Cleaning a Clothes Iron

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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Yellow and white clothing iron next to a pile of clothes.
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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.

melted carpet fiber on iron
    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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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

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    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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    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

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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!

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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    In the 40's, mom rubbed aluminum foil on the iron to clean it.

    By Dahl_Kaiser

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    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

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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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    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

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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

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    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

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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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    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

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    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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    How do you clean calcium deposits from a steam iron?

    By Deborah from Washington, DC

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

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

    By Sheila from Ontario

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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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    How can you take rust off your steam iron?

    By Margaret

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    How do I clean the inside of a steam iron?

    By Bev


    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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    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


    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

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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


    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

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    How do I clean the bottom of a steam iron?

    By tazlady47 from Jackson, MI


    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

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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

    By Lizmoe


    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

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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    Home and Garden Cleaning MiscellaneousSeptember 2, 2011
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