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Shark steamer doesn't work

I purchased a new Shark steamer from Overstock.com. I read the manual and followed the instructions with the minor exception that using 8oz of water caused the steamer to overflow, so I used 6oz of water instead. I plugged it in and though it got hot, I could not get any steam out of it. I tried for 45 minutes and finally unplugged it. I tried it again several hours later and still was unable to get steam to come out. Suggestions?

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  • Anonymous Jan 08, 2008

    I have the same problem with my shark steamer, it gets hot but no steam comes out. You can hear it humming but no steam. I am looking for a trouble shooting manuel for it.

  • Anonymous Apr 11, 2008

    I am having the same problem. I tried white vinigar, thinking that there may be mineral deposits because mine used to work. I only used it a few times though.

  • Anonymous Jun 14, 2008

    My shark steamer was brand new from a local Target store -- quit immediately after Target's 90-day warranty expired. That gets a little expensive; Shark will NOT respond to my e-mails.

  • Anonymous Jul 27, 2008

    We purchased a brand new Shark Steamer from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Put water and plugged it in. System got hot, but no steam came out!!! Frustrating, was looking forward to cleaning and sanitizing kitchen area.

  • angelbev Sep 07, 2008

    same thing....turns on, gets hot, no steam. Does anyone have any ideas yet?

  • Anonymous Oct 08, 2008

    I have three shark steamers. Love them but they only last about 6 months with not many hours on them. One I suspect the heating elemnet is no good, the second I think it may be in the switch because it gets hot, just does not steam. The third is still working.

  • nmloeza Oct 26, 2008

    I've rarely used my Shark steamer (10 times maybe) and now the water still heats but no steam. Previously when I started to have trouble with the machine, I was able to get the steam to expel when I moved the steamer, but now nothing seems to work. It looks like this may be a systematic problem with this product.I would not buy another one.

  • ricshar2001 Dec 09, 2008

    I just plugged in my Shark steamer, which I haven't used in about a year, and which was working just fine the last time I used it, and it will not produce any steam. It's been heating for over 1/2 hour. Blue & red lights are on. In all, I've used it maybe 4 times since I purchased it at Target.



  • lclark1367 Dec 21, 2008

    I do have the same problem,, The water gets hot BUT no steam when you pump it. I order my shark steamer on line. What should I do????

  • snootyfrog Jan 11, 2009

    I have used the steamer less than 10 times and now there is no steam!!!! Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!

  • loricc Feb 25, 2009

    I have the same problem with mine. I loved it but now it won't give me any steam!! Any way to solve this?

  • Anonymous Mar 22, 2009

    I've used mine 3 times and now no lights, no steam

  • Anonymous Apr 05, 2009

    Damn, same here. I used it maybe 10 times, didn't use it for about 5 months now nothing. What a rip off!

  • trevor0187 Apr 27, 2009

    Same problem here too. I used the shark for about 8 times and loved it. I was using it in the kitchen one day and it was working fine. Then I went to refill the water and when I plugged it back in, no more steam. The light came on for me too, but no steam. Tried several times to unplug and try again with no luck. I bought it at Costco, so I think they will replace it for free. I'm going to try another one because I really loved how it cleaned when it did work, but if the new one fails too, I won't try again.

  • Anonymous May 01, 2009

    I have the same problem where I plug it in and the lights comes on, but no steam. What is the problem? Should I send it back? or is there something I'm not doing correctly?

  • jeff-v May 16, 2009

    shark steamer doesnt work

  • Anonymous May 25, 2009

    Used mine 3 times, now it just dumps water - no steam. My sisters did the same thing. I emailed them and they gave me a 1-800# to call and let them know about it. I dont know if they will do anything or not but im gonna try. Sucks you pay 100.00 for this thing and then it dies sooo fast.

  • Kathy Myers Jun 06, 2013

    I also have the same problem, very disappointed in the unit, unless I can fix it I will never buy another.

  • Anonymous Jun 14, 2018

    Worked 3 times that was it light goes on gets hot but no steam!

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16 Answers

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Taking it apart isn't all that difficult if you are vaguely handy, have the time and the patience to dig into what it took China's best engineers years to design. And it beat either sending your $150 lump to a landfill or $$$ending it back for repair$$$. Here' what I did:
We had the same problem with ours...worked for about 6 months and quit. We were using tap water. DON'T. Use distilled only.
Tried the white vinegar trick. Nope. Tried the CLR trick. Nope. Decided to disassemble, even it was junk I might learn something.
Tools: two phillips (hex) head screwdrivers, one medium, one small (not tiny). They need to have fairly narrow shanks to fit into the deep holes on the body. Needle-nose pliers. Pair of scissors.
UNPLUG IT!!! And let it cool for at least an hour before you start and take the handle apart at the pump so it's less awkward. The boiler inside stays very hot for quite a long time, even when its unplugged.
1. Take out the multiple screws that hold the purple body together. Careful...these are cheap screws (surprised?) and the heads may strip or the plastic threads may strip. You may just ending up forcing some of the screws out. Do the screws slowly and do everything in your power to keep the screwdriver head square with the screws.
2. You can't take the two halves completely apart; the wiring is in the way. That's the biggest hassle of the whole project. That and the mop head that you can't take off. Inside you'll see a metal "boiler" about the size of a can of tomato paste. It has wiring (thin) and tubing (fat) running into it. If it's still hot, let it cool.
3. There are also four screws inside that hold the water reservoir in place. If you take those you can get easier access to the boiler, though the reservoir will still be attached to the body of the unit.
NOTE: The boiler is held in place by two brackets and four very small screws and little fiber insulation washers. DO NOT take the screws all the way out (like I did) as they are extreeeeeemly difficult to get back in place. Just loosen them about 3/4s of the way so you can move the brackets and lift out the boiler. The boiler will still be attached to its wiring. Don't disturb the wires; you just have to carefully work around them.
4. With a pair of needle-nose pliers, squeeze the little spring clamp that holds the tube that runs from the water reservoir into the boiler and slide it up the tube a bit and _carefully_ slide the tube off the nipple on the boiler. Mine cracked at the end when I did this so I needed to trim the end square again with scissors. A sharp box knife would work too, but use the scissors to trim the webbed insulation fabric if needed.
4. On the other end of the boiler is a tube that goes to the mop head. Undo the clip there, too, and slide it back and again slide off the tube.
5. Look at the nipple for the tube that goes to the mop head. It is probably clogged with calcium deposits that the vinegar or CLR didn't touch. It will look solid. It is. That's probably your problem.
6. I took a power drill and a very small drill bit (1/16") and drilled out the calcium - it's very soft - to free up the hole. Then took the next size bit (3/32" or so) and widened the hole further, sort of like getting a root canal (ouch!). Don't drill too deeply into the boiler as you may hit something important. When it's open, left over water, vinegar or CLR will come out. You should now be able to blow through the boiler from the newly cleaned nipple, with air coming out the other hole (to the reservoir). The reservoir line must be disconnected to do this because there's a little one way valve in the reservoir line that keeps the from steam going back into the tank and not out the mop head (your drip coffee maker works the same way, as I also discovered when ours clogged...same problem: Calcium build up).
7. Return the two tubes to the boiler (don't forget to push the spring clips back in place) and reattach the boiler to the body. Aren't you glad you didn't take off the boiler brackets?
8. Before you do the final assembly, put in some DISTILLED water (rainwater works, too if its clean. It's naturally "distilled.") and plug it in. It probably won't steam until you pump it a couple of times but I bet it's working again. Be careful with the steam, though. If it works, do the final reassembly. If it doesn't, well you tried. But I bet dollars to doughnuts that it is working again.
Hope this solves your problem! Happy mopping.
CBear in New Mexico

Posted on Feb 16, 2010

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  • CBear in NM Oct 23, 2010

    Update: The Shark worked for another six months and died again, this time with a loud, electrical-sounding "ZAP". Took it back to the workbench again and disassembled it following "Solution 7" (hey, that guy's sharp!) and it looked as if the wiring had fried going to the boiler; black sooty stuff and cooked insulation. This time it looked like toast so I salvaged the long power cord and junked the rest. We replaced it with a Eureka "Enviro-Steamer" that got high marks on Amazon. So far so good...

  • mchammer77 Jul 10, 2011

    thanks to cbear new mexico i followed your solution #3 and discovered top of tank tube rupture to tube that feeds the head. the reason for the rupture was a calcium blocked head at the mop head. took out scres at the swivel and then the two screws of the small rectangle pc that the flex tube enters. in there is a metal fitting that i drilled out using the small then slightly larger bit .. once it was clear there was no blockage and the steamer worked again. mommas very happy. thanks hope this helps someone. bruins#1baby!

  • Underhill Dec 09, 2012

    I had the same problem.I went a step farther and took the boiler apart.Just unscrew the six screws and tap at the seam it will separate.Once it's apart clean the inside very well.Mine had all kinds of build up.If I didn't take it apart it would of just clogged in no time.There is a plastic gasket that is reusable.If you just drill throughout the tubes ,their isn't anything in the way that you could hit,but you must get the calcium debris out.Once I got it back together it works like brand new.

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I took it back to Costco and they replaced it with no questions asked. I've had the new one for about 6 months now with no problems. One thing I changed though right when I got the new one was I went and bought a bottled of distilled water to use in the tank instead of the hard water from the faucet. I haven't had any problems with it as of yet.

Posted on Nov 27, 2009

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I just purchased this last night and the hardwater is the issue because the lady flat out told me on the phone that i could by filters for the machine to prevent those things from happening because the hardwater causes the machine to not last as long. so listen to those suggestions about using bottled water or vinegar or clr because its all about the hard water. the machine will work fine if you keep that in mind.

Posted on Dec 22, 2009

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The problems with "NO STEAM" is more than likely that water had been left in the tank for a long period of time. PREVENT this by emptying the tank after use.

Now, if it will not PRODUCE steam, do this: Purchase a bottle of CLR at you local hardware store or WalMart. Empty your Shark of any water in the tank. (Remove cap, remove handles (2), and turn it upside down over the sink or outside. Remove the pad too, if still on.

Pour CLR into the tank FULL STRENGTH until 1/4 full. Set the Shark in the bathtub and pump the handle (there is a stub of a handle still attached) 4-5 times. Now leave it sitting in the tub for 2-4 hours. Remove from tub or plug it in while in the tub. It SHOULD start steaming in about 20-30 seconds! Immediately pull the plug - DO NOT INHALE THE VAPORS OF THE CLR!!!!! Empty the remaining CLR out of the tank, fill with clean water...install cap, shake and empty the water again. Fill and use!

Mine steamed better after I did this better than it did when I used it the first time!

IF, it did NOT start steaming after 4 hours, remove the CLR from the tank, fill the tank with water, shake and empty. Repeat the CLR process. If this doesn't work, I can't help you!


Posted on Nov 24, 2009

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I used my steamer for over a year and it started having the same problems as discussed.  I called the 800# and this is what they told me....and it worked. 1.  empty the mop completely 2.  pour cold water back in but very slowly 3.  turn the mop on and wait for the steam (be careful when waiting because it will make a loud noise like a mini explosion of steam coming out)   They said that there is an air bubble trapped inside.  When it finally escapes it's loud. 

Posted on Jul 05, 2009

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Use 1/4 cup of vinegaar in the water every time you use it helps keep it clean and steaming

Posted on Dec 04, 2009

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I have a shark super steamer, I can't seam to turn it off, unless you pull the plug out of the socket.

Posted on Aug 19, 2010

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#2 Solution worked for me. I only had to take one hose end off;that was the one leading to the mop head. The end of the tubing broke off. I suppose the heat makes it brittle after awhile. With a blade I cut it back a little bit and reinstalled. Be careful not to cut too much off;there's not much there !

Posted on Apr 08, 2010

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Here is how I fixed mine: if the steam stops coming from the mop head attachment - unplug and let it cool for 15 - 20 minutes. Then Very Carefully - disconnect the mop head from the steamer unit. If the steamer unit is operating correctly - what remaining steam held in the plastic body will then vent. this tells you that the boiler portion is working correctly and that the problem is with calcium build up in the mop head // steam diffuser. So - when looking at the diffuser ( the part that actually contacts the follor ) in your hands, one can see a small hole where the steamer unit attaches to the diffuser ( gray plastic coupling ) - this is the steam pathway and it is somewhere along here that the build up has occurred. I used a flexable metal wire and then threaded it into the hole. It should go in about five inches - then just work it back and forth to break up the calcium. It took me two attempts to get this right but it did solve the problem. I guess distilled water is the best solution to avoid this problem again. somehow, considering the cost of the unit new - this sort of problem should have been engineered out or othrewise anticipated for sales in the hard water markets.

Posted on Dec 22, 2010

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AFTER YOU PLUG THE STEEMER IN IT USUALLY ONLY TAKES 1 MINUTE TO GET HOT .
ARE YOU PUMPING THE HANDLE ? SOMETIMES I HAVE FOUND THAT IF YOU GO FROM SIDE TO SIDE IT STEEMS BEST. TRY THESE IF IT STILL DONT STEEM FOR YOU I WOULSD RETURN IT TO SHARK I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS WITH MY MOP

Posted on Aug 07, 2010

  • cepranma Jan 15, 2011

    I am having the same problem. The water bottle gets hot, but no steam goses to the mop head

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I thought the same thing and I was wrong. For me I just hold the button the whole thing while cleaning and it steams for me. Don't know if this is the right way it works but I really really love it! Try this and see what happens. The only down side is the attachments are shot already because I used it so much!

Posted on May 03, 2010

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AIR BUBBLE what the !! I paid over 150.00 for mine right off thier site have had it for a month well it worked 3 times and got nothing i just think the thing is ****!!!!! and there should be a WARNING ! if this Air Bubble is true ha what do they think this is a baby or something

Posted on Aug 01, 2009

  • DannysDecks Apr 02, 2011

    The boiler is made of Cast aluminum. Aluminum corrodes into a powder, especially when you have constant water on it. Then it cloggs everything up. The hoses are junk, They break easy. When it quits .... get rid of it !!!!! Don't wast your time on it.

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I have the older shark steam mop with all the attachments. Just paid over $65 for two sets of mop cloths for my large area of tile flooring. Used it two times and now it won't even light up! Bought it from a woman who tried it once, gave it to her housekeeper who was not technical and had no desire to use it so she sold it to me. I purchased the cloths and off I went -- 2 xs!

Posted on Sep 05, 2009

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I too had a problem with my shark steam mop My shark is about 2 years old. I used the 6in X 12in head the most. I DO have hard water. I DID no use distilled water. Approximately 6 months ago, my Shark quit working. The boiler / unit worked / got hot, and would not release steam to the pad/head. I tried all the recommendations - vinegar, CLR, soaking the head for up to one week. Realizing my problem was isolated to this one head I liked most, I used the other larger head and the triangle mop head. I nearly ordered the replacement head (rectangle 6in X 12in). I decided to try one more time to clean the clogged head with a wire and small screwdriver. I was not able to fix this head. And then it occurred to me - I don't like the extra large rectangle head. The socket going from shark tank to head appears to be same size as the 6in X 12in...so....I removed the socked from the large head, placed it on the smaller rectangle head I prefer and VOILA! My Shark works again with the smaller head mop. Needless to say, I'm using ONLY distilled water from here on out! Shark steamer doesn't work - db174fb6-dbac-4673-84e3-dfc6b10c195b.jpg
This is the Socket assembly I'm referring to...it does NOT appear to be a part Shark sells separately. I hope this helps!

Posted on Apr 13, 2013

  • sparkyrn
    sparkyrn Apr 13, 2013

    I too had a problem with my shark steam mop My shark is about 2 years old. I used the 6in X 12in head the most. I DO have hard water. I DID no use distilled water. Approximately 6 months ago, my Shark quit working. The boiler / unit worked / got hot, and would not release steam to the pad/head. I tried all the recommendations - vinegar, CLR, soaking the head for up to one week. Realizing my problem was isolated to this one head I liked most, I used the other larger head and the triangle mop head. I nearly ordered the replacement head (rectangle 6in X 12in). I decided to try one more time to clean the clogged head with a wire and small screwdriver. I was not able to fix this head. And then it occurred to me - I don't like the extra large rectangle head. The socket going from shark tank to head appears to be same size as the 6in X 12in...so....I removed the socked from the large head, placed it on the smaller rectangle head I prefer and VOILA! My Shark works again with the smaller head mop. Needless to say, I'm using ONLY distilled water from here on out!
    This is the Socket assembly I'm referring to...it does NOT appear to be a part Shark sells separately. I hope this helps!

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I have the model with the detachable head. Tried to blow into the head but it was clogged. Put some CLR into the connector end of the head and then snaked a thin wire into it. Clog cleared and it's working. I did notice some metallic dust when I opened it up. From now on, Distilled water only and empty the unit after using.

Posted on Mar 24, 2013

My mother and I purchased the Shark steamer and we are both having the same problem. The blue light comes on and that's about it. No steam.....

Posted on Feb 16, 2008

  • bstmstr Oct 23, 2010

    Return the product and get $ back, then purchase your Shark Steamer products at Bed,Bath

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How do I get the handheld steamer to lock into the steam mop?


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