Starch and other laundry products can build up on your iron. It is important to remove any build up to prevent it from transferring to your clothing. This is a guide about cleaning a clothes iron.
By Ron 181
To remove burned on starch from the iron place a towel dampened with vinegar on the ironing board and sprinkle generously with table salt. Set iron on warm dry setting and run over a towel until the stain is removed.
Clean gunk off the surface of an iron by polishing gently with 0000 grade steel wool. Don't try this with a non-stick iron. If iron surface is dull, polish with Pearl Drops or other toothpaste.
To clean mineral deposits from a steam iron, fill it with a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar. Allow it to steam for several minutes, disconnect, and let stand for an hour. Empty the reservoir, rinse well, and repeat if necessary.
By fossil1955 from Cortez, CO
Good afternoon. I iron and starch my clothes every day. Recently, I got burnt starch on my iron, and I cannot use it. Does anyone know how to get that burnt starch of the iron? Please Help. Thank you.
JD from Atlanta
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
October 22, 2008
To get spray starch or sizing off of an iron, set the iron for dry ironing (no steam) and maximum temperature. When good and hot, rub it firmly on a wet terry cloth towel. The gunk will steam off the iron and transfer to the towel. This is better than steel wool pads, which can get rust and soap gunk down into the steam vents which will release on clothing later.
If you have built up gunk on your iron and absolute foolproof method to clean it is a Magic Eraser. I have tried lots of things through the years but this works amazingly well.
Source: A blog on the internet
By Elaine S. from Near Cedar Rapids, IA
By Kathy 1
We have a steam iron that we haven't used for about a year. Before putting it away, we emptied the water from the reservoir. Now we are trying to get it to steam, but it won't. Any tips for cleaning it? We have only used this iron a couple of times.
By Kathy from Columbus, OH
July 17, 2010
Vinegar water. Fill it up and let it sit steaming, fill again.
By betes51 13
My Black & Decker iron is spitting white stuff. I can't find the booklet that tells me how to fix this problem. Help.
March 4, 2013
I think the diagnosis was correct, and the first aid for the iron is simply distilled vinegar rinse, maybe a couple times. But irons come with instructions to not use tap water but distilled all the time. I pick up a gallon at the grocery and just put iron only on it. Many times 'those' preparing worm beds, etc want to grab what I use for the iron, so by labeling it "Iron Only", they can't be sure!
In the 40's, mom rubbed aluminum foil on the iron to clean it.
Where can I find more Rowenta paste to clean my iron? Or can I mix up my own paste? What are the ingredients?
March 23, 2010
HI. I just use plain white toothpaste (not the gel or speciality brands). Heat up you iron. Squeeze about some toothpaste onto an old terry cloth towel (not a smooth one) and "iron". Use the steam function of the iron so the vents get cleaned. Hope this helps. W
By john 1
The steam button of my steam iron is rather sticky and does not come up when I press it unless I pull it up myself.
How do I clean it?
John from Athens, Greece
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
July 17, 2008
I dropped my iron on the carpet which consisted of man made materials and the iron immediately melted the carpeting to the bottom of my iron. I took a paper towel with a generous amount of everyday rubbing alcohol and wiped the bottom and it peeled right off. The rest of the cleaning needed a bit of elbow grease but it cleaned beautifully. My iron was still warm to the touch so do not know if that was a plus factor or not. Don't be skimpy with the alcohol.
I have a film of junk on the bottom of my iron from an unknown source. Is there anyway to remove it or do I have to throw out my iron?
June 18, 2011
Once you clean the iron, heat it up to Warm and iron over a sheet of waxed paper. It will make the iron iron smoother. After the waxed paper, iron it on a paper towel to remove excess wax.
By Deborah 1
How do you clean calcium deposits from a steam iron?
By Deborah from Washington, DC
July 27, 2010
You will need a mild acid, such as vinegar, breaking down the lime, or vitamin C or lemon juice.
all family friendly and should not leave any stains on your cloth after clearing with water afterward.
Recently I have been getting bad rust, or whatever, deposits on the bottom of my iron. I've used distilled water all of my ironing career and never had this problem. It ruined my last iron and I bought another one.
The very first time I used the new iron, the deposits returned. I was able to clean most of it off this time. This should not happen with a brand new iron.
I am beginning to believe that the cause of this problem is not a water/dirt issue, but rather something in the Tide detergent, or Downy fabric softener I use. I know they will not want to hear this, but if I'm right, they have a problem. I am doing some tests by using other detergent brands to see what happens.
I accidentally ironed the sticky side of some fabric interfacing with my iron. It melted to the iron and left a mess. I have cleaned with salt, vinegar, steel wool, and Barkeepers Friend. Each of these removed the spot, the bottom was shiny and smooth. However, when I heat up the iron, then the sticky brown spot reappears. Is my iron ruined?
December 9, 2013
Have you ironed anything since this happened? You might try getting an old towel and getting it damp, have your iron on the highest setting and keep running the iron over the towel. I have done that myself and after tearing up a few irons, using steel wool and other cleaners, have found this trick to be most useful. It could be the spot your seeing is from the cleaners removing the protective coating on the iron. It might still be ok to use if it doesn't damage clothing. You could also put a sheet or rag sized sheet on top of the area you want to iron so it doesn't damage the clothing and if there is any sticky stuff it will be left on the sheet and not on your item.
My iron has stopped steaming. Any suggestions to clean it?
By Sheila from Ontario
By margaret 1
How can you take rust off your steam iron?
May 14, 2010
Sometimes you can find iron cleaner in the stores. It is a tube of cream like "Goop" that you put on a cloth and rub across a hot iron. It cleans it like new. However if the rust is coming out of the iron because you have used water with minerals in it, it will happen again. Always use distilled water in your iron.
I was ironing my uniform, when I adjusted the heat capacity of the iron. I set it on level 2, but the clothes had no reaction to its heat so I adjusted it again to level 4 and unfortunately it burned a part of the uniform. My concern is not the burned uniform, but the mess it got to the surface of the iron. It looks like plastic got burned into it, but it was actually cloth. How can I clean the surface of the iron without damaging it? Help me please.
How can I clean spray on starch from the bottom of my ionic coated base plate - Lumina brand iron? The base is neither Teflon, nor stainless steel, but a cream colour.
By Judy B from Brighton Q
How do get my brand new iron clean? It already has that gunky dark-brown build-up that makes it impossible to iron some nicer fabrics.
Kim from Crawford, CO
Fill your steam iron with white vinegar and heat to highest setting and let steam for 5 minutes then turn it off and let sit until cool. Pour the vinegar out and wipe bottom of iron off then turn it back on and iron over a wash cloth to make sure no sediment leaks out before using it.. (04/05/2007)
A Mr. Clean sponge works miracles. I use them on almost everything and they are great! Just be careful on walls, they can take off dried paint. (04/09/2007)
Using a cold iron, toothpaste with a soft cloth will remove really burned on residue in minutes. Doesn't scratch, and doesn't require much elbow grease. (09/04/2007)
Make a paste with water and baking soda, gently clean the sole plate. When it is gunk free rinse the residue away. Iron over a cloth before using on clothes. (10/01/2007)
Thanks for the tip. The steel wool did a great job and didn't scratch my iron. It looks brand new! (01/15/2008)
How do I clean the brown burnt on stuff on the plate of my steam iron?
Tracie from Los Angeles, CA
I use a little bit of Bon-Ami with a soft wet cloth. (02/27/2008)
FAULTLESS HOT IRON CLEANER $2.79 at Walmart. I have a nice Black & Decker Iron I was lucky enough to find at a Thrift Store. I use it nearly every day when I sew & BOY, was I ever bummer out when I made the stupid mistake of ironing on the wrong side of iron-on interfacing. This stuff bonds to your iron just like hard Plastic & NOTHING will take it off! "What do I do?" I asked the fabric-gal at Walmart, & she told me to buy "Faultless Iron Cleaner" which is sold where the irons are sold (at Walmart) for only $2.79 for a pack of 2. This stuff worked MIRACLES & I only needed half a tube! I still have another tube & a half left!
The Faultless Hot Iron Cleaner made my iron glide better & smother than a brand-new iron! It's truly a wonderful product! (& at $2.79, the price isn't bad either!) Just follow the directions on the package.
To buy FAULTLESS IRON CLEANER online:
Wrap a block of paraffin in a piece of cotton cloth. Heat the iron just till it will melt the paraffin and "iron" the block. My mother always kept one of these on the end of her ironing board and so do I. Works like magic. (02/29/2008)
If it doesn't have Teflon coating on it, you can use stainless steel wool 000 on it. (03/01/2008)
I second the vote for Faultless Hot Iron Cleaner. It gets all the gunk off the plate. It won't clean the inside, but the outside will look like new. Just make sure you use an old towel or rag with it, because you won't be able to use the towel again. (03/03/2008)
By Lynn Beth
This forum is great. I bought a top-of-the-line Rowenta and now the sole plate has gunk on it. I am going to try the stuff from Walmart. Thanks from a straight guy who loves to iron. (05/16/2008)
By G. Coop
To clean the bottom of an iron, use A dry or damp (non soap) SOS or steel wool pad. Scrub the bottom until it is clean. Use toothpicks to clean the holes. After you are done cleaning, turn your iron on low (no steam) & run it over a piece of waxed paper. You will have a very smooth iron with no sticking. I have done this for all of my 30 yrs as a seamstress. It has never failed me. Please let me know how it works for you.
Your tip on cleaning the iron worked perfectly. Thank you very much. (08/07/2006)
How do I remove the brownish, icky build up from the bottom of my iron? It is getting on my clothing and in some fabrics. I have tried steel wool, vinegar, baking soda and elbow grease. Is it time to buy a new iron?
Peggy from Smithfield, UT
If you have some around, you can try ironing several fabric softener dryer sheets (with a towel under them) while your iron is fairly hot. But I still prefer the Faultless Hot Iron Cleaner for only $2.79 at Walmart. It never fails. It even removes melted-on plastic & interfacing. (06/22/2008)
<img src="/images/feedback_image.lasso?id=66296243" width="280" height="280" alt="RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron">
If I remember correctly, in the old days, we used to put salt on a piece of wax paper and with a warm iron go back and forth to remove the goop, clean out the holes and then pass the iron over a clean piece of wax paper. Really thrifty and the iron was smooth again. (06/22/2008)
The walmart product - faultless iron cleaner - works like a miracle. I tried everything and was ready to throw the iron away. When I read the post about it and tried it, I was amazed at how simple it is to use and how effective it is. Thanks to all of you who recommended it. (06/29/2008)
Thanks so much for the suggestion. I must have worked for an hour trying to get the gunk off my iron after ironing wonder under with it. I will now try this hopefully magical substance from Faultless. (08/20/2008)
I must be the only one who doesn't know how to use the Wal*Mart Faultless cleaner, because I have used 4 tubes so far and my iron is still dirty! Some miracle. I followed the directions and although it did get quite a bit of the gunk off it still isn't completely clean.
I'm contemplating whether to try a 5th tube but the fourth one didn't remove much. It's so close to getting completely clean it's quite frustrating. No one said it was going to take so many tubes. I'd like to scrub it with something but not sure what to use, I don't have steel wool. (10/12/2008)
In the old days, we used to get a spray of cedar off the cedar tree out in the back yard and iron over it with a hot iron. It made the iron very slick. (01/10/2009)
Thanks so much to all of you who bother to write their advice. I suppose it depends on what is the black stuff on the iron made of. I tried the nail varnish remover; it didn't work. But I had at home this "Bar Keepers friend" that someone had mentioned, and it did work. On a clean damp cloth, the product making a little paste, and rub, rub, rub. It all came off! Thanks for the idea. I wouldn't have thought of it. (01/19/2009)
I saw the Faultless Hot Iron Cleaner (the exact item pictured here) today at Bed, Bath & Beyond in Columbus, OH. I think it was $2.99. (02/01/2009)
Cleaning the iron with steel wool and wax paper worked so well! Thank you :) (02/22/2009)
I tried the SOS a week or so ago and it was a bit of a pain because the soap got stuck in the holes, and then I needed to clean all the holes out. Plus the iron seems to get dirty real quick afterward.
Just tried the fabric softener suggestion. I laid 3-4 bounce fabric softener sheets on an old rag towel and ran the iron back and forth across the top of the bounce sheets. It worked best when I actually laid the towel on the edge of my granite counter top - I was able to apply more pressure that way. Be careful to keep your iron on medium because the fabric softener sheet will melt. This technique got almost every drop off. I had one small spot left and I turned the iron off, waited a minute but while still warm, rubbed one of those little green kitchen scratchy pads over the spot and it came right off.
I wish I had some wax paper or paraffin handy, because I think the key to keeping an iron clean is to make sure the bottom remains slick. (03/28/2009)
How can I get dried sticky stuff off the bottom of my iron?
I just use an SOS pad on a cold iron, then wipe with a clean cloth. (04/28/2009)
How do I clean the bottom of a steam iron?
By tazlady47 from Jackson, MI
I could be off the mark, but I would probably try baking soda. I know it'll take that nasty caramelized grease off my stove around the burners and it doesn't scratch the stove. Make sure the iron is really warm, dampen a cloth and keep dipping it in the soda and rubbing the iron until it comes clean. (07/01/2009)
For years the method to clean the bottom of steam irons has been this: one large piece of waxed paper and salt.
Place the waxed paper on the ironing board, sprinkle a lot of salt on the waxed paper. Using the pre-heated steam iron setting, iron the salt that covers the waxed paper. Do this over and over until the bottom is cleaned. If necessary, use a second piece of waxed paper and salt, and repeat. Use a damp washcloth to remove any residue from the bottom of the iron. Have fun. (07/03/2009)
My son tried numerous times to iron, but would always let the clothes burn. Now the iron has black stuff on it. How can I get it off? Thanks.
By mynyrose from Los Angeles, CA
Try cleaning the bottom with coarse sand, put into a large container like an aluminum turkey pan about 1 inch deep, turn the iron on the highest setting and "iron" the sand with good pressure. Do "not" lift the iron up on end, keep it flat as so no sand can get into the steam vents on the bottom. Afterward soak a hand towel in vinegar and wring out. Put protective covering on the iron board and on high heat once again iron until dry this will remove any left over build up, etc. Best of luck to you. (09/13/2009)
By Beau D
I have used a glass container that had a little clear fizzy liquid (Coke) to add water to the iron. Now when I use the iron it sputters a sticky substance. I need to clean it. Can someone tell me how?
By Ravi from Pretoria, South Africa
Your steam iron can be cleaned effectively with a mixture of white vinegar and water. Pour mixture into the iron and turn on the steam, and run your iron over an old cloth. The rust like particles will come out of the holes. When it's cleaned out, pour in water and do the same thing. (12/26/2009)
How do I clean the inside of a steam iron?
Pour a mixture of water and white vinegar in your iron, then let it steam. Run your iron over a piece of old cloth and you will notice specks of built up sediment that come out of the holes. (03/08/2010)