Ironing clothes can be a chore for some and a relaxing, almost meditative experience for others.
This task can be made all the more frustrating by accidentally damaging your clothes due to using a dirty and clogged-up iron.
A clean iron provides efficient and trouble-free ironing and should hopefully result in some smart-looking attire, though this is dependent on the technical proficiency of those undertaking the task!
This article will take a peek at why we need to clean our irons, which parts need care, and how to clean them using the surprisingly diverse range of suitable cleaning solutions and methods!
Why Should You Clean Your Iron?
Keeping your iron clean is imperative if you're hoping for a smooth and hassle-free ironing experience.
Over time, irons can become clogged up, dirty, sticky, and even damaged due to extended or improper use and through the build-up of mineral deposits.
This can result in stained, damaged, or even melted fabrics, which means ruined clothes and, possibly, a damaged iron.
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Which Parts Of An Iron Need Cleaning?
The two parts of the iron that require extra care and regular cleaning are the iron soleplate and the iron steam vents.
The soleplate is the bottom of the iron, the surface that heats up and is in contact with your clothing.
This can suffer from build-up over time, and some materials can melt and become stubbornly stuck to the soleplate.
The irons vents can also suffer from blockages due to mineral build-up, resulting in clogged steam holes and weaker performance, as well as unfortunate water stains on your clothing.
What Cleaning Solutions Can Be Used To Clean An Iron?
As well as the numerous specific products that are aimed at cleaning your iron, there are also many natural alternatives that have been used in cleaning for many a year.
There are also things you can find lying around the house that can be used to ensure a sparkling clean iron.
Always remember to ensure that the iron is turned off and allowed to properly cool down before you attempt to clean it.
However, some methods require a hot iron, if following these techniques always be careful and wear appropriate heat-proof gloves or oven mitts if possible.
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White vinegar is widely used for cleaning all kinds of dirt and stains, and it can also work wonders when cleaning an iron.
Dilute a little with water and use this vinegar solution to wipe the soleplate clean — this strong cleaning solution can remove the most difficult of dirt.
For more stubborn stains, a 'soaking' technique may be required, which can be achieved by resting the iron's soleplate onto a vinegar-soaked paper towel for between 15-25 minutes.
To use vinegar to clean the iron's steam holes, mix a solution that's equal parts water and vinegar, then pour this into the irons' water reservoir.
Move the iron into an upright position to allow easy inspection of the vents, and use a cotton swab to clear away any build-up or visible dirt.
Once you're satisfied there's no visible blockage, press the steam button and allow the iron to push the vinegar and water mix through the steam vents.
Wipe away any leftover residue with a clean cloth and warm water.
Baking soda is another widely used cleaning aid that can remove dogged stains from an iron soleplate.
Mix two parts baking soda with one part water to create a paste that can be applied to any stains to work its magic.
Gently work the paste across the stained surface to remove the dirt and build-up, allow it to rest for a little 'soak', and then carefully wipe with a damp cloth and rinse it away.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
The combination of both of these natural cleaning agents makes for a potent and powerful duo that's particularly effective.
Mix the two together and use the solution to wipe away stains, or with the above-mentioned 'soaking' technique for a thorough deep clean.
Diluting some liquid dish detergent and using it to wipe clean the surface of the iron is a little gentler than some of the other solutions.
It is effective at removing some light stains as well as built-up gunk or oily residues.
Sprinkle salt over some newspaper on your ironing board, then iron over this surface on its hottest setting to see some incredibly fast-acting dirt removal.
Ensure that it is wiped away with a clean cloth after, being careful to ensure that no residue is blocking the iron vents.
Toothpaste is a surprisingly versatile product that is used for all sorts of things including polishing chrome, scrubbing the toilet bowl, and defogging mirrors.
To clean your iron with toothpaste, simply apply some toothpaste onto the soleplate's surface to clean the stains before gently wiping it away with a soft cloth.
This will also leave your iron's soleplate looking as good as new with a renewed shine and sparkle.
Nail Polish Remover
A potent chemical that is as effective as cleaning irons as it is as removing days-old nail polish.
Using this requires a different approach to those mentioned so far, as this will require that the iron is turned on and allowed to heat up.
Ensure you are wearing heat-proof gloves before dabbing a cotton swab soaked in nail polish remover onto the surface of the iron.
It's also sensible to ensure the room is well ventilated, as the nail polish remover will evaporate into the air as it touches the hot soleplate.
If your household still favors reading their news from a newspaper as opposed to online, then you can use it for cleaning your iron.
This is a super simple technique that, like with nail polish remover, requires that the iron is turned on and hot.
Again, wearing heat-proof gloves, use scrunched-up newspaper to scrub and wipe away the stains.
What Equipment Can I Use When Cleaning An Iron?
Be careful not to use any steel wool or similarly hardy materials, as these can cause irreversible damage to the soleplate of the iron.
Using newspaper, paper towels, a soft cloth or a sponge allows for efficient cleaning without the risk of scratching the surface.
For difficult stains, using a soft brush or even toothpaste can be especially useful.
As you can see from this extensive list, there are numerous ways to clean an iron using things that can be found around your home.
Ensure you regularly check the condition of both the iron's soleplate and the iron's steam vents to guarantee smooth, effective, and trouble-free ironing every time.