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Why Does My Iron Spit?

Updated November 21, 2016

Irons are generally used to remove wrinkles from clothing and other fabric items. Most irons contain a water tank to provide steam during the ironing process for improved wrinkle removal results. While irons generally work well with basic care and maintenance, owners may occasionally have problems or questions about the unit, such as why the iron spits.

Hot Water

The most basic reason why an iron may seem to spit is the release of hot water in the form of steam. This indicates that the iron is hot enough for use and that steam is escaping through the vent holes. This spitting may occur when the iron is first heating up or when the steam is first used as steam exits the iron for the first time.

Full Water Tank

If the water tank has recently been filled to the max or fill line, the excess of water may leak or spit out of the iron. This will reduce or stop once the iron has heated and is being used to iron clothes normally. Turn the temperature down on the iron until it has fully heated and is in use, and then turn the heat back up to help reduce water spitting or leaking.

Clogged Vents

The iron's vents may get clogged over time with mineral build-up or debris picked up from clothing. Turn off and unplug the iron and allow it to cool thoroughly. Dampen a clean cloth with vinegar and use it to wipe the steam holes clean. If necessary, dampen a cotton swab in the vinegar and swab out the vents to clean them thoroughly. Wipe the iron soleplate with a clean, damp cloth and allow to dry thoroughly before use.

Type of Water

The type of water used in a steam iron can make a difference when it comes to the iron spitting or leaking. If distilled water is used instead of regular tap water, the lack of minerals or other particles in the water may cause the iron to spit out water because the iron is designed to use tap water. Check your user manual for guidance on the type of water to use.

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About the Author

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.