How to Clean an Iron

Ironing clothes is a tedious household chore. But a crisp and wrinkle-free outfit makes you look and feel fabulous. Clothes directly impact our mood and influence others’ perceptions of us, and taking care of your clothes ensures they last longer.

Ironing clothes can also prolong the life of the garment itself. When you iron a garment, it helps the fibers soften and return to their original silhouette. Cuffs, jerseys, creases, and collars lose shape over time. Run the iron with parallel strokes to regain lost form. Ironing also gets rid of mold and germs. 

It is not financially practical to send all your clothes to the laundromat every time you need ironing. A family can spend over $500 annually on just dry cleaners. Every household must have an iron and ironing board, and all members must participate in laundering. 

How to keep your iron clean

Without proper care, your iron will gather dust, dirt, and rust. You may be tempted to throw away an old iron and replace it with a new one. But with a few easy cleaning hacks, you could make your iron last longer. 

  • Baking soda. Make a thick, smooth paste with baking soda and water. Use a soft toothbrush, scrub, or cloth to clean the iron with the baking soda paste. This will eliminate any gunk you find in the bottom of your iron or soleplate. Use a dry clean cloth to wipe away any remaining paste before you use the iron on your clothes. 
  • Nail polish remover. Acetone is a great way to remove gunk from your flat iron. Switch on your iron and let it heat up. Soak cotton balls in acetone to clean the soleplate. Wear oven mitts while handling a hot iron. 
  • Vinegar. Vinegar works well with baking soda to eliminate not just gunk but also any foul smells coming from your iron. Soak a towel in baking soda mixed with vinegar. Run your iron over it. Do not switch on the iron for this process. 
  • Regular cleaning. Clean your iron at least once a month to avoid gunk buildup. You can use a few drops of dishwasher or laundry detergent and water for a regular cleaning session. Wipe with a clean and soft cotton towel after. Only use your iron after it is fully dry. 
  • Steam irons. Most modern irons have a steam feature, so you need to add water to your iron. A steam iron requires regular cleaning. Mix vinegar with water to create your cleaning solution. Pour it inside your unplugged iron. Switch on. After a few minutes, release the steam. Repeat a few times. Switch off. Wipe your iron clean once it cools down. 
  • Ice. Surprised? You can actually use ice to remove melted plastic from your iron. Place your iron in a bath of ice cubes. Leave it for about ten minutes. Once the plastic hardens, use a blunt surface like a plastic knife to scrape it off. 
  • Steam holes. The steam holes in your iron can become breeding grounds for germs and mold. Use cotton swabs dipped in a solution of vinegar and water or detergent to clean out the steam holes regularly. 

How to store your iron

Storing your iron correctly will ensure it remains usable for a long time. Once you are done using your iron, unplug it and let it cool down completely. Suppose you have a steam iron; pour out the hot water and allow the steam to dry it out. Be careful while handling hot iron. Keep the iron in an upright position in a clean and cool area. Wrap the cord around the iron and store it in a cool, dry place. Always keep the iron in an upright position while storing. 

Things to remember

Here are three essential tips to remember before you start cleaning your iron. 

  1. Distilled water. Use distilled water to clean your iron because tap water contains minerals that may clog your iron and cause damage. This, in turn, will damage your precious garments. 
  2. Cleaning products. You can easily find cleaning products at home and do not need to invest in expensive products. Vinegar and baking soda are cheap and foolproof. 
  3. No hard surfaces. Refrain from using hard surfaces to clean your iron, such as paper clips or a kitchen knife. You will end up with a scratched soleplate. 

Is it worth the effort?

Keeping your household clean and organized is always a good idea. Since your iron is part of your laundering process- keeping it clean is worth the effort. A clean iron is better for your clothes and your family’s health. Over time your iron will collect dust, dirt, and rust and can even become the breeding ground for mold. Since your clothes touch your skin- you do not want your iron passing on germs to your garments. Keeping your iron clean is easy and can be done with household products for cheap.