Cleaning a steam iron now and then is important to keep it running smoothly. But if you have never cleaned a steam iron, you may not know where to start.
Luckily, cleaning an iron is a lot easier than it may appear. As long as you follow this step-by-step guide, your iron will be clean in no time at all.
Why Clean Your Iron?
Using your iron frequently can result in a build-up of minerals that come from water. These minerals can end up doing damage to your clothes, instead of smoothing them out.
While using distilled water for your iron can help prevent build-up, it’s still a good idea to clean the iron at least once a month. Cleaning your iron regularly will help you avoid the troublesome build-up, which can also cause damage to the iron itself.
The bottom of the iron, known as a soleplate, will also need cleaning. A dirty soleplate can result in even wrinklier clothes than you start with.
Cleaning both the inside and soleplate of your iron is an easy task, however, and cleaning them once a month won’t take you long to accomplish.
What You Need
Before you start cleaning your iron, there are a few tools that you will need beforehand.
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Distilled Water
- Toothpick or Toothbrush
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Each step of the cleaning process is important in ensuring your iron is clean inside and out.
Step One: Cleaning Solution
The cleaning solution you need to mix is an easy recipe. In a bowl, mix half a cup of the distilled white vinegar with half a cup of distilled water. Once you mix the solution, pour the liquid into your iron while it’s off.
Step Two: Check the Steam Vents
Along the bottom part of the iron are what we call stem vents or ducts. These little ducts are what allow the release of steam onto the clothes that you are ironing. Sometimes these ducts will have blockages that you need to remove.
To remove the blockages, you can use a toothbrush or a toothpick to clean the ducts. Sometimes the blockage is not big and therefore can be difficult to see. Any white spots or residue that you can see in the ducts may be a small blockage.
Try to avoid cleaning out any of the steam ducts with a metal object. The metal may end up scratching the iron or the soleplate.
Using a wooden toothpick should be gentle enough not to damage the iron at all. If you still feel nervous about scratching the iron, feel free to use a toothbrush.
Step Three: Steam It
The next part of cleaning an iron is to utilize the cleaning solution you put in the iron earlier. To activate the solution, you will need to steam it.
Start by plugging the iron in and turning on the steam functions. Give the iron a good five minutes to sit and heat up. After the five minutes is up, press and hold the steam button for about 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds, let go of the button and repeat the process at least five or six times. By running all of the steam through, you are cleaning the iron with the solution from earlier.
Step Four: Cool It
Once you complete the process of steaming the cleaning solution, you can unplug the iron. Go ahead and let the iron cool down for a while until it’s at a safe temperature.
When the iron is cool enough, you can dump out any remaining solution that is in the iron.
Step Five: Clean the Bottom
Cleaning the bottom of the iron, or the soleplate, is also easy.
While you can clean the inside of the iron and the soleplate separately, cleaning them both in one sitting will save you time. You can use baking soda and water to create a paste that will soften and disintegrate build-up on the soleplate.
Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with a tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Use tape to seal off the steam ducts to prevent the paste from entering the vents. Once you tape off the steam ducts, you can use the paste to scrub the soleplate.
You can also use distilled white vinegar as a way to clean the soleplate. However, the vinegar is a bit more abrasive on the soleplate than baking soda is.
Following this step-by-step guide to cleaning your iron will give you great results every time. Remember to clean your iron once a month if you use it consistently. A consistent cleaning schedule will help avoid build-up and technical issues.