Residue from fabric softeners, starch and even clothing fibers themselves all build up on your iron with use. If you use the iron's steam setting, it may also have minerals and other debris stuck in the steam vents. To prevent the dirt on your iron from transferring to your clothing, it's important to give your iron a good cleaning from time to time. The cleaning process is simple and requires only tools and cleansers you already have.
Mix together 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of water to make a paste. Spread the paste onto the bottom of the cold and unplugged iron, called the soleplate, using a spatula. Make sure you coat any mineral deposits thoroughly. Wipe the baking soda and dirt away with a soft damp cloth.
Examine the soleplate, looking for any oily stains. If you find oily residue, dip a soft rag in vinegar or ammonia, and wipe the oil away.
Vinegar can corrode soleplates. Check your instruction manual to make sure using vinegar on your iron won't void your warranty. If it will, try ammonia only for oily stains.
Empty out any water remaining in the iron from its last use.
Wet the tip of a cotton swab or pipe cleaner with distilled water. Rub the wet swab in the steam holes in the soleplate. When the holes are full of distilled water, fill the iron with distilled water.
Plug the iron in and turn it on, using the highest heat and steam settings. When the iron is hot, iron a clean towel, using the steam button liberally as you go. This will clean any debris out of the steam vents.
If there are any sticky stains on your iron, turn the steam off but keep the iron hot. Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt on your towel. Iron the towel again with the hot, but dry, iron to remove the sticky substance.
If your iron's soleplate has a Teflon or other nonstick coating, do not iron over salt with it because you may scratch the surface. Instead, run the dry hot iron over a piece of newspaper to deal with gooey dirt.
Turn off your iron; unplug it, and empty out any remaining water. Let the iron cool, and put it away.
Prevent rust and mineral stains from your iron by using only distilled water and removing any remaining water from the iron after each use.
Home is where the heart is, and Michelle frequently pens articles about ways to keep yours looking great and feeling cozy. Whether you want help organizing your closet, picking a paint color or finishing drywall, Michelle has you covered. If she's not puttering in the house, you'll find her in the garden playing in the dirt. Her garden articles provide tips and insight that anyone can use to turn a brown thumb green. You'll find her work on Modern Mom, The Nest and eHow as well as sprinkled throughout your other online home decor and improvement favorites.