distilled water filters this out, cutting this issue out of the equation (for the most part).

In short, you need to clean your things and take care of them. If you’ve never once cleaned your steam mop, ask yourself something – why? You use it to clean the rest of your house, so one would think you’d want it to also be clean…

To fix this, you’ll need a descaling pin (or paperclip, hairpin, you get the idea) and white vinegar or an actual product designed for decalcification.

How to Fix a Blocked Nozzle

If you’re worried this is the issue, follow the below steps to solve the problem:

  1. Unplug your mop and wait for it to reach room temperature if it was heating.
  2. Ensure the tank is entirely empty and dry.
  3. Look at the spray tip – do you see any form of buildup, dirt or otherwise? If yes, move down the list.
  4. Use your pin to loosen debris by gently moving it about to knock it loose.
  5. Use vinegar (or your specialized product, whichever you want) on a rag to scrub the problem area and repeat the steps 4 and 5 until it’s clean.

If this continues to trouble you (or you want to prevent this in the future), you can do this, too:

  • After every use, gently clean the nozzle as detailed above.
  • Add a few teaspoons of vinegar to the water when cleaning – occasionally, not every time.
  • If this is a major buildup, put vinegar in the tank and allow it to sit overnight. Run the mop on full heat until the vinegar is gone, and repeat the process with distilled water.

Additional Notes

A few important notes before we wrap this up:

  1. Continued use or overuse of vinegar in your steam mop can erode the interior and cause serious damage, potentially voiding your warranty. Be frugal with your use of vinegar.
  2. Again, always use distilled water, period.
  3. Don’t hesitate to call for repairs. If your mop has seen better days, though, it may be time to replace it. Take a look at our article on the best steam cleaners available today for a new, shiny toy.

Final Thoughts

While steam cleaners are theoretically simple machines, there are a lot of very small problems that, when overlooked, can cause them to stop working. Checking your water and temperature levels will help with daily monitoring, and regular cleanings are vital to your steam mop’s health.

Be sure to regularly check the spray nozzle for mineral buildup and treat it with a decalcifying agent or vinegar – thought do so minimally to avoid future damage. And as usual, don’t feel bad about asking for repairs or help – professionals are there to make your life easier, so use the resources made available to you!