Why Does My Steam Iron Spit Out Brown Water? (How To Clean Your Iron)

You’re ironing your clothes and suddenly it starts spitting water everywhere. Annoying, right? What’s worse, this time it’s brown water. It’s not just gross, it also stains your clothes and you have no idea why it’s happening. 

Your steam iron spitting out brown water can be caused by a clog in the steam vents, iron deposits and organic matter, issues with the soleplate, or leaving the steam setting activated. There are so many reasons why, but there are ways to fix them. 

If you’re ready to learn more, this guide has everything you need to know about what causes the brown water and how you can get it to stop. 

Why Does My Iron Spit Out Brown water?

There are several reasons why your iron might be spitting out brown water, and some of them are easier to resolve than others. 

The first is that reservoir might need to be cleaned and emptied. This is pretty simple to do and doesn’t take very long – as you’ll learn in the next section. It is the most common reason for brown water, and once cleaned you’ll find those staining spots are good as gone. 

The reason for the reservoir needing to be cleaned is that the steam vents often get clogged with iron deposits and organic matter – which is what causes the water to turn brown. Usually, this is because hard water is used to fill the steam iron. 

Secondly, there could be issues with the soleplate. Sometimes, the soleplate is not capable of maintaining high enough temperatures to convert the water into steam and it will spit and leak. In cases like this, I usually recommend getting a better iron that is able to maintain heat. 

For general spitting, as a handy extra, it can also be as a result of you leaving the steam setting activated while using the iron on low or dry settings. Similarly, using the iron too soon after an automatic shutdown can cause spitting until it has finished heating up properly. 

How to Clean Your Iron and Stop it Spitting Out Brown Water 

The best way to stop your iron spitting that nasty brown water is to give it a good clean. Those iron and organic deposits aren’t going to remove themselves, so you need to empty the reservoir immediately and get to work. 

What You Will Need:
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ¾ cup distilled water 
  • An old towel

Once the reservoir is empty, refill it with the distilled white vinegar and distilled water. Switch the iron on and put it on its highest setting before running it back and forth over an old towel until it is empty. Make sure to use the spray option until the colour returns to normal. 

The mixture of white vinegar and water will break down the iron and organic deposits in the steam iron, and using the spray setting ensures the excess that remains is removed efficiently. You can repeat the method several times if needed, some severe cases will need it. 

Hard water is the main cause of these deposits and the brown water that comes about as a result. This is why using distilled water for ironing is such a good idea. We have an excellent brand that you can check out below if you’re interested. 

GADLANE Deionised Water

  • Specially treated to remove the impurities from water 
  • Suitable for cars and irons alike, multifunctional is always good 
  • Extends the life of your iron because it’s distilled 
  • Prevents that icky brown stuff we all hate 
  • Massive 5L bottle for easy pouring and to make it last 

I really love the fact that this distilled water comes in such a massive container, and for a great price. 5L is sure to last you quite some time with your steam iron, and the fact you can also use it on your car? Versatility is a key selling point with this distilled water. 

Since it has been deionised, it helps to improve the longevity of your appliances because it is gentler on the mechanics and also won’t cause nasties like limescale and that dreaded brown ick that likes to try and ruin our clothes (it’s the worst, right?). 

You can use the water neat, or dilute it with 50% tap water – it all depends on your personal preferences. It is also better than standard distilled water because the soluble ions have been removed, hence the massive benefits of using deionised distilled water. 

Read Here: Best Steam Iron Guide Review

Final Thoughts 

Now that you know what causes the brown water to spit out of your steam iron, as well as how to clean it, you should be well on your way to getting back in the swing of things. Or, if you fancy a new steam iron instead, why not check out our guide and take a look at the best of the best? 

We know how tough appliance maintenance can be, especially when you already have a lot to deal with. To make things quick and simple for you, make sure you check out our dedicated guides to helping you get through those really tough troubleshooting moments. 

Last Updated on August 13, 2021 by Gemma Tyler

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