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.

Woman Ironing Cloth With Electric Iron
credit: AndreyPopov/iStock/GettyImages
A clean iron presses clothe without staining or marking them.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

Empty out any water remaining in the iron from its last use.

Step 4

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.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

Turn off your iron; unplug it, and empty out any remaining water. Let the iron cool, and put it away.