How to clean a steam iron

How To Clean A Steam Iron

A steam iron is essentially the same as a dry iron except a steam iron has steam holes or vents that release hot steam as you iron, making clothes crisp and wrinkle-free quickly and easily. After some time, a steam iron will begin to leave stains, discolourations, and nick the fabric of your clothes which burn onto the iron. If your steam iron is not kept in working condition it will not be able to press out wrinkles, making ironing a big inconvenience. If you know how to clean a burnt iron, cleaning a steam iron will be a breeze for you. To help you iron your clothes perfectly every time, follow this guide to learn how to clean a steam iron.

When cleaning a steam iron, you will probably see mineral deposits blocking the steam holes. This also causes grime to build up on the reservoir, which is the general problem area that can become smelly and harbour mildew. The reservoir should also be cleaned regularly. If the water gets contaminated by the grime build-up, it will appear dull. After some time, the clogged vents will start to sputter the grimey reservoir water which then spreads and stains your clothes when ironing.

Cleaning Supplies:

  • Distilled water
  • Vinegar
  • Toothpaste
  • Dish soap 
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Cotton buds
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush

Clean A Steam Iron in 9 Steps:

  1. Once cooled, start by placing your steam iron upright on a spare towel, on the ironing board.
  2. Mix half a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of water. Pour about ¾ of this mixture into the iron reservoir, you shouldn’t make it full.
  3. Dip the end of a cotton bud into vinegar and use it to clean out the steam holes.
  4. Plug your iron into a power outlet, and set it to steam.
  5. After about 5 minutes, hold the steam button to release steam for about 30 seconds, until the mixture inside the reservoir has evaporated. Repeat this 5 to 6 times.
  6. Switch the iron off, unplug it from the wal,l and leave it to cool down.
  7. Pour out the remaining water-vinegar mixture from the reservoir.
  8. Lastly, fill the reservoir with regular water or distilled water and repeat step 5. This will rinse out any excess vinegar or residue.

Clean A Steam Iron With Baking Soda

Baking soda is a fast and effective natural cleaning agent, and it’s becoming more popular for household cleaning as it’s safe and cost-effective.

  1. Start by making a paste from 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of water. The paste should be a thick consistency, for it to be able to stay stuck on the soleplate.
  2. Apply the paste to the iron and spread it on the whole bottom surface. 
  3. Leave the paste to sit for 5 minutes. Then, with a clean, wet microfiber cloth, wipe the soleplate free from the baking soda paste. Make sure that the cloth isn’t too wet.
  4. Using a cotton bud, clean out each of the steam vents.
  5. Lastly, pour out any leftover water from the reservoir, then refill with clean water or preferably distilled water. Your steam iron is now prepared for use. 

Clean A Steam Iron With Vinegar And Salt

Vinegar and salt are an effective cleaning combination. Before cleaning your iron, read the instruction manual to be sure that it can handle vinegar.

  1. In a small pot, mix 1 part salt with 2 parts white vinegar. Place the pot on medium heat to dissolve the salt, but not allowing the vinegar to boil. 
  2. Let the mixture cool.
  3. Dip a clean cloth into the vinegar mixture and use it to wipe the soleplate. Alternatively, you can use a soft bristle brush. Then, rinse the surface of the iron with a clean cloth dipped in water and wipe the soleplate until totally clean.

Tips To Keep Your Iron Clean:

  • If you have dirty water coming from your taps then rather use filtered or distilled water in your iron. This is done to avoid harsh minerals and prevent a mineral deposit build up.
  • At the end of each use, empty the water reservoir and leave the iron to dry.
  • Every few days, it’s beneficial to wash the reservoir or water tank of your steam iron. Also, regular cleaning of the build-up, mostly starches or calcium, can be done by wiping the soleplate. 
  • Always store your steam iron in a safe place, not left plugged into the wall.
  • If you are able to afford it then try getting a quality steam iron as it will last longer.

Once you’re finished using the iron and it has cooled down, wipe the soleplate with a damp microfiber cloth so it’s clean when you store it away. There you have it, you now know the techniques to efficiently clean your steam iron. You can now iron all your clothes without seeing streaks or burns, but remember to always check the laundry symbols on your clothing as some clothing items are not suitable for ironing. For any other methods not mentioned here check out our post on how to clean an iron. Don’t forget to wipe the bottom of your iron with distilled water and a cloth once the cleaning is complete. Lastly, it’s important to dry the iron completely before storing it away.