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Cleaning a Clothes Iron

Category Miscellaneous
Yellow and white clothing iron next to a pile of clothes.
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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By 10 found this helpful
October 7, 2010

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.

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By fossil1955 from Cortez, CO

Comment Was this helpful? 10
October 29, 20110 found this helpful

They make a steam iron cleaner that is inexpensive, lasts a long time and can be bougut in most grocery stores. It comes in a tube, you rub it on a hot iron with a cloth and the iron comes as clean and shiny as new.

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October 29, 20110 found this helpful

They make a steam iron cleaner that is inexpensive and leaves your iron as clean and shiny as new. It comes in a tube and you rub it on a hot iron with a soft cloth. It can be bought in most supermarkets. It lasts a long time.

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October 29, 20110 found this helpful

Great advice. I absolutely love the many uses of vinegar!

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November 1, 20110 found this helpful

Ha! Just in the last week and a half I tackled the iron cleaning task. I tried more than one method personally on 2 different household irons. Trust me, get the suggested "Hot Iron Cleaner" from your local (ugh, I know...) Walmart. It costs approx $2.47 to $3.47 prices may vary demographically.

The brand is 'Faultless' and it comes in a small tube. Repeated applications maybe necessary for thick build-up, but I promise much less elbow grease is required! Well worth the wait until your next trip to the store just make sure you put it on your shopping list or else (if anything like me) you'll forget it was one of the main reasons you went......lol. Sad, but true!

I make lists for almost everything these days! With our economy, some of us just cannot afford a bunch of knicks, knacks and patty whacks that we really can live without! This item is necessity, especially if you've cut the expense of the cleaners and do your own ironing these days. Good luck all.

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By 2 found this helpful
November 2, 2011

In the 40's, mom rubbed aluminum foil on the iron to clean it.

By Dahl_Kaiser

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November 2, 20110 found this helpful

You can purchase a tube of iron cleaner in the supermarket. It is designed to clean your iron without damaging the surface in any way. It is cheap and lasts a long time.

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March 17, 20130 found this helpful

This guide is about removing rust from steam iron. Having rust in or on your iron can stain your clothing.

Steam Iron

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 28, 20050 found this helpful

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
March 28, 20050 found this helpful

http://www.dryc  DrycleanTips.htm

I found this website that might help you!

Their soultion is: Try heating equal parts of vinegar and salt in a small pan. Rub the solution on a cool iron, and wipe dry.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 28, 20050 found this helpful

While my iron was cold I used an sos pad to clean it then I buffed it up, looks brand new.

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March 28, 20050 found this helpful

Dip a wet cloth in baking soda and clean your iron then rinse it off with clean water.

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 18, 20050 found this helpful

the sos pad worked great..iron good as new. Thanks Joyce

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 22, 20050 found this helpful

at http://kitchen.  LaundryTips.html Robbie says to use aluminum foil on your iron.

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 13, 20060 found this helpful

Heat the iron to a nonsteam, medium heat before cleaning. Sprinkle a generous layer of table salt over a brown grocery bag (use one that has no writing on the top surface). The salt is abrasive and will remove residue. Iron over the salt to remove starch and debris from the surface of the iron.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 12, 20060 found this helpful

DON'T use sodium hypochlorite, undiluted, and ammomium hydrochloride.

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 29, 20080 found this helpful

Does anyone know how to remove a stain from clothing from iron residue? It is a white collar.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 23, 20080 found this helpful

A Mr Clean Magic Eraser did the job for me!

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 22, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 2, 2013

My Black & Decker iron is spitting white stuff. I can't find the booklet that tells me how to fix this problem. Help.

By betes51

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March 4, 20130 found this helpful

Sounds like mineral deposit build up in the reservoir from using tap water. Usually steam iron owners alternate between tap and distilled water to prevent build up.

You can mix some vinegar with distilled water (half and half ratio) and run that through your iron two or three times or until the white spitting stops, then run plain distilled water a few more times to rinse the vinegar smell from the reservoir.

Going forward remember to alternate tap and distilled water when using the steam feature.

You can download your user manual here (US, use the 'global' tab if not in the US), use the search function to find the one for your model:

http://www.blac  com/Manuals.aspx

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March 4, 20130 found this helpful

I agree with the previous poster - mineral deposit. You can also get a special solution (just another sort of acid, like vinegar) to run through your iron. I'd go with the vinegar, as suggested, although I might use a stronger solution - 1/2 and 1/2? Do the job faster. I think you will find that most steam irons are supposed to use distilled water all the time. Any amount of tap water will eventually build up a deposit. Alternating distilled with tap will only delay the accumulation, not prevent it.

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March 4, 20130 found this helpful

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!

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By 0 found this helpful
March 18, 2010

Where can I find more Rowenta paste to clean my iron? Or can I mix up my own paste? What are the ingredients?

By Angela

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March 19, 20100 found this helpful

I use Bon Ami powder from the grocery store and have had good results.

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March 19, 20100 found this helpful

Clean the Soleplate with Baking Soda

You can clean your iron without the cleaning kit. Combine a tablespoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of salt and enough white vinegar to make a paste. Apply it to a cool iron. Place an old bath towel over the ironing board. Turn the iron on the highest setting and rub it over the towel so the baking soda scrubs the soleplate of the iron as it heats up. Turn on the steam so the vents get cleaned. Scrape the iron against the edge of the ironing board for extra-tough deposits. Cool the iron and use as usual. Good luck.

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March 23, 20100 found this helpful

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

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By 0 found this helpful
September 17, 2007

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

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 17, 20070 found this helpful

Maybe a little alcohol on a Q-tip?

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 17, 20070 found this helpful

What is"Q-tip"?

Editor's Note Q-Tip is a brand name for a cotton swab. A cardboard stick with cotton on the ends.

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 17, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 6, 2011

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 Linda

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
June 7, 20110 found this helpful

I'm guessing that the 'junk' on the sole plate is either spray starch or sizing, while the iron is warm, spray the plate with same, then use a non-scratching scrubber to remove the 'junk' residue. If that doesn't work, try Vinegar or Goop Off, but I'm pretty sure that the first method will work. (What else could it be?)

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June 18, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 20, 2016

I was temporarily ironing on the floor using an improvised DIY ironing board I made using a wooden chopping board with a tea-towel on it, which was absolutely fine. Then oops, the iron accidently decided to jump onto the carpet (as they do) and I had to rescue the iron and also the carpet from excess attachment issues as they started to melt into each other.

The burn to the carpet fortunately wasn't that bad and I managed to trim it with nail scissors and brush it a bit and it's not that noticable. However my iron now has plastic residue from the burnt and melted bits of carpet which I have no idea how to clean off. I've checked all of the advice for cleaning irons I've found online so far all centres around cleaning it from either rust or calcium deposits, but doesn't have anything to do with melted plastic carpet residues.

Alternatively looking up people burning their carpet with an iron, everyone discusses how to deal with the carpet but never with the iron. Any advice out there how to clean my iron from the bits of melted plastic carpet on it now? Many thanks in advance.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 5, 20170 found this helpful

I used one of the nylon pan cleaners the little scratch Pad cleaners for pots and pans. Not the copper or silver one.

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April 16, 20140 found this helpful

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.

Thanks.

By Brenda

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December 2, 20140 found this helpful

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.

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December 8, 20130 found this helpful

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 Sarah

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
December 9, 20130 found this helpful

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 30, 2012

My iron has stopped steaming. Any suggestions to clean it?

By Sheila from Ontario

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October 10, 20120 found this helpful

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.

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November 12, 20140 found this helpful

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.

By carms

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

June 3, 20140 found this helpful

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

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 7, 20100 found this helpful

How do I clean the inside of a steam iron?

By Bev

Answers:

Cleaning Your 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)

By MCW

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March 8, 20100 found this helpful

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

Answers:

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By MCW

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December 25, 20090 found this helpful

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

Answers:

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

September 7, 20090 found this helpful

How do I clean the bottom of a steam iron?

By tazlady47 from Jackson, MI

Answers:

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By SusanLee

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By Barb in Tennessee

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July 1, 20090 found this helpful

How can I get dried sticky stuff off the bottom of my iron?

By Lizmoe

Answers:

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

I just use an SOS pad on a cold iron, then wipe with a clean cloth. (04/28/2009)

By PICO

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

April 21, 20090 found this helpful

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

Answers:

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By Cyinda

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By Angela39

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By fred

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By Joyce

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By Irene

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By Mary

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By JimG

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

Cleaning the iron with steel wool and wax paper worked so well! Thank you :) (02/22/2009)

By Wendy

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By jwillmot

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June 22, 20080 found this helpful

How do I clean the brown burnt on stuff on the plate of my steam iron?

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February 27, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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April 4, 20070 found this helpful

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.

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