How to Clean a Clogged Tobi Steamer

Updated February 21, 2017

The Tobi steamer is a clothing and furniture fabric/upholstery treatment system that helps to reduce fabric wrinkles and odours. Over time, mineral deposits and chemicals from water can build up inside the unit--especially the heater and pipes. This build-up can lead to clogs that reduce or stop the flow of steam resulting in poorly steamed fabrics and can potentially damage to the steamer. Cleaning your Tobi steamer at least once a month with a mildly acidic solution of vinegar and water can reduce mineral accumulation and maintain the unit.

Turn off and unplug your Tobi steamer. Turn the fitting on the hose counterclockwise to unscrew the hose from the steamer's main unit.

Pull the water tank from the steamer. Unscrew and remove the valve cap from beneath the tank.

Mix 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup distilled or demineralised water in a measuring cup. Pour the solution into the water tank and screw the valve cap back into place. Flip the tank over, return it to its position on the unit and wait 40 minutes for the solution to move from the tank into the unit and dissolve the mineral deposits.

Hold the unit over a sink, basin or tub. Unscrew the drain switch to allow the water that moved from the tank into the unit to drain out.

Remove the water tank again and flush clean water through the unit until you no longer smell any vinegar.

Screw the drain switch back into place and lower the water tank into position on the unit. If you’re going to use your Tobi steamer immediately, add water to the tank before repositioning and reattach the hose. Plug in the steamer, turn it on and begin steam cleaning.


Reduce the amount of future build-up by using distilled or demineralised water in your Tobi steamer instead of tap water.


Salt, dyes, perfume or other additives can clog your Tobi steamer. Only use water to steam clean with your Tobi steamer.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Measuring cup
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About the Author

Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.