Build-up on your iron after use is normal and to be expected which does not mean it’s not annoying not to mention inconvenient. You know your iron needs to be cleaned if there is resistance when you’re using it so that it does not glide smoothly over your clothes and when it has visible build-up from use. Here are some different tips for properly cleaning your iron.
1. Baking soda + water
This is great for removing build-up and gunk. Make a paste of water and baking soda and rub it on the iron’s soleplate using a soft brush or towel to scrub. Wipe it away with water and let the iron dry before use.
This one will need you to be extra careful. Heat up the iron at the highest setting, scrunch up some newspaper and use it to scrub the iron’s soleplate. You may need to wear mittens for extra protection.
3. Acetone nail polish remover
Acetone does a great job of dissolving and removing the iron’s dirty build-up. Turn the iron on and let it heat up. Soak a cotton ball or cloth with acetone and quickly dab it on the hot surface. You may need to use gloves for safety. Once you’re done, wipe the surface down with water and a cloth.
4. Kitchen sponges and scrubbers
Soap and kitchen scrubbers will go a long way in cleaning the iron’s surface. Once you’re done, wipe it down with a towel and let it dry completely before use.
5. Vinegar and salt
This is a great cleaning method and one that will not scratch the base of your iron. Dampen a towel or cloth with distilled white vinegar and wipe the soleplate. If residue still remains, soak a clean paper towel or cloth in white vinegar, lay the iron’s soleplate on the towel, and let it soak for 15-30 minutes. Wipe it clean when it’s done.
Alternatively, dampen a towel with white vinegar and sprinkle some salt on top of the towel as an agitator. Heat the iron and repeatedly pass it over the vinegar-soaked salt sprinkled towel. You’ll see the residue rubbing off.
If the soleplate of your iron is rusty, cut a lemon in half and rub it along the spots to help alleviate rust.
7. Dish detergent
Put a few drops of liquid dish detergent into some water and use a paper towel or a soft rag dipped in sudsy water to wipe away the residue.
Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on a sheet of paper. Run the hot iron continuously over the salt. When all the gunk has fallen off and mixed into the salt, unplug the iron, let it cool then clean the excess salt off.
The iron does not need to be hot or plugged in. Just rub some toothpaste onto the dirty areas of the plate. Wipe away the toothpaste with a clean cloth and then iron over an old towel or other clean cloth to remove any residue.
10. Distilled water
This is for cleaning the water reservoir if your iron has one. Empty your iron’s reservoir of stale water and refill it with distilled water. Set the iron to high heat and full steam, allowing it to emit steam and clear the vents. You can also iron an old towel for a few minutes so that the steam flushes the debris out onto the towel. Empty any remaining water from the reservoir. Going forward, only use distilled water or filtered water in your iron and empty after each use so that the reservoir can air-dry. This will keep future mineral deposits at bay.
Resist the temptation to use anything that would be too abrasive on the soleplate such as paper clips or other hard items. You can always use a toothbrush to clean the soleplate along with your preferred cleaning method.
Here’s a piece on Kitchen ingredients you can use to clean your home.