Keeping up appearances with crinkle-free clothes means one thing; an iron. But even irons can get a buildup of grease and sticky residue, which is why it’s important to know how to clean an iron.
The soleplate (the bottom of the iron) is the main area you’ll need to pay attention to. But also, if you don’t clean the water tank of your iron, you can get the same buildup of limescale you might see in your kettle or around your bath.
Manufacturers actually recommend you clean the limescale from your iron every one to three months, depending how often you use it.
By keeping your iron clean, you’ll not just extend the life of your appliance, but also avoid stains on your clothes.
These simple tips are all easy ways to keep your iron clean without using any special chemicals.
1. Remove dirt with newspaper
The soleplate of the iron can get covered in a greasy buildup. But, don’t worry… You can easily remove this with just a piece of newspaper!
Simply warm up the iron, then, using gloves or an oven mitt, rub a piece of crumpled up newspaper on the dirt. It should come off easily leaving you with a nice clean iron.
2. Baking soda mixture
Bicarbonate of soda or baking soda are both excellent and natural cleaning products. To clean an iron with baking soda, simply make a paste using two or three tablespoons of powder to one tablespoon of water.
Rub the baking soda paste all over the iron’s soleplate when cool, using a cloth or clean rag. Leave for half a minute and then clean it off with a clean damp cloth. Ta-da! No more grimy iron.
3. Soap and water
Yes, you can easily remove grime from the iron’s soleplate simply using soap and water. Use a cloth or non-scratch scrubber and some hot soapy water to spot clean the offending area. You can do this with a cool iron, or to make it slightly easier you can warm the iron up and then switch it off to clean it. Remember to use gloves if you’re cleaning a warm iron.
4. Treat with salt
Lay a piece of kitchen paper on your ironing board and then sprinkle generously with sea salt. Warm up your iron to a medium heat and then iron the salty kitchen paper. You might need to do this a couple of times to remove all of the dirt. Once the iron has cooled, rub with a damp cloth to remove the salt residue.
Sometimes your iron can get a little buildup of grease that stops it from gliding smoothly. The best way to polish this dirt off your iron is with a little bit of vinegar.
Soak a cloth or clean rag is white vinegar and then rub over the soleplate to polish the base. You can also leave the iron resting on the vinegar soaked cloth for at least half an hour and then polish the dirt off.
Another great way to spot clean your iron is using toothpaste. Use plain white toothpaste (do not use gel or coloured toothpaste) and a damp cloth to remove dirt spots or build-up. Once you’ve cleaned the toothpaste off, clean the soleplate with a clean damp cloth.
If you’ve cleaned the nozzles, put the iron on and press the steam button to remove anything that might have got into the holes.
7. Remove limescale from the water tank
If there is dirt coming out of your iron when you press the steam button, this is most likely a build up of limescale. You can easily clean this using white vinegar and distilled (boiled and cooled) water.
Add one part vinegar and one part water to the water reservoir, and heat the iron to maximum. Hold the iron over an old towel or basin and then press the steam button until the tank is empty. For particularly stubborn build-up, perhaps in hard water areas, you might need to do this a couple of times.
To remove any vinegar that might be left inside the tank, do the same process with plain distilled (pre-boiled and cooled) water.
Tips for cleaning your iron
You should never use anything abrasive to clean the base plate of your iron as this can damage it. So, avoid scouring pads, toothbrushes or anything that might scratch the soleplate.
If your iron has a Teflon base plate then avoid using any abrasive materials like salt or baking soda.
You can use limescale remover chemicals to clean your iron water reservoir. Follow the instructions of the pack and remember to clean through with clean distilled water afterwards to avoid chemicals on your clothes.
Remember to give your iron a routine clean on a monthly basis to avoid a build up of dirt and grime.