cleaning an iron

How To Clean An Iron

If you’re finding that your iron is not doing its job as well as it used to, it might be time for a change. Before throwing it out and looking for a new iron though, why not save yourself some money by using our cleaning techniques to extend the lifespan on your current iron.

How To Know If Your Iron Needs Cleaning

It can often be difficult to tell when exactly your iron needs a clean, but there are a few tell-tale signs we’ve listed below to help you figure it out:

  • Your iron is pulling the fabrics of your clothing loose
  • Your iron is leaving stains on your clothing
  • Your iron isn’t gliding as smoothly as it should
  • A faded residue is beginning to form on the plate of your iron
  • Your iron isn’t steaming like it should be

If you’re wondering how often your iron must be cleaned, the answer is usually once or twice a year, depending on how often it’s used. You should also be able to find that out in your iron’s user manual, together with other cleaning tips and tricks. 

5 Different Ways To Clean An Iron Plate

There are a number of cleaning solutions that can be created and used to clean an iron plate. However, before beginning the cleaning process it’s important to follow a ‘safety first’ protocol and make sure your iron is unplugged and cooled down. Place a protective layer beneath it that can also be washed or thrown away afterwards. 

These 5 common household items should help you perform a thorough cleaning process:

1. How To Clean An Iron Plate With Salt

Lay out some newspaper on your ironing board with some salt sprinkled on top. Using a warm setting, iron over the salt in circles until there is very little remaining. Once you’ve unplugged your iron and let it cool down, wipe away the salt and dirt with a damp cloth. 

2. How To Clean An Iron Plate With Vinegar

Soak a clean cloth or towel in vinegar before placing your iron on it for 30 minutes. Once the time has passed, wipe your iron plate with a damp cloth to remove the vinegar and dirt. 

3. How To Clean An Iron Plate With Colgate (Or Any Other Toothpaste)

Place a small amount of white toothpaste on the areas of your iron plate that need cleaning. Leave it for a minute or two before wiping the toothpaste away. Finish off the cleaning process by filling up the water tank, placing it on an old towel, and setting it to ‘steam’ for a few minutes. 

4. How To Clean An Iron Plate With Baking Soda

Like many other appliances in your house, baking soda works wonders for cleaning an iron. Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of water in order to form a paste. Rub that paste on your iron plate without getting it into any of the steam holes. Use a clean towel or cloth to remove the paste after letting it sit for a short while. 

5. How To Clean An Iron Plate With Nail Polish Remover

Contrary to its name, nail polish remover can be used for substances other than nail polish. Dip a cotton ball into nail polish remover containing acetone and rub it along the surface of your iron plate while it’s hot. Make sure to wear something on your hands for protection. This method will release chemical fumes so it’s best to do it outside. 

On a side note, you may want to think again if you’re considering using nail polish remover to clean nail polish spills on your clothing or other fabrics. Read up on our best tips to remove nail polish.

How To Clean The Inside Of An Iron

It’s just as important to clean the inside of an iron as it is the plate, because all parts play a vital role in keeping your clothes in the best condition possible. Cleaning the inside of an iron can be a trouble-free process with the right tools. Use the following 6 steps to get your iron steaming as it should be again:

  1. Pour a mixture containing half a cup of distilled white vinegar and half a cup of distilled water into your iron while unplugged and cool, resting on a towel.
  2. Clear the vents of residue using a toothbrush dipped in vinegar.
  3. Put the iron on, set it for steam, and once 5 minutes have passed hold the steam button until the steam is at full blast.
  4. Blast the steam 5 times to clear the vents effectively.
  5. Once the iron is off and cooled down, empty out the rest of the mixture and refill it with distilled water. 
  6. Repeat the same steaming process again to get rid of any excess vinegar. 

Be sure to use distilled water and not tap water as the latter contains minerals that can dirty and clog up your iron.  

How To Clean An Iron’s Steam Holes

If your iron doesn’t necessarily need a clean inside, you may just want to clear the steam holes of dirt and residue. As mentioned above, you can use a toothbrush dipped in distilled white vinegar, or opt for cotton swabs instead. Once cleared, steam your iron using distilled water to clear the holes of vinegar. 

Now that you’re a pro at cleaning irons, master the skill of reading laundry labels so that you know how to use your iron effectively for different fabrics.