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How to clean your iron and eliminate mineral spots

How to clean your iron and eliminate mineral spots
Posted at 3:30 AM, May 05, 2023

Sometimes the things that help us look our best actually need cleaning themselves. Take irons, for example. When they get clogged from the mineral residue left behind from water, they can splatter gunk all over your outfit. (Talk about a frustrating moment when you have to rewash a garment because of splatter.)

So how do you know if your iron needs descaling in the first place? Does it sputter when in steam mode? Do you see any chalky bits of material or stains that appear on your clothes while ironing? If you look at the metal or ceramic soleplate, can you see any clogged holes?

If you’re wondering how to clean an iron, don’t worry — it’s super easy. Just follow these steps.


Safety First

Before cleaning an iron, be sure it’s cool, unplugged and that the water receptacle is empty. Avoid using hard chemicals and abrasives, which can damage the soleplate and leave behind scratches. If you still have the manufacturer’s instructions, give them a quick read to see if specific cleaning directions are provided. Be cautious of using scouring pads, which can damage the soleplate. Non-scratch pads or towels are best.

Old Toothbrush And Dish Detergent Method

Using a soft old toothbrush, add a few drops of dish detergent and rub the brush along the soleplate holes. Use a damp paper towel to remove the soap and debris. If you don’t have an old toothbrush on hand, reach for a clean cotton swab or pipe cleaner instead.

female cleaning an iron

Try Using White Vinegar

To clean an iron using only a cloth and distilled white vinegar, simply dampen a clean rag with the vinegar and wipe it across the holes. If that doesn’t do the trick, lay the iron (soleplate down) on top of a rag that’s been soaked in vinegar for 15 minutes. This should be enough time to loosen the residue, allowing you to easily wipe it away with a fresh towel.

Reach For A Magic Eraser

Did you know that a Magic Eraser sponge can also wipe away hard water spots from your iron? Just dampen the sponge and remove the grime.

DIY Formula For Caked-on Gunk

Items needed:

  • Baking soda
  • water
  • rags (large and small)

For a gentle paste you can probably make on the fly with ingredients already on hand, mix 1 tablespoon of water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Using a small clean rag (or your fingers), carefully wipe the mixture onto the soleplate. Slowly remove the paste with a damp rag. Then add water to the reservoir, plug the iron in and set it to steam. Iron a clean, dry towel and press the steam button several times to ensure the steam holes have been thoroughly cleaned.

steam coming out of iron

After cleaning, your iron should glide across your clothes rather than tug.

Now that you know how to clean an iron, it’s a good idea to descale it every month. If you only use your iron now and then, you’ll only need to demineralize it every few months. The more you stay on top of cleaning it, the less likely you’ll end up needing to rewash something due to caked-on mineral residue.

This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Check out Simplemost for additional stories.