If you are in the habit of using your iron box regularly, then cleaning it every once in a while goes without saying.
Iron boxes have a habit of getting dirty. In most cases, the soleplate accumulates dirt as a result of burnt fabric fibers, poor handling and starchy build up. On the other hand, build up occurs in vents and holes of steam irons because of mineral deposits from tap water.
How can you tell that Your Clothes Iron is Dirty?
Ideally, the iron should run smoothly when pressing clothes. When you start to feel like it is beginning to stick to the surface of the clothes, then it is time to clean the soleplate thoroughly.
If the steam leaves rusty deposits and stains on your clothes, then the tank and steam vents require cleaning.
If you can visibly see discoloration on the soleplate, this is another indicator that your iron box has accumulated some dirt.
Lastly, if the steam holes are releasing some black or chalky deposits, there is a high possibility of mineral deposits buildup.
How to clean an Iron
When cleaning my iron box, I always prefer to begin with the bottom because soleplate cleaning products can find their way into the steam holes. In essence, this means that I will have to add a cleaning solution into the water tank again so that I can clear the dirt.
How to Clean the Bottom of an Iron
There many ways way cleaning the soleplate. The method you choose should depend on the kind of dirt that you intend to remove and your technique of preference.
In regard to dirt, some methods work best for light cleaning whereas others are excellent for heavy duty cleaning.
Method 1: Use Paracetamol or Aspirin
The paracetamol method is a firm favorite and the most effective for heavy duty cleaning. It is a bit slow but it makes your iron look new again by clearing all the gunk.
Plug in your iron and let it heat up. Use a pair of pliers or tweezers with a plastic handle to hold a paracetamol tablet. You can also wear oven gloves and hold the tablet with your fingers.
Begin to scrub the affected areas of the soleplate with the tablet and wipe of the dirt regularly with a kitchen towel. Repeat the process with more tablets until all the dirt clears off completely. Fill the water tank and press an old towel while using the steam to remove dirt residue from the steam holes.
Important note: Keep a mask nearby in case the tablet releases unpleasant fumes.
Method 2: Use Dryer Sheets
The dryer sheet method is appropriate for a soleplate that has just began to turn in color. All you need is several pieces of dry sheets. Pick one piece at a time and scrub the bottom gently until the sheet becomes dirty.
Repeat the procedure with the remaining sheets until the soleplate cleans up completely. If you suspect that some dirt has accumulated in the steam holes, clear it with cotton swabs.
Method 3: Baking Powder and Water
This method is also reliable if you only need to remove regular dirt from the bottom of your iron box. It is not the best choice if your iron has heavy buildup from melted fabric. Before you begin the cleaning process, unplug the iron and allow it to cool off completely.
Mix two tablespoons baking soda with one tablespoon water to form a thick paste. Use a towel or non-abrasive scrubber to apply the paste on the soleplate. Scrub gently until the surface is completely clean. Wipe it with a clean, wet cloth until all the paste clears off completely. Use cotton swabs to clear baking soda deposits from the steam holes.
Method 4: Baking Soda and Magic Eraser
The baking soda and magic eraser method is one of the best for an iron with dirt from burnt and melted fabric.
What You Will Need
- Baking soda
- Magic eraser
- A clean old towel
- A clean lint-free towel or microfiber cloth.
Step 1: Wet the clean old towel and wring it properly. Spread it well on the ironing board.
Step 2: Wet and wring the magic eraser properly. Spread it on the wet towel.
Step 3: Spread a few tablespoons of baking soda on the magic eraser.
Step 4: Plug in the iron and set it on a high heat setting.
Step 5: Press the baking soda repeatedly until all the gunk clears. You can add the baking soda every now and then if needed.
Step 6: Unplug the iron and allow it cool off completely. Follow up by using the microfiber cloth to wipe off the baking soda.
Step 7: Use cotton swabs to clear baking soda deposits from the steam holes.
Method 5: How to Clean an Iron with Course Salt
Just like most of the methods mentioned here, course salt is excellent for light cleaning. Spread a few tablespoons of course salt on a dryer sheet or kitchen towels. Plug in the iron and set it on the highest heat setting. Go over the salt while pressing gently for a few minutes or until the dirt clears. Use cotton swabs to clear dirt from the steam holes.
Method 6: Vinegar and Salt
Mix vinegar and salt to create a solution for light cleaning the bottom of your iron box. Heat vinegar and add a tablespoon of salt. Stir until the salt dissolves completely. Let the solution cool slightly and apply it on the soleplate. Use a non-abrasive scrubber or towel scrub the surface gently until it cleans up completely. Wet a dry cloth with water and wipe the soleplate to rinse out the solution.
Method 7: Toothpaste
Apply toothpaste on the soleplate and use a cloth to scrub the surface gently until the dirt clears. Wipe off and repeat the process if needed. This method is appropriate for light cleaning.
How to Clean the Inside of an Iron
As mentioned earlier, it is important to clean the inside of an iron because it gets dirty. The dirt results from rust and mineral deposits that have accumulated over time.
Vinegar and water
Distilled white vinegar is an effective remedy for clearing mineral deposits. In the case of iron tank and steam vents, it works in the same way as it does when cleaning shower heads.
For this method, it is possible to use white distilled vinegar alone or a mixture of the same with water in the ratio of 1:1. Fill the iron tank with the solution and plug in the iron. Let it heat for a few minutes and use the steam button to release the steam until the tank and vents drain completely.
Fill the tank with water and release in the same way to rinse if the smell of vinegar makes you uncomfortable.
How to Maintain and Care for a Clothes Iron
The first step for maintaining an iron is ensuring that you use distilled water every time. Tap water is rich in minerals that tend to accumulate in the inside of the iron over time. Besides clogging the steam holes, the buildup can stain clothes easily.
Empty the water tank after every ironing session. When water is left inside the steam vents, it becomes rusty and begins to release the dirt to clothes after some time.
Always match the heat settings with the type of fabric when pressing clothes. Using excessive heat on fabrics leads to accumulation of dirt on the soleplate as a result of melted lint are fabric particles.
Do not use abrasive cleaning pads or material on the surface of the soleplate to avoid creating unnecessary scratches.
Develop a habit of following the user manual. The instructions provided act as a guide helping you understand the iron and use it in the best way possible.