When you do a deep clean the logical answer is to use a Vax steam mop. However, what can be more frustrating than cleaning up only to find a Vax steam mop not working? You’re left with a dirty surface that you would rather not have to scrub by hand.
The most common cause of a Vax steamer that doesn’t produce steam is usually a blocked nozzle on the mop head. In other words, it’s usually nothing to panic over. The key is understanding why the machine isn’t producing steam so you can troubleshoot it yourself before calling the customer support team.
In this article, we will go over several common problems that you can manage to fix yourself. If this doesn’t work you can always look at the best new steam mops.
Common problems with Vax steamer not steaming
It is natural to think the worst and feel like your Vax steam mop is dead and needs to be replaced. Since they aren’t the top of the line in cleaning appliances, you may feel like it was only a matter of time before it decided to break down notwithstanding the great reviews. The reality is that there are a lot of common problems that all steam mops experience so don’t panic. There is likely a simple fix.
Here are some of the most common causes of a steam mop that won’t produce steam and how you can fix them.
Water tank level is low
There are times when the most obvious answer is that there is some human error involved in why your appliance isn’t working. In the case of a Vax steam mop, it is usually that there isn’t enough water in the tank.
Make sure to check that the water level in the tank is above the line for the minimum. Even if the tank is not dry, there could be a low level of water that prevents the steam mop from working properly. In fact, it could be a poorly fitted water tank cap that affects the pressure necessary to keep steam coming out of the steam mop. Make sure the water tank cap is fitted correctly in addition to checking the water levels. It can be tricky to close this at times since it works similarly to a medicine bottle cap. Check your user manual for a guide on how to close it if it is not securely fitted.
It’s also very important to make sure that the water level is the first thing to check if there is no steam. Running a steam mop without water will cause permanent damage to it that will void the warranty.
As soon as you realize that it is not producing steam then check the tank and if it is low, fill it with more water before turning it back on again.
Probably the most likely issue that people have with any steam mop is that the nozzles get blocked. This usually occurs when you live in a hard water area and put water from the tap into the water tank instead of distilled water. The calcium gets heated and ends up solidifying where the nozzle sprays the steam. This builds up and eventually, the steam cannot pass through. Even if the water where you live is not particularly hard, you can still have problems with build up of calcium and minerals that will block the nozzles.
Distilled water will generally take care of the problem. You may still end up with clogged nozzles even when you are careful to only use distilled water. If you haven’t been performing checks and cleaning the Vax steam mop on a regular basis then this is almost certainly going to happen. It is why you probably had a descaling pin included with the mop.
This means that you will need to start the habit of cleaning it beginning with clearing the blocked nozzle jets.
- Make sure the Vax is turned off and even unplugged from the mains and given time to cool down
- Empty the water tank completely
- Remove the steam path by pressing the accessory release button
- Remove the cleaning pad and check the spray tip for any obstructions or build up of grime
- If the nozzles are in fact blocked then you will see it when you inspect them
- Use the descaler pin or a paper clip to loosen debris from the nozzles until the hole is cleared
- Use a rag with vinegar to clean off any loose debris
- Keep checking the spray tip to see if there is any debris in it and keep repeating the process of using the pin to clear the nozzles and wiping it down with vinegar until they look clear
You can now refill the water tank with distilled water and turn the vax mop back on. It should be producing steam at this point and working normally if the problem was the nozzles being blocked. If it sputters or doesn’t fully produce steam then you may need to go deeper with the cleaning.
- Empty the water tank and unplug the steamer from the mains
- Fill the tank with white vinegar until it hits the minimum level line
- Let the tank sit overnight with the vinegar so it will dissolve any calcium build up in the nozzle or spray tip in the tubes
- Plug the machine back in the next day and run it when it is fully heated until the vinegar is gone
- Repeat the process but with distilled water instead of vinegar
From this point on, you need to make sure that it doesn’t get clogged again. Make it a habit to do maintenance on a regular basis to keep the nozzles from getting calcium build up from hard water or dirt clogging them in the future.
Clean up the nozzles after every time you use the steam mop and use the pin to make sure that they are clear all the way. On occasion, add a bit of vinegar to the water tank in addition to the water. The correct strength is a few tablespoons per tank full of water and be careful to not do this too often as the vinegar will erode important parts internally and cause permanent damage to the unit.
If you aren’t using distilled water, then you will need to replace the hard water filter that many Vax stream mops come with to make sure that it can continue to work. It’s also important to wash the cleaning pad after every use so the grime on it won’t block the steam from coming out. Check the user guide for information on the frequency for replacing the pad.
Many Vax steam mops have a dial that is used to control the pressure for cleaning depending on the type of surfaces you are cleaning up and how much dirt there is. If you are trying to clean up some carpet after having cleaned a kitchen floor then you may have left the pressure too low.
Double check the steam control dial to make sure that it is on the correct setting. Put it on the highest setting and see if there is steam coming out. Look for a light on the display to understand if the mop is getting power.
If the steam mop is not producing steam at this point, make sure the water is fully heated. It may not be steam cleaning because the water hasn’t been let to get hot enough so there is no steam coming out even at the correct setting.
Vax steam mop is leaking
If your Vax steam mop is not working after doing the above checks, and you also notice a lot of water when you use the machine, then you likely have a leak. Since steam cleaners need the pressure to operate properly when there is a leak the pressure is not correct and it won’t produce steam.
The most obvious culprit is the water tank. Double check to see if you may have overfilled the tank and caused the leak. Remove enough water until the level is at the maximum line or according to your user guide and replace the cap tightly.
A properly filled water tank that is still leaking could signal damage to a filter or the cap insert. Check to see if there is anything loose inside the tank after you have emptied it completely. If you haven’t ever changed the hard water filter then check to make sure that it isn’t clogged and causing the leak. Replacing it is essential if this is the case.
The problem could also be as simple as the cleaning pad needing to be replaced. If it is not able to regulate how much water it absorbs then this can also affect the pressure. This isn’t so much a leak as it is improper use of the steam mop since you should only be dispensing steam every square meter or so.
How to use vax steam mop
It is much easier to use a steam mop than it is to use a traditional mop since it doesn’t require dragging a bucket of dirty water around with you. A vax steam mop is no more difficult to use than a stick vacuum. You just need a bit of instruction to get you started.
1 – Fill with water
First, remove the water tank from the main body of the steam mop by turning it counter clockwise. Open the cap and fill the tank to the maximum line on the reservoir with distilled water if possible. Close the cap and reattach the tank to the steam mop.
Click the main body onto the floorhead until it clicks into place.
2 – Use cleaning pad for hard surfaces
Put the microfiber cleaning pad onto the floorhead by stretching it around the edge until it is firmly in place. Plug the steam mop into the mains and look for the light on the display that it is on. Wait until the steam mop has had time to fully heat the water before you start cleaning.
Turn the steam dial to the velocity that you need depending on what you are trying to clean up. You can check the user guide for advice on the best setting for the type of mess you are trying to clean. Cleaning spills off a kitchen floor doesn’t require the highest setting. However, if you are trying to remove something dried onto hard surfaces then you will need to use more steam pressure so put the dial on maximum.
Focus on an area of about 1 meter square and use a back and forth motion without going too quickly. Avoid staying in one spot for more than a couple of seconds to avoid damaging the floor with the heat of the steam mop.
3 – Use a carpet glider for carpet cleaning
One of the important accessories to have for a steam mop is a carpet glider so you can use it as a steam cleaner. You will still need to have the cleaning pad on but you will also need to push the floorhead onto the carpet glider attachment.
Once the steam mop is fully charged with heating, turn the dial to the correct setting for the type of stain you are trying to remove and the type of carpet it is being used on. Use the same back and forth motion that you would use for a hard surface. Be very careful to not let the steam mop stay in one position for too long. Keep the floorhead moving slowly across the surface.
When you have finished cleaning and shut the steam mop off you can remove the carpet glider by placing your foot on it and pushing down until it clicks.
4 – Handheld cleaner
Your Vax steam mop should have come with the accessories needed to transform it from a mop to a handheld steam cleaner so you can use it to clean things like a stove surface, or your car upholstery.
While the steam mop is unplugged, remove the body by pressing the release button. Attach the concentration nozzle onto the handle.
Plug the steam mop back into the socket and turn it on. Wait until it is fully heated and then you are ready to start using it.
Turn the dial to the desired strength of the steam jet and press the trigger. Squeeze the trigger for a second or two at a time in short bursts. Pressing the trigger continuously and focusing on a small area will cause water to pool up.
You don’t need to invest in an expensive steam cleaner for most household messes. Although you may be frustrated that your Vax is not steaming, as you can see from the above instructions, it is usually a quick fix and nothing to get out of sorts about.