For many ironing is an integral part of the laundry process. The clothing is wash dried and finally pressed to perfection. For others an iron is used only for minor touch ups. Whether you use your iron on a regular basis or only occasionally, care, cleaning and general maintenance should be performed to ensure you will have your iron around for a long time. There are many types of irons available. They range from those with a steam feature to those without, cords or cordless, nonstick or not, the care and cleaning is the same unless otherwise noted.
Before you throw away your iron because it has a white scaly build-up or the silver bottom has turned brown, try cleaning it. Most times a thorough cleaning will restore your iron to good working condition.
Cleaning Your Steam Iron
Irons can develop a white scaly build-up on the bottom, in the steam holes, around the spray nozzle and in the reserve tank. This white scale build-up is the result of hard water or water with a high mineral content. White vinegar will remove the mineral deposits and build-up.
Fill the reservoir with white vinegar and plug the iron in to heat up.
After the iron has heated, iron an old towel. Use the steam setting and the spray nozzle to spray white vinegar onto the towel.
After the reservoir is empty, unplug the iron and repeat if there is still any white scale build-up.
Allow the iron to cool and add distilled water.
Iron the towel again, continue to use the steam function and spray nozzle.
Clean a Non Steam Iron
To remove a white scale build-up from a non-steam iron, dampen an old towel with white vinegar and press the towel.
To avoid a scaly build-up, use distilled water in your iron.
Clean Black or Brown On the Iron's Soleplate
Irons can also develop a brown or black burnt on coating which is generally due to starch or sizing. This can leave flecks of brown and black on your clothing. Fortunately it is easy to remove.
While your iron is unplugged, dip a clean, damp rag into baking soda or a white toothpaste, not the gel type.
Rub the baking soda or toothpaste into the bottom of the iron to clean. Baking soda and white toothpaste are mild abrasives and they will remove brown or black residue and stains from the bottom of an iron.
Use care to stay away from the steam holes because baking soda and white toothpaste can clog the steam holes.
The brown or black burnt on build-up can also be cleaned with salt.
Plug the iron in to heat it, spread a thin piece of fabric over your ironing surface and sprinkle approximately one teaspoon of salt over the fabric.
Move the hot iron back and forth and in a circular pattern over the salt. The salt with act as a mild abrasive and remove most types of build-up from the bottom of the iron. This method should not be used for a non-stick iron, the salt can damage the non-stick coating.
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance of an Iron
For regular cleaning and maintenance, wipe with a damp cloth when the iron is unplugged and has cooled.