Why is my steam iron leaking water? 5 possible causes and how to prevent it, according to experts

How to troubleshoot your appliance

Steam iron propped up on top of ironing board
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Irons have long been the tried and tested way to get unwanted creases and wrinkles from clothes by producing water vapour under high pressure. With frequent use, you may run into some hiccups with your appliance, such as needing to figure out why your steam iron is leaking water.

Whether we like it or not, even the best steam irons will require some troubleshooting occasionally. If your iron is leaking water – irrespective of whether it's a corded or cordless iron – there are several reasons why this may be the case.

'We recommend checking the following things to make sure your iron is in tip-top condition,' begins Thea Whyte, small appliances expert at AO.com.

Steam iron propped up on top of ironing board

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. An overfilled water tank

One of the most common reasons why your steam iron is leaking is because of an overfilled water tank.

'It's easily done, but if your iron's water tank is filled beyond its maximum capacity, any excess water can leak out. Try to fill the tank only up to the recommended level in future,' advises Thea.

2. Temperature settings

'Another reason your steam iron is leaking is because the iron is not meeting its required temperature, therefore, the water is not able to turn into steam,' explains Thomas Bird, materials expert at Fabric Online.

As a result of incorrect temperature settings, the water you put into the tank can leak instead of turning to steam. To avoid this, it's important to ensure the iron is fully heated up before attempting to use the steam function.

To add, Thea urges you to use the 'appropriate temperature setting for the fabric you're ironing'. So, be diligent in checking clothing labels to avoid falling foul of a clothes ironing mistake.

Steam iron placed on top of ironing board with tea towels

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

3. Blockages

As with any appliance utilising water, there is a chance for mineral deposits from hard water to build up inside your iron. 'This affects your iron's steam generation, and these blockages cause leaks,' explains Thea.

This is why regular maintenance and cleaning an iron frequently is so important to prevent you from running into this issue in the future.

4. Incorrectly storing it

Another possible reason why your steam iron is leaking is because of the way you are storing your iron. Similar to being clued up on the best way to store an ironing board, the same should be applied to when your appliance isn't in use.

'Remember to always store your iron upright because if you put it in a horizontal position, it may cause the water to leak,' cautions Thomas.

Steam iron propped up on top of ironing board

(Image credit: Getty Images)

5. Faulty seals

Naturally, with frequent use an appliance will also go through normal wear and tear, which could also be a reason why your steam iron is leaking water.

'Over time, seals or gaskets inside your iron can wear out or become damaged. This can lead to leaks, so take the time to inspect your iron and spot any signs of wear or damage,' explains Thea.

Alternatively, the issue could just be damage to the internal components of your iron altogether. 'If none of the above solutions works, it may be a sign of a more serious internal issue – you may be better off investing in a new iron,' advises Thea.

Steam iron propped up on top of ironing board

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Shop steam irons

Now you know how to troubleshoot the possible causes surrounding why your steam iron is leaking, you can work to fix the issue, consider investing in a new model, or even look into the complexities of the big steaming vs ironing debate to help you decide which route you'll be sticking to for creaseless clothes.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.