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
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
In the 40's, mom rubbed aluminum foil on the iron to clean it.
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Here are questions related to Cleaning a Clothes Iron.
How do you clean calcium deposits from a steam iron?
By Deborah from Washington, DC
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.
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 Lee06/18/2011
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.
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.
My iron has stopped steaming. Any suggestions to clean it?
By Sheila from Ontario
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.
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 J07/17/2010
Vinegar water. Fill it up and let it sit steaming, fill again.
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.
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 J03/04/2013
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?
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
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?
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.
How can you take rust off your steam iron?
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.
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? 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
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)
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?
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.
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?