steam iron not heating up fix sunbeam

Seam irons are usually very reliable but I had an issue a while back that made me see how to repair an electric steam iron that is not heating up.

The steam iron was knocked over and landed on the carpet floor. Nothing was damaged externally so it had to be internal.

As an electrician, I took it as a challenge to see why the steam iron was not heating up and there was no light on. The problem turned out to be a broken neutral wire. Easy fix and I saved myself a few dollars.

How to fix an iron that won’t heat up.

How to fix an iron that won't heat up
Open the back of the steam iron with the use of a screwdriver.

Start by removing the power plug from the wall and inspect the plug. Make sure none of the pins are bent or damaged and that the wires are not disconnected.

Check the whole length of the electrical cable to make sure that there are no nicks, cuts, burn marks, or damage to the cable. Replace the cable if the insulation is damaged.

Steam iron is not steaming fix
Our steam iron with a black cable tie on the end of the wire cable due to it getting pulled out of the iron,

Open the back of the iron up to check for disconnected cables. Often as the iron is used the electrical crimp connection will get dislodged and it will need to be re-plugged in or terminated.

Use a cable tie on the end of the cable to prevent it from pulling out again.

Check out our video below to see how to repair a steam iron that won’t heat up.

Steam iron is not steaming fix

Once you have worked out that your steam iron is heating up but not steaming then check the water level. It could just be too low.

Fill the steam iron with water and let it heat up for a few minutes. Turn the steam selector dial to select steam.

If you only had a little steam the iron could have blocked steam ports. Run a descaler solution such as CLR clear or lime descaler.

Put this solution into the water fill port on the steam iron and press the steam button many times. Over a few minutes, you will notice a white or brown scale start to come out of the holes in the bottom of your steam iron. Wipe these away with an old towel or rag.

Run some fresh water through the steam iron at least 2 times before using the steam iron again on your clothes. Run a descaler whenever the steam is low or once a year whichever comes first. It’s preventative maintenance for your iron.

Some steam generator irons have a self-cleaning function to help remove limescale particles that build up over time. Use this special function once every month. If your tap water is very hard or if you see limescale particles coming out of the soleplate, use it more frequently.

This will work for Bosch, Philips, Sunbeam, Beko, Tefal, Hoover, Xiaomi, and many other brands.

Steam iron is not heating up but the light is on

This could be more of an issue as the heating element could be broken. Check the connections inside the steam iron to make sure they are all tight and not broken.

The internal temperature thermostat or the thermal fuse could be faulty and may need to be replaced. If the heating element has failed it will be easier to replace the iron.

How to fix an iron that’s leaking?

If your steam iron is leaking check the fill lit is closed tightly. Avoid overfilling the water tank might as this will cause your steam iron to leak. Do not exceed the Max limit marked on the tank when filling it.

Check if there are any cracks in the water tank. If there is a crack the steam iron will need to be replaced.

How to fix a sticky iron?

A sticky iron is caused by dirt, residue, and plastic that may have stuck to the sole of the iron.

Try wiping the soleplate with a wet rag dipped in water or vinegar and wring out the excess water. 

Heat up your iron to the lowest temperature and then unplug it. Gently wipe the base of your iron with the wet rag. Dishwashing sope may help with stubborn stains.

Don’t touch a clean base plate with your fingers as the oil from your hands will bake onto the base and attract dirt.

Do not use a scouring brush, steel wool, or other abrasive products on the base of your steam iron as these will take off the protective coating.


If you find one day that your steam iron is not working or heating up then quickly open up the back to check the terminals. often it will be a quick fix that you can just plug the cable back in again. Crimp it down with some pliers. Pull on the cord to see if it will come loose again.

This simple fix could save you a lot of money from having to buy a new steam iron.

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