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The right—and wrong—ways to clean your steam iron

The right—and wrong—ways to clean your steam iron
Posted at 6:30 AM, Sep 30, 2022

Sometimes the devices that help us look our best need cleaning, too, like irons or steam cleaners. If you’ve ever started ironing a new shirt and noticed a sudden wet blotch of stain appear, you know it’s time to clean your iron.

If that hasn’t happened yet, flip over your iron to see if any crusty gunk has accumulated. That can be a result of synthetic or natural fibers melting on the soleplate if the appliance is too hot. Mineral deposits from water can also cause buildup. Even the best steam irons need a thorough clean every now and then.


How To Clean A Steam Iron

If your soleplate doesn’t look too corroded, reach for the baking soda first. Simply dampen a cloth and sprinkle the powder on top. Then rub the surface of the iron. The residue should loosen fairly quickly. Then wipe everything away with a second lightly damp cloth.

Another nifty trick is to use a tablet of Tylenol. Yes, Tylenol! Pick a generic version or name brand, either one will do, and turn your iron to its hottest setting. Then carefully press the pill right into the burnt gunk. As it melts, it will eliminate the spot. Wipe with a damp cloth and repeat if necessary, just watch your fingers or grip the tablet with a thick towel to avoid burning yourself. Oven mitts or heat protectant gloves could work, too, but avoid using anything metal like tweezers or pliers. These hard items can scratch the iron.

If clogged steam holes are your main culprit, grab a cotton swab and dip it in distilled white vinegar. They are usually small enough to fit in the holes and can remove gunk on the spot. Leave the iron off while using this method.


To clean the steam iron from the inside out, add a combination of half water have distilled white vinegar to your water reservoir. Turn the iron on and steam an old rag to collect the residue that comes out of the vents. You might be surprised at just how much is in there.

How to Prevent Gunk In Your Iron In the First Place

While it can be tempting to iron quickly and at the hottest temperature available to speed through the process, this can hurt both clothing and your iron. Certain types of fabrics, such as silk or nylon, require lower iron temperatures, while you can easily get away with hotter temperatures with cotton or linen.

Secondly, if you’re using a starch spray, give it a minute to soak into the fabric before hitting it with the iron.


Finding the Best Steam Iron

Conventional steam irons use hot steam to iron out creases quickly. Steam-ironing systems can tackle a large amount of clothing at one time. While highly effective, they take more time to heat up and can take up more space. When shopping around for the best steam iron, look for one that will best suit your household needs. How often will you be ironing and how much?

Once you get your iron nice and clean, you might find yourself looking for something to press!

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money. Checkout Don't Waste Your Money for product reviews and other great ideas to save and make money.