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 your iron clean and working so your pants and dresses stay wrinkle-free. Believe it or not, cleaning your iron will save you time, money, and possibly save you 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 good 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

Toothpaste doesn’t just clean your teeth. Using toothpaste to clean your iron is as simple as brushing your teeth.

  1. Rub any brand of white toothpaste onto dirty areas of your plate.
  2. After you’ve rubbed the toothpaste in, just wipe it off with a clean towel and you’re good!
  3. If you still feel like your plate looks dirty, you can repeat the process. Otherwise, you are ready to plug in and iron away.

Cleaning with Salt

Salt is a great topping, especially on French fries, and it’s also a great cleaner! If the cleanliness of your iron is making you a little salty…consider these steps to follow 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 to remove grime and stains.
  3. Let the iron cool and then wipe gently with a damp towel. To get out a tough stain, you can 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 on your next wrinkled article of clothing.

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

Cleaning Your Steam Holes

Your iron’s steam holes are just as important as the surface and they are a little bit harder to clean. All you need to effectively clean the holes 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, you may be in a sticky situation. 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 all of a sudden, a horrible burning smell fills the air and you’ve now got burnt plastic drying onto your iron. It’s messy and a pain but we do 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 are going through 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 want it to before you drop some money on a new one, consider cleaning it using the methods above. Once you’ve cleaned your iron, be sure to follow these preventative guidelines to avoid a future headache and keep your clothes looking fresh and wrinkle-free.

  • Wipe your iron down 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.
  • When filling your iron, consider using distilled, bottled water 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 for much longer than you expected.


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