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.
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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
In the 40's, mom rubbed aluminum foil on the iron to clean it.
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
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Here are questions related to Cleaning a Clothes Iron.
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 Red Neck (Guest Post) 10/22/2008
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.
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
By Grandma J  07/17/2010
Vinegar water. Fill it up and let it sit steaming, fill again.
My Black & Decker iron is spitting white stuff. I can't find the booklet that tells me how to fix this problem. Help.
By Grandma J  03/04/2013
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!
Where can I find more Rowenta paste to clean my iron? Or can I mix up my own paste? What are the ingredients?
By Wendi 03/23/2010
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
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 Sandy (Guest Post) 07/17/2008
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?
By Maya Lee  06/18/2011
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.
How do you clean calcium deposits from a steam iron?
By Deborah from Washington, DC
By eleundhund  07/27/2010
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.
By Panda R. 12/02/2014
Downy and tide does leave behind residue which will deposit on the iron, however if your new iron get deposits so fast, you must be using too much detergent and downy. Good to ruse them sparingly.
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?
By angelacawein  12/09/2013
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 gbk  10/10/2012
Pure white vinegar and let it set or buy coffee pot cleaner from store. The vinegar must set in the iron to dissolve the deposits.
How can you take rust off your steam 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
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
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
How do I clean the brown burnt on stuff on the plate of my steam iron?
Tracie from Los Angeles, CA
By Lynn Beth
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.
How do I remove the brownish, icky build up from the bottom of my iron?
How can I get dried sticky stuff off the bottom of my iron?
How do I clean the bottom of a steam iron?
By tazlady47 from Jackson, MI
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.