11 Ways on How to Clean an Iron

Keeping an iron in **tip-top shape** is **critical** for its performance and longevity so your clothes always look their best. A well-maintained iron glides easily, avoids stains, and lasts longer. This **handy guide** offers expert advice on cleaning your iron’s insides, outsides, and soleplate, featuring DIY methods and **preventive care secrets**.

Key Takeaways

  • Routine Maintenance Is Crucial: Regularly cleaning your iron is essential for optimal performance, preventing fabric stains and extending the appliance’s lifespan.
  • Simple Household Items for Cleaning: Distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and distilled water are effective and affordable ways to clean your iron. Cotton swabs, an old toothbrush, and microfiber cloths are useful for detailed cleaning tasks.
  • Internal Cleaning with Vinegar Solution: A mixture of distilled white vinegar and water can clean the iron’s interior, removing buildup and ensuring smooth steam operation.
  • Soleplate Cleaning Techniques: Distilled white vinegar on a clean cloth can remove grime and restore the soleplate’s shine. Baking soda paste can be used for stubborn stains.
  • Preventive Measures: Wiping down the soleplate after each use and avoiding harsh cleaning tools or chemicals helps maintain the iron’s condition and prevent damage.
  • Spot Cleaning for Burnt Residues: An innovative method for removing burnt spots involves using a Tylenol tablet on a hot soleplate. The tablet dissolves the residue, making it easy to clean.
  • Cleaning Steam Vents and Removing Hard Water Stains: Cotton swabs dipped in vinegar can clean steam vents effectively, and a magic eraser can remove hard water stains from the iron’s surface.
  • Investment in Care: Proper iron maintenance is about preserving the appliance, caring for your clothes, and saving money in the long run.

Revitalize Your Iron: Inside-Out Cleaning Techniques

1. The Initial Step: Selecting Your Cleaning Arsenal

A clean iron doesn’t require expensive solutions or exhaustive efforts. Your allies are household staples such as distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and water. Accessories like cotton swabs, an old toothbrush, or a microfiber cloth are invaluable for detailed cleaning, ensuring your iron remains in top condition without breaking the bank.

2. Interior Cleansing with Vinegar

Starting with the interior is advisable for an unplugged, cool iron. Mix a solution of one-fourth cup distilled white vinegar with three-fourths cup water. Fill the iron’s reservoir, heat, and use the steam function to distribute the mixture, repeating as necessary. This method effectively removes internal buildup, ensuring smooth operation.

3. Soleplate Restoration: Vinegar Magic

For the soleplate, a vinegar-soaked cloth acts as a cleaning agent. Ironing over this cloth removes grime and restores shine. After cooling, a final wipe with a damp cloth leaves the soleplate spotless, ready for your next ironing session.

Addressing Common Iron Cleaning Queries

  • When to Clean Your Iron: Regular maintenance is key. To prevent buildup, clean your iron monthly and after every use. Signs like a dull soleplate or foggy water tank indicate it’s time for a cleaning session.
  • Preventing Dirt Accumulation: Wiping the soleplate after use and avoiding harsh cleaning tools preserve the iron’s integrity. To protect the iron’s finish and functionality, opt for gentle cleaning solutions over abrasive chemicals.
  • Baking Soda for Stubborn Stains: For persistent burn marks or grime, a paste of equal parts baking soda and water, applied with a soft brush, effectively cleans the soleplate without damage.
  • Spot Cleaning a Hot Iron: Surprisingly, a Tylenol tablet applied to a hot soleplate can dissolve burnt residues. This method requires caution and protective gloves to avoid burns.

Advanced Tips for Iron Maintenance

  • Steam Vent Cleaning: Use vinegar-dipped cotton swabs to thoroughly clean steam vents, enhancing your iron’s steam output.
  • Hard Water Stain Removal: A damp magic eraser gently removes hard water stains from the iron’s surface, ensuring it remains clean and functional.
  • Removing Melted Plastic: In case of plastic contact, cool the iron and scrape off hardened plastic with a plastic knife, followed by a vinegar wipe to clean the residue.

Ensuring Iron Longevity for Optimal Clothing Care

A well-maintained iron is not just about aesthetics; it’s an investment in your wardrobe and financial savvy. By following these expert tips, your iron will serve you efficiently, making ironing a smooth, hassle-free task. Remember these guidelines to ensure your iron remains a reliable tool in your laundry arsenal, contributing to impeccably maintained clothes and long-term savings.

The 11 Easiest Ways of Cleaning an Iron

11 Ways on How to Clean an Iron
  1. Use a hot iron soleplate to dissolve Tylenol – You may be surprised to learn that Tylenol cleans an iron with burned residue well. Acetaminophen tablets do not have to be name brands. Using the highest setting, heat the iron. Put the hot pill directly on the burnt area once it’s hot. A gel will form when the pill melts and dissolves the burnt area. The soleplate should be cleaned with a damp cloth or paper towel. Repeat the process until the char has been completely removed. Using this method requires wearing heat-protective gloves or an oven mitt, which will keep your fingers safe. You cannot fix a slipped pill if you use pliers or tweezers. One slip will cause the iron to scratch, and there’s no fixing. It’s just a matter of protecting your hands.
  2. Make a baking soda paste for cleaning irons – Everything from ovens to dishwashers can be cleaned with baking soda. Your iron can also be cleaned with it. Using baking soda and water, make a stain-fighting paste. Be careful not to get baking soda in the steam holes as you rub it on the iron plate. Clean the steam holes if you get paste in them… which brings me to my next iron-cleaning tip.
  3. Clean out the steam holes with a cotton swab. Cotton swabs are the perfect tool for cleaning the steam holes thoroughly. Before inserting them, soak them in distilled white vinegar to boost their grime-fighting abilities.
  4. Vinegar-soaked towel – Vinegar can also be used to clean along the iron plate by soaking a towel in vinegar and then setting the iron on the towel. Wipe it down after 30 minutes. It’s like new again! Corrosion on your iron can be treated with this method.
  5. Fill the water reservoir with vinegar – Fill the water reservoir of your steam iron with a mixture of half-distilled white vinegar and half water to clean out the iron steam vents. Once the cloth or towel is ironed and steamed, throw it out. With each steaming, residue and vinegar will emerge from the vents.
  6. Magic erasers make magic. You can use one to remove hard water stains from an iron by rubbing your cool iron along the sponge with a wet magic eraser. You may need to rewet the sponge as necessary.
  7. Using an iron and salt, iron over a newspaper—Believe it or not, the same can be achieved with salt and newspaper. Lay a newspaper on your ironing board and set your iron to the hottest setting. When the newspaper is salty, iron it in circles until it is clean. If you don’t have a newspaper handy, use a brown paper bag instead.
  8. Remove melted plastic using an ice cube and a plastic knife – You’ll have a bit of a mess to clean up if your iron comes into contact with plastic, but it shouldn’t be too difficult. Unplug it and let it cool when you come into contact with plastic with your iron. Placing the iron plate on ice cubes will harden the plastic quickly (if the plastic is already hardened on a cool iron, you can skip this step). After removing the plastic with a plastic knife, wipe the surface with vinegar spray or a damp cloth. Remove any plastic before using the iron again to avoid melting plastic into your clothes.
  9. Scrub the iron with dryer sheets on low heat—The process is as simple as it gets: Rub the soleplate with dryer sheets while the iron is set to the lowest setting. Toss a dryer sheet when it gets too hot and reach for another as soon as possible. Repeat the process until the iron is clean.
  10. Use a Brillo pad—If your iron has glue residue from adhering to a patch, you can use a Brillo pad to get rid of stuck-on glue from a craft project without scratching your iron plate.
  11. Nail polish remover breaks down residue—Here’s one more iron-cleaning tip: Use nail polish remover! Use an acetone nail polish remover to remove nail polish from a cotton ball. The cotton ball should be swiped along the surface of the iron with an oven mitt or a heat-protective glove. The residue will dissolve quickly. You should use this iron-cleaning method outside to avoid inhaling chemical fumes (or those of your family or pets).
11 Ways on How to Clean an Iron

How to Clean an Iron FAQs

How often should I clean my iron?

Clean your iron approximately once a month and after each use for optimal performance and to prevent buildup.

Can I use regular tap water in my iron?

Distilled water in your iron is recommended to prevent hard water buildup and mineral deposits, which can affect its performance and longevity.

What should I do if my iron’s soleplate sticks to fabric?

If your iron’s soleplate sticks to the fabric, it needs cleaning. Use a vinegar solution or baking soda paste to remove any residue or buildup causing the sticking.

How can I clean the inside of my iron?

Fill the reservoir with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and water, heat the iron, and use the steam to clean the interior. Repeat if necessary.

What’s the best way to remove melted plastic from my iron?

Allow the iron to cool, then use a plastic knife to scrape off the hardened plastic gently. Clean any residue with vinegar or a damp cloth.

How can I prevent my iron from getting dirty?

Regularly clean your iron, avoid leaving water in the reservoir, and use the correct temperature settings for different fabrics to prevent scorch marks and buildup.

What should I avoid when cleaning my iron?

Avoid harsh chemicals, abrasive materials, or sharp objects that can scratch the soleplate or damage the iron. Stick to recommended cleaning methods for safe and effective maintenance.


In conclusion, maintaining a clean and functional iron is essential for ensuring your clothes are pressed to perfection without the risk of stains or damage. Through simple, cost-effective cleaning methods using household staples like distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and distilled water, you can easily keep your iron in top condition.

Regular maintenance, including wiping the soleplate after use, cleaning the steam vents with cotton swabs, and removing any buildup or stains with gentle solutions, will prolong the life of your iron and enhance its performance. By adhering to these expert tips and incorporating routine care into your ironing practices, you safeguard not only the longevity of your iron but also the quality and appearance of your garments.

Remember, a well-maintained iron is not just a tool for tackling wrinkles; it’s an investment in your wardrobe’s longevity and your personal presentation.

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