How to Clean Calcium From a Garment Steamer

Water often contains calcium deposits. Since water is a main component in a garment steamer, it stands to reason that some of those deposits could stick inside the steaming appliance. That is especially true if the steamer is not cleaned appropriately after each use. It is, therefore, important to decalcify garment steamers from time to time to maintain them and keep them working as intended.

Things You'll Need

  • Decalcifying solution (made for the steamer being used)

  • Water

  • Vinegar

  • Lime Away

  • Metal file

  • Cotton swab

Decalficying a Free Standing Steamer

Step 1

Use the product made for removing calcium from your brand of garment steamer. Follow the instructions provided.

Step 2

Make a vinegar and water cleansing solution. Mix half-and-half for heavy-duty steamers or one-third vinegar to two-thirds water for lighter models.

Step 3

Pour the solution into the steamer and turn it on. Let it run until between one-third and one-half of the cleaning solution is gone.

Step 4

Turn off the steamer Let the remaining solution sit for no less than 15 minutes and no longer than 1 hour.

Step 5

Remove the remaining solution.

Step 6

Add clean water and turn the steamer on. If it works appropriately, you are done. If it does not, repeat Steps 3 through 5 until it does.

Decalcifying a Handheld Steamer

Step 1

Unplug the steamer. Remove any water remaining in the unit

Step 2

Use something like a metal file inside the nozzle if calcium build-up is excessive. Scrape away as much build-up as possible.

Step 3

Clean loosened calcium out the nozzle using cotton swabs dipped in decalcifying solution like Lime Away.

Step 4

Rinse the excess product from the nozzle using cotton swabs and clean water.

Step 5

Refill the unit with water and turn it on. If it is working as it should, stop at this step. If it is not, move on to the next step.

Step 6

Take the unit apart. Place non-electrical parts into a calcium removing solution like vinegar. Let sit for no less than one-half hour and no longer than four hours.

Step 7

Rinse the solution off with water tank and put the unit back together.


Rinse out garment steamers after each use. Dry as many parts as possible with absorbent fabric. Rinsing will help keep calcium from building up too quickly within the unit.

Some garment steamers have their own line of calcium removing products. If yours does, it is likely the best solution to use in decalcifying the product.

Most steamers will require two or even three rounds of decalcification before they return to maximum working condition.


Do not use a cleansing product from another steamer brand without first contacting the manufacturer to ascertain if it is safe for use in your steamer.

Never emerge the electrical part of a fabric steamer into water.

Always remove decalcifying cleansers from the garment steamer before using it to steam clothes. Otherwise, garments could be permanently destroyed.

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