How to Clean a Steam Iron

A dirty iron is an infallible way to ruin your outfit. If you don’t clean an iron properly and take good care of it, your iron will leave your garment with marks and stains. To make sure you don’t damage your clothes, here are some helpful tips on how you can clean your steam iron to keep it functioning in top shape.

How Often To Clean a Steam Iron

You can ask yourself these questions if you are curious if your steam iron needs cleaning:

  1. Are there marks or rusty stains on the area where you glided your iron?
  2. Is the water being sprayed from the water reservoir brownish in color?
  3. Does your iron glide smoothly over the fabric?
  4. Is there residue on the soleplate?

If you answered yes to the first two questions, then you should flush your iron to remove any mineral deposits from the water reservoir. It is usually recommended to flush your iron at least twice a year. Always use distilled water as using tap water in the steam iron clogs the steam vents.

If you answered yes to the last two questions too, then you also need to clean the soleplate of your iron. As you iron, starch and even synthetic fabrics can stick to its soleplate. When the iron is hot, the residues that are baked get stuck on the plate.

How Do You Unclog a Steam Iron

So if your iron sprays dirty water instead of fresh steam, here’s an inexpensive and safe guide on how to clean your steam iron. All you need are the following items:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Distilled water
  • Toothpick or an old toothbrush
  • Cotton swab
  • A clean damp cloth or towel

Here’s how you do it:

1. Check the Steam Holes for Residues

Place the iron upright and look for any white residue in the steam holes. Remove build-ups using an old toothbrush, toothpick, or cotton swab. Wipe the iron’s soleplate using a clean and damp cloth or towel. Metals should not be used to clean the soleplate as it could damage the iron’s plate.

2. Prepare the Cleaning Solution

In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup of distilled water and 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar. Fill the iron’s water reservoir with this solution. Make sure that the iron is unplugged.

3. Steam Your Iron to Loosen Mineral Deposits

Turn on the iron and select the steam feature to allow it to steam. Wait for it to heat for about five minutes. Press the steam button again for 30 seconds. Allow the steam to flow out of the steam vents. Repeat the procedure at least six times.

4. Cool Your Iron and Remove the Remaining Cleaning Solution

Unplug your iron and allow it to cool. Once it’s cool, open the water reservoir and pour out any remaining cleaning solution. Empty the reservoir and let it drain by placing it in an upside-down position for at least one hour.

How Do You Clean The Base of a Steam Iron

Hard abrasives or any metal should never be used when cleaning the iron to avoid scratching its plate. Once the aluminum plating of the steam plate is scratched, it will get rusty and will cause staining on the fabric. Clean your iron regularly, especially if you are using laundry starch.

You can use the following items to clean your iron’s soleplate:

Baking Soda

Make a cleaning paste by mixing baking soda with water. Use a clean cloth to dip it onto the cleaning mixture. Rub it on the soleplate to remove the gunk and grease and scrub away. Using a clean cloth dipped in water, rinse the soleplate and remove any remaining cleaning mixture.

Distilled White Vinegar and Salt

Mix distilled water and salt to make a paste. Get a microfiber cloth and rub the mixture on the soleplate to remove excess build-up. Quick tip to remove those pesky build-ups– you can spread the paste on the surface and let it soak for at least 10 minutes. Then you can wipe away the mixture with a clean damp cloth.

Newspaper and Salt

Turn on your iron and set it to warm. On an ironing board, layout the newspaper and sprinkle it with salt. Iron on top of the salt and newspaper in circular motions until you remove most of the salt. Turn off and unplug the iron. Wipe away the dirt with a damp cloth.

Dryer Sheets

Turn on the iron and set the temperature to low. Protect your hands with oven mitts and start rubbing a ball of dryer sheets on the soleplate. Layer more dryer sheets on the ball if the iron gets hot. Turn off the iron once the soleplate is shiny.


Ironing can already be a daunting task. However, your steam iron is your best friend when you want to get crisp-looking clothes. Thus, it should also be in your best interest to take proper care of it to keep it in top shape. Don’t forget to bookmark this article so you can visit us anytime for ironing or other household advice!

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