Crafts, Recipes, Tips,
& Guides
Enter Contests
Share & Vote
Get Advice
Submit a

Cleaning a Clothes Iron

0 0EmailFollow
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.


Solutions: Cleaning a Clothes Iron

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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

Tip: Aluminum Foil For Cleaning Your Iron

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

By Dahl_Kaiser

Tip: Magic Eraser to Clean Iron

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

Give a "thumbs up" to the solution that worked the best! Do you have a better solution? Click here to share it!


Here are questions related to Cleaning a Clothes Iron.

Question: Burnt Starch off 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


Most Recent Answer

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.

Question: Iron Doesn't Produce Steam

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


Most Recent Answer

By Grandma J [46]07/17/2010

Vinegar water. Fill it up and let it sit steaming, fill again.

Question: Iron is Spitting White Debris

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

Most Recent Answer

By Grandma J [46]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!

Question: Rowenta Soleplate Cleaning Paste

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

Most Recent Answer

By Wendi03/23/2010

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

Question: How To Clean Steam Button On Iron

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

Most Recent Answer

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.

Question: Cleaning a Steam Iron Sole Plate

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

Most Recent Answer

By Maya Lee [9]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.

Question: Cleaning Steam Iron of Calcium Deposits

How do you clean calcium deposits from a steam iron?

By Deborah from Washington, DC

Most Recent Answer

By eleundhund [1]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.

Question: Deposits on Bottom of Irons

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 Brenda

Most Recent Answer

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.

Question: Cleaning a Clothes Iron

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

Most Recent Answer

By angelacawein [4]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.

Question: Cleaning a Steam Iron

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

By Sheila from Ontario

Most Recent Answer

By gbk [45]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.

Question: Cleaning Rust And Dirt From A Steam Iron

How can you take rust off your steam iron?

By Margaret

Most Recent Answer

By Lilac [18]05/14/2010

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.

Question: Cleaning a Burned 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.

By carms

Question: Cleaning My Iron

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.

Archive: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By patty114

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By Teresa

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By David

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By Becky

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

Thanks for the tip. The steel wool did a great job and didn't scratch my iron. It looks brand new! (01/15/2008)

By Trisha

Archive: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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

Tracie from Los Angeles, CA

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

I use a little bit of Bon-Ami with a soft wet cloth. (02/27/2008)

By txcatlover

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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: (02/27/2008)

By Cyinda

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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)

By Rita64

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

If it doesn't have Teflon coating on it, you can use stainless steel wool 000 on it. (03/01/2008)

By castleberrycc

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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

Archive: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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.

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

Your tip on cleaning the iron worked perfectly. Thank you very much. (08/07/2006)

By Steve

Archive: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

How do I remove the brownish, icky build up from the bottom of my iron?


Archive: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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

By Lizmoe

RE: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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


Archive: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

How do I clean the bottom of a steam iron?

By tazlady47 from Jackson, MI

RE: 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

RE: 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

Archive: Cleaning Your Steam 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.


Archive: Cleaning Your Steam Iron

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?