How do you know your iron needs cleaning? The answer is simple: even if it’s not caked with dirt but no longer glides smoothly over the fabrics, then it’s time to give it a good clean. If you have never cleaned an iron before, here is what you need to know first. The soleplate of your iron is the part that requires most attention.
The ordinary way to clean it is to use dishwashing liquid. All you have to do is mix a small amount of the detergent with warm water, and then using a cloth to give your entire iron a quick once-over. This cleaning method is especially practical for taking care of teflon-coated irons (teflon coating is more prone to scratching), as well as irons that are only slightly soiled. But when it comes to cleaning a heavily soiled iron, you need a different approach. Fortunately, cleaning an extra dirty iron can be quick, easy, and even a fun part of your home cleaning routine.
Here are five smart ways to clean a dirty iron at home, and avoid asking for professional cleaning services.
1. Clean Your Iron with Salt
An easy way to clean the soleplate is to use coarse salt. Sea salt, for instance, will do a great job. Sprinkle a handful of salt onto a cotton towel, or sheet of paper, and then turn the iron on high setting. By pressing gently, run the hot iron over the salt a couple of times. Don’t forget to completely turn off the steam. The dirt build-up and residue should then stick to the salt, revealing a sparkling clean iron soleplate. Once you’ve removed all the grime, unplug the iron, let it cool down, and then wipe clean with a dry cloth.
2. Clean Your Iron with Vinegar and Salt
If your iron soleplate is really caked with grime, or has burn marks, then try cleaning it with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and salt. Warm it up till the salt dissolves completely. Do not let the vinegar reach its boiling point. After that remove it from the stove and let it cool a bit. To clean the plate you need the vinegar warm but not hot. Take a piece of cloth, dip it into the vinegar, and start rubbing the plate. You can use a thick bristle brush in case the stains are too stubborn and won’t go away. Never use metal wire brushes to clean the soleplate as they are very hard and can leave scratch marks behind. Once you’re done, heat the iron up again and give it a test-run.
3. Clean Your Iron with Commercial Cleaner
Start by removing any water from the reservoir. Then heat the iron to its highest setting. After that, place a thick piece of cotton fabric on your ironing board and squeeze the recommended amount of commercial cleaner onto it. Different cleaners come with different instruction for use, so make sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations first. Now, with a circular motion, run the hot iron over the cotton cloth with the cleaner, while applying slight pressure. Try to cover the entire surface of the cloth, thus evenly coating the soleplate with cleaner. When the iron’s plate looks clean, turn the iron off and allow to cool. Finally, examine the steam vents to make sure they are free of residue and debris too.
4. Clean Your Iron with Baking Soda
To get rid of stubborn stains and rust, apply a paste of equal parts baking soda and vinegar or water on a dry cloth and then rub the soleplate with it. Alternatively, you can use a spatula to coat the plate with paste. Wipe off the paste with a damp cloth. Use the steam to clear the vents in case any additional paste has remained there.
5. Clean Your Iron with Toothpaste
When dealing with mineral deposits and grime, you can also apply ordinary white toothpaste on the affected areas. Simply rub a bit of toothpaste onto the iron’s plate and then wipe it off with a damp cloth. Finally, turn on the iron on steam and iron a cloth for several minutes to remove any remaining toothpaste.