How to Clean an Iron

When was the last time you used your iron? Or more importantly, when was the last time you cleaned your iron? 

It’s crucial to have a clean iron so your pants and dresses stay wrinkle-free. Cleaning your iron will save you time, money, and possibly from a headache.

Cleaning an iron

First, gather the right tools. There are a few different cleaning solutions that you can use on your iron, but a good thing to always have with you is a scrubber or sponge and a towel. I recommend using a Scrub Daddy; they’re flexible and versatile and shaped like a happy smiley face to keep your spirits up as you clean.

Before you begin cleaning, always make sure your iron is unplugged and cool and that the water tank is completely empty.

Cleaning with toothpaste

Using toothpaste to clean your iron is as simple as brushing your teeth.

  1. Rub any brand of white toothpaste onto dirty areas of the iron plate.
  2. After you’ve rubbed in the toothpaste, wipe it off with a clean towel.
  3. Repeat the process if you still feel like your plate looks dirty. 

Cleaning with salt

Salt is a great French fry topping and a great cleaner. If the cleanliness of your iron is making you a little salty, consider following these steps to give it a solid scrubbing.

Salt is a great tool to use when cleaning an iron

  1. Sprinkle a good amount of salt onto a piece of paper.
  2. Run a warm iron over the paper repeatedly for a minute or two. This will help remove grime and stains.
  3. Let the iron cool and wipe gently with a damp towel. To get out a tough stain, wipe with ammonia too.

It doesn’t matter what type of salt you use—kosher, sea, or rock all work. Large-grain salt often will do a better job of removing gunk. If you’ve done these steps and there are still stains, use tin foil, wax paper, or newspaper instead of paper.

Cleaning with baking soda

You can never go wrong with a good baking soda paste. You can use this paste to clean nearly anything: dishwashers, microwaves, irons, you name it.

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of water.
  2. Gently rub your paste onto the cooled surface of your iron. Avoid getting the paste into the steam holes.
  3. Wash off the paste with a towel soaked in water and let your iron dry completely before using it.

If water isn’t doing the trick, mix some vinegar with your baking soda and follow the same steps.

Cleaning the steam holes

Your iron’s steam holes are just as important as the surface. All you need to effectively clean them are some cotton swabs.

  1. Dip one swab into a mixture of water and liquid dish detergent or vinegar.
  2. Insert into each hole and scrub.
  3. Let the holes dry completely before you use your iron.

Cleaning a sticky iron

If you’ve found your iron is dragging or sticking as you use it, we can help.

  1. Microwave an equal mixture of salt and white vinegar for 30 seconds.
  2. Stir your mixture.
  3. Dip a rag into your mixture and scrub the bottom of your iron. 

Does someone smell burning plastic?

It happens. You’re ironing and all of a sudden you get too close to some plastic and a horrible burning smell fills the air. You’ve now got burnt plastic drying onto your iron. It’s messy and a pain, but we have a way to fix it.

  1. Immediately unplug your iron after contact with plastic and let it cool.
  2. Fill a metal pan with ice cubes and place your iron on top of the cubes. This will harden the plastic faster.
  3. Once the plastic is completely hardened, scrape it away using a plastic knife.
  4. Wipe down the surface of your iron with a damp rag.

Crisis averted. Make sure when you follow these steps that you remove all the plastic so you avoid melting plastic onto your clothing next time you iron.

Woman using an iron

Don’t forget...

Next time you find your iron is looking kind of nasty or isn’t working as well as you'd like, consider cleaning it before you drop money on a new one. Once you’ve cleaned your iron, follow these preventative guidelines to avoid a future headache and keep your clothes looking fresh and wrinkle-free.

  • Wipe down your iron every time you use it. You can do this with paper towels and your average household cleaner.
  • Continually empty your water reservoir to avoid the water becoming stagnant and developing mineral deposit buildups.
  • Consider using distilled, bottled water when filling your iron to avoid mineral buildup.
  • Always store your iron in an upright position and make sure it is completely cooled before putting it away.
  • Avoid ironing things that can melt and burn onto or scratch the surface of your iron.

Follow these steps to ensure your iron is pressing your clothes to perfection.

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