Irons get dirty all the time, even if you try to keep them squeaky clean. The soleplate gets dirty when dust accumulates on it and scorched when clothes get burnt.
The result? A nasty black stain on your precious iron. An iron that is not clean makes the ironing process slower, as heat is not distributed evenly on the soleplate. There is also the risk that your clothes will be stained during ironing, especially if you are using a steam iron.
So, if your iron looks like what has been described above, is there any way you can clean it? Yes! Check out these 3 effective ways on how to clean an iron.
1. Clean Your Iron with Baking Soda
Baking soda is an excellent cleaning agent. Follow these steps, and your iron will be as good as new.
- Mix two tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of water to make a paste. This paste should be slightly runny, but thick enough to stick to the soleplate.
- Apply the paste on the iron’s plate using your fingers, or a spatula. If your iron is filthy, you will need to put lots more of the paste, to cover the stains completely. Let the mixture sit on the soleplate for a few minutes, especially if the iron is very stained.
- With a clean wet cloth, remove the paste after it has stayed on the iron long enough. Squeeze the cloth, and then gently wipe the paste off.
- For users of steam irons, it is important to clean the steam holes as well as the soleplate. A cotton swab comes in handy for this purpose. Dip the swab in distilled water and clean the holes one by one. Change the cotton swab each time you notice that the tips are full of dirt.
- Filling the iron’s reservoir with filtered or distilled water is the next step. Pour out any old water from the reservoir, and refill it to one-third with fresh water. Note that if your iron tolerates vinegar, you can make a stronger cleaning solution using white vinegar. Simply mix a ¾ cup of water with ¼ cup of white vinegar.
- Switch on the iron, put the temperature settings to the highest point, and turn on the steam. The combination of steam and heat will clean out the dirt and mineral deposits inside the steam holes. Be careful during this process, as the steam can easily burn you.
- Get a clean cloth or kitchen towel and iron it. As you do so, you may notice brown streaks on the fabric. These marks are a sign that the dirt in the vents has been released. If your iron has a manual steam button, press it often to release more steam. More steam makes the dirt loosen and come out faster.
- Finally, turn off the iron and let it cool slowly. Protect the surface under the iron with a cloth, as the remaining sediments will seep out during the cooling process. You can also pour out any water that is left in the reservoir.
2. Clean Your Iron with Vinegar and Salt
Vinegar and salt are excellent cleaning agents. Imagine, therefore, what they can do when combined!
- Mix the vinegar and salt in the following proportions – one part salt to two parts vinegar. Put this mixture on the cooker and heat it until the salt dissolves. Use medium heat, and do not let the mixture get to boiling point. Note that the smell of the mixture may be a little strong, so keep your windows open.
- Let the mixture cool until warm. The smell of vinegar on the hands can be quite unpleasant, so be sure to use dishwashing gloves.
- Get a clean rag and dip it into the mixture, then rub it on the soleplate. Some people prefer to use a soft brush. A brush is quite useful in getting rid of scorch marks, but cannot be used on a Teflon-coated iron.
- The next step is rinsing the iron. The mixture is bound to leave some residue, especially if there was lots of staining. Clean this residue off the plate gently using another clean cloth dipped in white vinegar. Next, get a clean, old cloth, turn on the iron and iron the cloth. The result? Any residue will be burnt off and cleaned up on the old cloth.
3. Clean Your Iron Using Other Methods – Toothpaste, Newspaper, Dryer Sheets
The methods listed below are not commonly used, but they work just as efficiently as the ones above.
- Toothpaste is a good alternative to baking soda. Put some of the paste on the scorched areas of the iron and leave it there for a while. Make sure the iron is cold. After a while, rub the toothpaste off with a clean cloth, turn the iron on and steam a cloth for around five minutes.
- Are you in the habit of throwing away your old newspapers? Why not keep them to use when cleaning your iron? If your iron has something sticky on the bottom, turn it on, put the heat all the way up, and rub it on a newspaper until it is clean. Sticky substances can be stubborn, though. If your iron is all sticky, put some salt on the newspaper, heat up the iron again, and rub it on the salt.
- Do you have dryer sheets in your kitchen? You can also use them to clean your iron. Put on your iron, adjust the setting to cool, let it heat up, and then rub it on a fresh dryer sheet. Rub patiently until all the dirt is gone.
- Lastly, you can use a mixture of white vinegar and distilled or filtered water to clean your iron. Put this mixture in your iron’s reservoir, turn on the iron, activate the steam setting and iron a piece of thick cotton cloth for five minutes.
When you are satisfied with the result, pour out the vinegar solution and clean the bottom of the iron with another clean cloth. Confirm with the owner’s manual if you can use vinegar in the iron’s reservoir.
Choose the method that works for you, and make sure you have the cleaning agents required, loads of patience and several clean cloths! Best of luck!