Steam irons give shirts and fabrics new life by removing creases to reveal a crisp, wrinkle-free garment. Sometimes, though, they can cause materials to melt, especially polyester. If you accidentally got melted fabric on the bottom of a steam iron, don't fret. There are a few simple cleaning solutions you can try to make your steam iron good as new.
What to Know Before You Start Cleaning
When you are cleaning the bottom of a steam iron, it takes some care not to damage the material. The bottom of an iron, also known as the soleplate, can scratch and rust easily if you use abrasive cleaners and scrubs.
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Some of the best tools to use when cleaning the bottom of an iron are toothbrushes, cotton swabs, and even pipe cleaners. Pipe cleaners and cotton swabs are great for cleaning the little holes or vents on the bottom of the iron to remove any unwanted debris inside. If a cleaning solution calls for water, it's best to use distilled water instead of tap water to avoid potentially clogging the vents of the iron with mineral buildup.
Baking soda is a great ingredient to break out when you need to clean the bottom of a steam iron since it's modestly abrasive. It will help you get the scrub you need without ruining the soleplate.
- Make a baking soda paste by mixing 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of distilled water.
- Use a toothbrush to apply the paste and gently scrub the bottom of the iron to remove the melted fabric.
- Once the unwanted residue is loosened, grab a soft cloth and wipe it away with any remaining paste until the iron is dry.
Distilled white vinegar is another common household staple that will help remove melted fabric from the bottom of a steam iron.
- Grab a soft, clean cloth and soak it in distilled white vinegar until it's entirely wet.
- Remove the cloth from the vinegar and lay it flat on a hard surface. Grab your iron and place it on the soaked cloth with the bottom of the iron directly on the cloth. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Afterward, remove the iron from the vinegar-soaked cloth. Grab another damp cloth and use it to wipe away the vinegar and melted fabric.
Melted fabric, like polyester, can be stubborn to get off the bottom of a steam iron. Another technique you can try if the above methods don't work is soaking your iron in ice cubes.
- Fill a baking sheet with ice cubes and place the soleplate of the iron on top of the ice.
- Let the iron sit on top of the ice for 10 minutes.
- Grab a plastic knife and gently scrape off the melted fabric.
- Afterward, clean the soleplate with the above baking soda and water mixture to remove any missed debris.
Do not use a metal knife to scrape away residue, as it can scratch and damage the bottom of your steam iron.
Another out-of-the-box but effective solution to remove unwanted residue on a steam iron is using newspaper and salt.
- Turn your iron on to warm and let it heat up.
- While the iron is heating up, lay a piece of newspaper flat on an ironing board and sprinkle a thin layer of salt on top.
- Once the iron is warm, place it over the newspaper and quickly rotate it in a circle. Pick it up and do it again to get more salt on the iron's bottom, making sure not to leave it on top of the salt and newspaper for too long.
- Turn off the iron and let it sit until it has completely cooled.
- Once cooled, grab a damp cloth and wipe off the melted fabric and salt until no residue remains.
Another quick and simple method to clean the bottom of a steam iron is using a melamine sponge to scrub away the melted fabric.