You need an iron to keep your clothes clean and fresh, but what happens when your iron is the cause of dirty marks and stains? Find out the signs that it’s time to clean your iron, the best way to keep it in tip-top shape, and preventative measures you can take to ensure your iron stays as fresh as your laundry.
Signs that your iron needs cleaning
-Discoloured foot or soleplate
-Sticky residue on iron or clothes
-Chalky mineral deposits on clothes
-Iron does not slide easily
The signs that your iron needs cleaning can build up slowly, so don’t be surprised if the first thing you notice is a stain on your clothes. Paying attention to the condition of your iron will go a long way toward protecting your clothes and making the job of cleaning your iron faster and easier.
The flat surface of the iron, known as the soleplate, is the area where you’ll first notice the accumulation of dirt and residue. Look for burn marks, discoloration and brown or white deposits. These are all signs that your iron needs cleaning.
Before cleaning: Always check the manufacturer’s instructions and do not use harsh or abrasive cleaners on your iron. Many irons have self-cleaning cycles that you can use to clean the water tank and steam vents. Here’s a list of all-natural cleaning products you may want to know about
How to clean your iron: cold cleaning methods
If you’re nervous about touching a hot iron, these tips are for you. These methods will provide the best cleaning results on a cold iron. If you have a particularly stubborn stain or buildup, you may need to reheat the iron to remove it completely.
How to clean an iron with baking soda
Baking soda is a fantastic all-purpose cleaner for many household surfaces, and your iron is no exception. To remove stains from the soleplate, make a paste of baking soda and water and rub it on the flat surface. Then, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe off the excess and be sure to dry your iron thoroughly.
Removing greasy stains from an iron with White vinegar
If your iron has greasy spots, use white vinegar as a cleaner. Soak paper towels in vinegar and lay the cold iron flat on it for half an hour to break down the stain. Then wipe with fresh water and dry.
How to clean an iron with baking soda and white vinegar
When you have a lot of residue, lay an old towel flat on your ironing board and sprinkle it with baking soda. Use a spray bottle to spray it with the household cleaning agent vinegar until it starts to react, then run the iron over the mixture as if you were ironing the towel. The combination of the motion and the fizzy cleaning solution should move all but the toughest stains.
How to Clean Your Iron: Hot Cleaning Methods
Heat is a great cleaner, and it’s sometimes the most effective way to remove stains from your iron. These methods use a warm setting rather than hot and are a first resort if cold cleaning methods don’t work on your iron.
Using salt to clean an iron
Cover your ironing board with paper (parchment or parchment paper if you have it, otherwise use old newspaper) and spread salt on the paper. Heat the iron to low and iron the salted paper with a firm motion. Once the stains are removed, let the iron dry and wipe it down.
Cleaning an iron with fabric softener sheets
Fabric softener sheets are effective cleaners, especially if you have a lot of sticky build-up on your iron. Heat the iron to room temperature and put on a pair of oven mitts to protect your hands. Then rub a sheet or two of fabric softener on the soleplate and scrub away any stains.
Cleaning an iron with soap and water
Sometimes the obvious ways are the best! Dish soap and hot water are some of the best cleaners for most household items, and your iron is one of them. Heat the iron until it’s hot, then use a sponge or scrub brush to clean the soleplate. Avoid using plastic scrubbers, as the iron will melt them. Once the iron is clean, wipe it down with fresh water.
Use old newspaper to clean an iron
Old newspaper is an excellent cleaner because it is very absorbent. To clean an iron with newspaper, crumple it up and rub it on the hot surface of the soleplate. Be careful not to overheat the paper! Newspaper is particularly effective at removing sticky residue.
How nail polish remover can clean an iron
Acetone, or nail polish remover, is a handy chemical cleaner that you probably already have at home. To use it on your iron, heat the soleplate and then apply the acetone by soaking a cotton ball and dabbing it onto the plate. The acetone will evaporate quickly, breaking down any stains. Once the iron is clean, wipe it down with fresh water to remove any residue.