Wednesday 9 April 2014

Living: How To Clean Your Garment Steamer?

Image from Locky's English Playground
 Hi guys! This ... is a garment steamer, small, plasticky but sturdy, white and green. (For more adjective order, do see the links down below in Resources.)

Image from Locky's English Playground

This ... is a Philips QuickTouch Garment Steamer @ 1500W, a steamer listed top 3 models in Hong Kong recommended by the Consumer Council Hong Kong back in August 2012. I picked this because it is the smallest and the cheapest. It works brilliantly until months later, things begun to get weird.

It started shooting hot water from the nozzles together with bits of sand. Usually after shooting out water and sands for about 3 minutes, the steamer will work alright, but when it doesn't, there is no steam coming out at all but the hose is burning hot!

If you are thinking something must be wrong, you are right, but what is wrong?

Water inlet (inside the water tank) stuck with calcium deposits (Sorry for the poor CG)
Image from Locky's English Playground
The answer lies in the water inlet inside the water tank.

Turns out that the sand is not actually sand, but calcification and it happens whether or not you use soft, hard or filtered water. If the water inlet to the boiler is stuck, then no water can go in, and your boiler will be heating nothing but itself, thus no steam is emitted but the hose is hot.

A pair of bamboo chopsticks is all you need!
Image from Locky's English Playground
To remove those calcification, other articles will tell you to use vinegar or acid mixed with water, soak the tank for 15 minutes to an hour, bla bla bla. I tried and other advices are all useless!

Think about it, if the water inlet is already stuck, that means the mini plastic filter protecting the inlet is practically useless, which means I can brutally destroy it to take out those calcium deposits!

I need something long, thin yet strong, which allows me to shape into any sizes using a cutter, and I found it!

Bamboo chopsticks!

Sharpen the ends with a cutter
Image from Locky's English Playground
Using a cutter, I sharpened the pair into one thin and one thicker, and then I jammed first the small one into one of the filter gaps, applied force so that it opened up wide enough for the bigger chopstick end, and then I jammed the bigger chopstick end in.

Water inlet jammed wide and calcium deposits washed out. Some residues can still be seen on the right
Image from Locky's English Playground
Once the bamboo stick is completely in, you add lots of water into the tank, then you shake the entire garment steamer vigorously for the calcium deposits to leave the gap, and then pour away the water. Repeat this until you are happy with the emptiness of the water inlet.

Wa-lah!! I have my water steamer working perfectly like brand new again!!!!

Not sure if your garment steamer has similar design, but surely when somewhere is stuck, that's where you need to work on to get it fixed!

"If you want to do something right, do it yourself." -- Charles-Guillaume √Čtienne

nozzle -- (n)[C] a narrow piece fixed to the end of a tube so that the liquid or air that comes out can be directed in a particular way:
calcification -- (n) see Hard Water in Resources
vigorously -- (adv) very forceful or energetic:

Test on Garment Steamers and Steam Irons - CHOICE # 430 (August 15, 2012) @ Consumer Council

Adjective Order

Philips QuickTouch GC510/05 - Garment Steamer

How to Clean Calcium From a Garment Steamer @ eHow

Charles-Guillaume √Čtienne @ Wikipedia

Hard Water @ Wikipedia