A dirty clothes iron can damage your cloths so it is important to keep your iron clean.
Of course, you can go ahead and buy one of the iron cleaners available on the market, but there are ways to avoid that extra expense. Here are a few ideas to use, using what you might already have on hand.
To begin, the water reservoir should be cleaned regularly. To do this, simply heat the iron, then pour in a mix of water and white vinegar. Allow the iron to steam while ironing over a scrap rag. Drain this out and repeat the process one or two times more until the mineral spots are gone. When done, fill with clear water and iron over the rag to clear any remaining trace of vinegar.
If you prefer, you can simply fill the reservoir one-fourth full with white vinegar and using the steam feature, run the iron over a rag. As above, repeat this until all mineral spots are gone, then fill with clear water and iron over the rag until the reservoir is empty.
Running your iron over an old newspaper on its hottest setting will usually clean off most of the dirt and grime clinging to your iron’s faceplate. If not, you can wipe it off with a soft cloth and a spray of an all-purpose cleaner like 409.
If you want to avoid chemical cleaners, wipe the iron with a soft cloth dampened in white vinegar. Once the faceplate is cleaned to your satisfaction, wipe off the cleaner with a water dampened cloth.
Burnt starch on an iron is a simple fix. Using the dry iron setting (no steam) set to hottest temperature, iron firmly over a wet terrycloth rag or towel until the starch transfers to the cloth. You can also iron over a plain brown paper bag (with no print) which has been sprinkled with salt. The salt will clean the faceplate without scratching or damaging it. Once the faceplate is clean, wipe it with a damp cloth to remove any stray salt crystals.
To clean off oily residue, wipe the cooled iron face with a soft cloth and ammonia. Once the residue is cleaned away rinse off the ammonia.
Occasionally you might accidentally melt plastic or fabrics on your iron. This is not something to panic over. The plastic can be removed without damaging your faceplate. To do this, turn off your iron and allow it to cool. Run the cooled iron over a plain brown paper bag with no advertising print on it. This should clean off most of the melted material. If there is still some clinging to your faceplate, using a wooden skewer (like you would use to make kabobs) gently pry away the material. You can remove any dark staining caused by the melted material with a bit of vinegar and water
Finally clean out the steam vents on the faceplate. Be sure to unplug the iron for this. Let it cool down, then using a cotton tipped swab, gently wipe out the dirt and grime.
Keeping your iron clean and well maintained is important for the life of both your iron and your cloths, and it only takes a bit of time
Originally written for Helium.com. Posted to previous blog on Wednesday, June 10, 2009