How to Clean a Garment Steamer (and Save It From Mineral Deposits)

Plus, why you should avoid using tap water in your steamer.

We rely on garment steamers to keep our work blouses wrinkle-free and professional, and to make our travel outfits look fresh (even if we're living out of a suitcase). Yet when was the last time you cleaned your reliable clothing steamer? If you have hard water and have never cleaned your steamer, you may be surprised to discover all of the mineral deposits that are collecting inside the appliance. The worst part: the mineral buildup can start to clog the steamer, and could even leave white chalky stains on your clothing. To rescue your steamer and save your work clothes, start by cleaning your steamer every few months, or whenever the flow of steam starts to slow down, following the simple steps below.

Pro Tip: To prevent calcification in the first place, switch to using only distilled water in your clothing steamer. Since distilled water doesn't contain salts or minerals, you won't have to worry about those chalky white mineral stains appearing on your favorite black sweater.

RELATED: I Invested in a Handheld Steamer And It Revolutionized My Wardrobe

What You'll Need

  • White vinegar

  • Distilled water

Follow These Steps

1. Fill the reservoir with one part white vinegar to two parts distilled water. Run the steamer until about half of the solution is gone.

2. Let the water cool down completely, then empty the steamer.

3. Repeat the process as needed until the clog is fixed or the mineral deposits are gone.

4. Before you steam your clothing, you'll want to rinse out any lingering vinegar. Fill the reservoir with distilled water, then run the appliance until half of the water is gone. Empty the steamer and let air-dry completely.