Things You'll Need
Soft cleaning cloth
Steam irons let you apply a gentle spray of moisture to fabrics, which makes it easier to remove wrinkles. If you fail to properly clean and maintain the water reservoir of your steam iron, mold may begin to grow. Fortunately, you can eradicate the mold using ordinary vinegar.
Open the water reservoir and drain any existing water. Do this outdoors to prevent spreading mold spores in your home. If you pour moldy water down the drain, the mold may grow inside your plumbing system and lead to a much more serious and costly problem.
Fill the water reservoir with equal parts distilled water and white vinegar. Always use distilled water in your iron because tap water can cause hard mineral deposits to form and clog the mechanism. White vinegar, sometimes marketed as distilled vinegar, is useful both for routine cleaning of your iron and as an effective mold killer.
Place the iron upright and turn it on. Allow the iron to steam for approximately four minutes. The vinegar will pass through the vents as vapor and kill any mold inside the iron. Allow the iron to cool, and then drain all the liquid.
Scrub the outside of the iron -- using a soft cloth containing the diluted vinegar solution -- to remove any accumulated dirt and mineral residue that may serve as a mold habitat. Do not do this until after the iron has cooled off completely.
Fill your reservoir with distilled water. Place it upright and turn on the steam for about four to five minutes. This will rinse the vinegar from the iron and leave you with a clean reservoir. Drain the iron once again.
Replace the filter, if applicable. Some irons contain replaceable filters that collect minerals and impurities. If your iron uses replaceable filters, your current filter likely has a buildup of mold spores. Replacing the filter will prevent the mold from making its way back into your reservoir.
Drain your water reservoir after each use.
If you have a known mold allergy, wear a breathing mask when cleaning out your iron. Allergenic molds can pose a variety of health risks to individuals with respiratory disorders.
Chris Anzalone has been writing professionally since 2001. He is a former staff writer and associate editor for Opposing Views, a popular news media website that tackles issues of the day from multiple perspectives. Anzalone holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California at Riverside.