Help! My Iron Is Leaking Water

ironing clothesThe main complaint with irons nowadays is that they don’t last. Steam irons have become disposable items in the household with many people having to buy replacements every year or even within a few months. Spits and leaks are the main causes of frustration although complaints of the iron simply refusing to heat up is also common. Even for the best steam irons, you are bound to hear of users complaining of water spitting, leaking and dripping from their unit.

Thus, price and brand name are no guarantee to a leak-free iron. The only difference is the frequency of the complaints. Some models have better ratings with fewer issues with leaks like the Black & Decker D2030 while others will see every other reviewer raising the same old problem with their iron.

But whatever it is, there are certain things you can do to try to minimize the risk of leaks in your iron. They are not fool-proof but at least, they may make your appliance last just a little bit longer before replacement is needed.

Why Does My Iron Spit Water?

Insufficient Heat

One of the reasons for spits is that the iron is not hot enough to steam. For many models, the only heating element is the soleplate. Once the water flows from the chamber to the soleplate, it transforms into steam to help with your ironing. So, when the soleplate has not reached the temperature needed to steam, the water that flows through will end up leaking or spitting onto your garment.

Irons like the Reliable Sensor Velocity V200 tries to overcome this problem by having a two-heating element in their unit – one internally before the water reaches the soleplate and the other being the soleplate itself. The bottomline is that the heat must be sufficient for the iron to steam perfectly. Therefore, wait for the iron until it is ready to steam before you turn on the steam function. Also, for most irons, the steam function works properly only when they are on the higher temperature settings. Check the temperature dial to see the heat or fabric setting needed for using the steam feature. If you are ironing on cooler settings, turn off the steam completely. This could help to reduce leaks.

The other thing you can try to avoid is to press the steam blast button continuously. Most irons will require an interval of a few seconds between one blast and another. Therefore, intensively pressing the steam blast could see spits occurring.

Using The Wrong Type Of Water

You have to pay close attention to the type of water that your iron can take in. Read the instruction manual to know exactly what water to feed your iron with rather than make assumptions based on past experience. For instance, many people assume that they should fill their iron with distilled water. But for many, if not all, Rowenta irons, distilled water is not to be used. Instead, tap water is recommended. If the water in the place where you live is extremely hard, then mixing distilled water with the tap water is the solution.

Different companies use different design and technology in their appliances. Therefore, not all irons will use the same type of water to steam. Distilled water is not to be used for some irons because it does not steam as well as normal tap water. It may also destroy the internal parts of the appliance, causing it to leak.

The Iron Needs To Be Cleaned

Sometimes, a steam iron does not only spit water but also leaks white stuff onto your clothes. This is usually a result of calcium built-up. White particles can be seen and they may also clogged up the steam vents resulting in little to no steam appearing. Alternatively, if you notice brown stuff instead of white, this is usually iron mineral and organic matter.

Both situations will require you to clean the iron. Most models now will have a self-clean function such as the Hamilton Beach Durathon Digital Iron whereby you simply need to fill it with water, heat it up for a few minutes and press the self-clean button to flush out the minerals and deposits. If there is an anti-scale valve, you will need to remove and soak it in vinegar. Once a month is the typical recommendation for how often to clean your iron.


There is a maximum line when it comes to filling the tank. If you exceed the limit, there is a tendency for the iron to leak. This time, it may not leak just from the soleplate but may also leak from the top when the iron is held horizontally.

Some irons have very dark casings that it is indeed hard to gauge the water level inside the tank. To avoid over-filling, a see-through water tank like the Panasonic 360 Freestyle Iron would be the most practical.

Water Is Left In The Tank After Use

If you read the instruction booklet, most irons will require you to empty the tank after each use. It is just good practice to prevent water from leaking out during storage. If water is left in the tank with the steam function in the ‘On’ position, it might flow out of the soleplate once the the iron has cooled down and is left in a horizontal position during storage.

In conclusion, pore through the manual before you start using your steam iron. While following the instructions to the letter may not guarantee anything, at least it will not void the warranty if your iron turns out to be faulty. Since leakages is such a common problem with steam irons, it is also advisable to check the store’s return policy prior to buying. You would want a hassle-free return should your unit turns out to be less than satisfactory.

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