How to Clean an Iron in 5 Easy Steps

how to clean an iron
Marko Milanovic/Stocksy

A quality iron is essential for anyone who’s serious about looking their best, but many people don’t realize that an iron has its own cleaning demands. With repeated use, the plate can become caked with thick mineral deposits, and these deposits can inhibit steam release and even cause dirt and grime to penetrate the clothing.

The iron’s reservoir also requires attention, as a dirty reservoir will release dirty water and steam. The good news is that cleaning an iron is simple, and it only takes a few minutes. The more often the iron is cleaned, the easier the job will be. This task will require a couple of damp cloths, white vinegar, distilled water, and baking soda.

Read on to discover just how easy it can be to eliminate mineral deposits and keep your iron working to perfection.

Step 1: Reach for the Baking Soda

Make a baking soda paste using baking soda and water. To achieve the ideal ratio, mix one part water with two parts baking soda.

Step 2: Clean the Plate

Spread the baking soda paste over the plate, working it with a clean cloth or finger along the entire metal surface and into the steam holes. Allow the baking soda to remain on the iron’s surface for five to 10 minutes.

Step 3: Remove Those Scorch Marks

Wipe the baking soda from the plate using a clean, damp cloth. If scorch marks or other stubborn stains remain on the iron, mix two parts white vinegar and one part salt in a pot, and heat on the stove. Use medium heat, and stop as soon as the salt dissolves—don’t wait until the vinegar boils. Allow the mixture to cool, apply it to a soft cloth, and scrub the stains. This should take care of any spots.

Step 4: Clean the Reservoir

Make a mixture of three parts distilled water and one part vinegar, and fill the iron’s reservoir so that it’s one-third of the way full. Before doing this, check the instruction manual of your iron first. If vinegar usage is prohibited, use distilled water instead.

Step 5: Finish the Job

Turn on the iron to the highest setting, and iron any clean piece of fabric with steam. Note that the fabric will likely get dirty, so don’t choose a garment that’s especially important. Iron for five to 10 minutes, turn off the iron, and let it cool. Finally, empty the reservoir, and call it a day.

Keeping the Iron Clean

There’s no firm rule for how often an iron should be cleaned, as it depends on how often you use it. Some may only need to clean their iron once a year, while daily users may want to clean it monthly. Keep an eye on the plate, and note any stains or discoloration. Look to your garments as well for signs that the iron may not be doing its job.

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