How To Clean A Steam Iron

If you’ve been using your steam iron regularly for a while, then chances are it’s looking a bit stained and dirty. This is a common problem with irons and steam irons in particular. One of the reasons for this is deposits in the water, which can affect many parts of your iron.

Don’t despair and think you have to go buy a new steam iron. Keep reading, as we have put our experts through their paces to come up with remedies to all your steam iron cleaning problems.

What Causes Dirty Steam Irons?

Over a long period of time, your iron will collect dirt and dust, dried-on starch spray, burnt synthetic material particles, and calcium deposits especially on the bottom, or hot plate (also known as soleplate). Plus leftover water in the reservoir can contain many different minerals, not just calcium but also iron, which can cause rust stains on your iron.

How To Clean The Soleplate Of A Steam Iron

We’ve come up with a few options here that will clean the bottom of a steam iron. We’ve not placed them in any particular order, just go with whichever one suits you.

Cleaning The Bottom Of A Steam Iron With Vinegar

Completely soak a towel in vinegar (white vinegar is best), place the iron onto the towel with the soleplate on the towel. Leave for around ½ hour and wipe with a clean cloth. This will remove stains including calcium and rust.

Cleaning The Bottom Of A Steam Iron With Paracetamol

Yep! You read it right, paracetamol. They’re not only good for pain relief they also clean iron soleplates. Heat the iron to its hottest setting, then wearing heat resistant gloves, press a paracetamol tablet directly onto the soleplate.

 The pill will dissolve into a slightly sticky gel. Using a damp cloth, remove the gel and remove the burnt on stain at the same time. If your iron bottom is badly stained you might find you need more than one tablet to cover all the burnt areas, take extra care not to burn yourself. Never get clever and try using tweezers or pliers to hold the paracetamol tablet, as metal will scratch the soleplate doing irreparable damage.

Cleaning The Soleplate Of A Steam Iron With Salt And Paper

Another seemingly whacky idea, but it works. Spread some paper on your ironing board, brown paper or newspaper are best but any paper will do, sprinkle a good amount of salt onto the paper. Turn your steam iron onto its highest heat setting and iron the salted paper in a circular fashion. Keep checking the soleplate and continue ironing the salted paper until the iron bottom is clean.

Cleaning The Bottom Of A Steam Iron With Aluminium Foil

Spread the aluminium foil on the ironing board, sprinkle with salt and iron with a hot iron this will remove sticky residues from the soleplate.

Cleaning The Soleplate Of A Steam Iron With Nail Polish Remover

This one is best done outdoors as the fumes can be overpowering. Heat the iron to its highest heat setting, tip nail polish remover onto a cotton wool ball, and with heat resistant gloves, rub over the soleplate. The acetone nail polish remover will dissolve the dirty residue in absolutely no time at all.

Cleaning The Bottom Of A Steam Iron With Baking Powder

Baking powder is the basis of many commercial cleaning products that cost considerably more than common baking powder will set you back. It’s effective against all manner of stains including oven cleaning degreasing dishwashers and cleaning the soleplates on steam irons.

All you need to do is mix 2 tablespoons of baking powder with one tablespoon of water into a paste. Rub this paste all over the soleplate but avoid getting any in the steam holes. Rinse off with a damp cloth. If you do get any of the paste in the steam holes be sure to clean it all out.

Cleaning The Soleplate Of A Steam Iron With Toothpaste

Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto the cold unplugged irons soleplate rub with a damp cloth. To remove toothpaste after cleaning use another damp cloth and wipe until no toothpaste remains.

Cleaning The Bottom Of A Steam Iron With Lemon Juice

Use the same process as with the white vinegar, just rub the soleplate with the lemon juice soaked cloth allow to sit for around 30 minutes and wipe off. 

Cleaning The Soleplate Of A Steam Iron With Vinegar And Baking Powder

A mixture of baking powder and vinegar is a well-known cleaning solution with many applications in the home. To clean the bottom of a steam iron using vinegar and baking powder, follow these steps 

  1. Soak a towel in vinegar (white vinegar is best) 
  2. Spread the towel onto an ironing board, table or flat surface
  3. Sprinkle baking powder onto the vinegar-soaked towel (don’t worry if it starts to foam-up)
  4. With the iron unplugged and cold run it over the towel as if you were ironing it.
  5. Rinse the mixture off with a damp cloth
  6. Dry completely before storing the iron away

How To Clean A Steam Iron’s Steam Holes

Not just baking powder paste can get into the steam holes of a steam iron. All manner of residues can clog up the holes, blocking the flow of steam and making ironing an even more unpleasant task than it already is. Here is one of the easiest and most effective ways to clean the steam holes on a steam iron

  1. Take 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of distilled water and mix.
  2. Pour the mixture into the water reservoir on the steam iron
  3. Plug the iron in, turn on the steam function and keep it on until all of the liquid is gone.
  4. Turn off the iron let it cool down enough to handle safely
  5. Clean the steam holes out with cotton buds to clear any remaining gunk.

How To Clean A Steam Iron With Vinegar

Using the 2 methods we’ve already shown you, you can combine them saving time and vinegar. Do all of the stages above for cleaning the steam holes on a steam iron. When finished rub the soleplate down and the vinegar left from the steam should be sufficient to clean the soleplate.

If not, just add some neat white vinegar to a cloth and rub the bottom this should then remove any residue. Use a clean dry cloth to remove any remaining water before storing iron away.

How To Clean A Steam Iron Inside

This is a question often asked, and it refers to the water tank or reservoir on a steam iron that can become stained with calcium deposits or even rusty iron deposits from the water supply. That’s why steam iron manufacturers recommend using distilled water in steam irons to cut down on these residues. By using the method for cleaning the steam holes you will clean out the reservoir/water tank at the same time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my iron spitting out brown stuff?

If you have brown stuff spitting out of your irons steam holes, it is probably caused by deposits of iron in the water used to fill the water tank. It’s recommended that you use distilled water to help prevent this from happening.

How do I clean an iron that is burnt?

Using a solution of white vinegar and water, it is relatively easy to remove burnt stains from an iron’s soleplate. Just rub with a cloth until clean.

How do you remove limescale from a steam iron?

Mix 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of distilled water and pour into the reservoir. Turn on the iron select the steam function and let all of the mixture evaporate. The vinegar will break down the limescale and remove it.

What causes an iron to leak water?

Either it’s not running hot enough, if the water isn’t hot enough to turn the water to steam, it will drip. This is easy to fix just select a higher temperature setting. Or if it’s got a limescale build-up in the reservoir. This can be cured by running a mixture of white vinegar and distilled water through the steam process.

How do you clean a burnt iron with toothpaste?

Just rub some toothpaste over the soleplate of the iron taking care to cover all burnt bits. Then remove with a soft cloth.

How do you clean an iron with salt?

Place a sheet of paper on your ironing board sprinkle with salt, heat your iron to maximum heat. Then simply iron over the paper in circular motions the dirt will stick to the salt. Wipe the soleplate with a damp cloth to remove any salt.

How do you clean an iron with lemon juice?

Soak a cloth in lemon juice, rub it over the soleplate of the iron to remove any stains. Then remove any remaining lemon juice with a damp cloth.

How do you clean an iron with baking soda and vinegar?

Soak a towel with vinegar and baking powder (soda) lay the towel on the ironing board and without plugging the iron in, iron the vinegar and baking soda soaked towel with the cold iron. Wipe off any residue with a damp cloth.

How do you clean an iron with newspaper?

If the soleplate of your iron is sticky, just spread the sheet of newspaper on your ironing board, turn your iron to its highest heat setting. Iron the newspaper until the bottom of the iron is clean. To speed up this process, try sprinkling salt onto the newspaper before ironing.

How do you clean an iron with aluminium foil?

Spread the aluminium foil on the ironing board, sprinkle it with salt, iron over it on full heat to remove sticky substances.

Can you clean an iron with paracetamol?

To clean an iron with paracetamol get the iron to high heat, wearing heat resistant gloves push a paracetamol tablet onto the soleplate of the iron. The tablet will turn to a gel, wipe this gel off with a soft cloth as you remove the gel, the stains will disappear too.

Why is there no steam coming out of my steam iron?

If there is no steam coming from your steam iron it is probably one of two things, either there is not enough water in the reservoir or the heat setting isn’t high enough.

Can steam irons be repaired?

Due to the design of a steam iron, there is little that can go wrong with it. Usually, the only damage to a steam iron is either the handle is broken, the power cord is damaged or the steam jets are blocked. It is possible to replace the power cable, and it’s simple to unblock the jets but as irons are reasonably priced it’s usually cheaper or as cheap to replace the iron than to get it repaired.

Why is my steam iron making noise?

If a steam iron is making a noise, it is usually because it has little or no water in the reservoir. Filling it up will usually solve this noisy problem.

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