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How to Clean an Iron So It Doesn’t Damage Your Clothes

How to clean an iron no matter what kind of issues it throws at you! Keeping your iron clean can be pretty simple and straightforward if you have a few easy tricks up your sleeve!

I recently decided that it was probably time for me to finally clean my iron. Well, irons actually. I have two, and they were both in need of cleaning in distinctly different ways. If that isn’t a blog post for “how to clean an iron” in the making, I don’t know what is. 🙂

I’ve always found ironing to be a really fun and satisfying household task, so I have one iron that I try to keep really nice and clean for clothing and linens, and one that I use for other housekeeping and crafting applications. Well, over time they both became dirty, even the “nice” one that I keep for clothing. Honestly, this was just because of a silly mistake that I made when I first bought this iron a few years ago.

For some reason, I was so excited to use the new iron that I put regular tap water in it the first few times I used it, rather than filtered water or distilled water. Oops. We’re on well water here and our water is full of all kinds of minerals, so they built up on my iron really quickly. It actually wasn’t much of a problem for a long time, but after awhile the mineral deposits started to loosen up and I would find them on my clothes after a pass with the iron, which was obviously a bit of a disaster. People generally want their clothes to look cleaner and tidier after ironing them, not like a giant mess with dirty streaks everywhere. Luckily, this is an easy problem to solve!

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First, get a little bowl of white vinegar and some cotton swabs.

Dip your cotton swap into the vinegar and use it to clean out each little hole on the bottom of your iron. The vinegar will dissolve the mineral deposits and remove them, even the really crusted on ones. I was so shocked to see that black and brown gunk that was coming out of those little holes! When you look at your iron normally, it appears as though the mineral deposits are all kind of white-ish, but you’ll see that there are actually a lot of darker minerals and dirt in there too and that’s what leads to dirty looking clothes after ironing. Anyway, it was gross and I was glad to see how well this cleaning process was working!

When you’ve de-mineralized each hole, fill your iron’s water reservoir and turn it on to its highest setting. Turn the steam on full blast and iron a clean, dry towel. Make sure it’s one that you don’t mind getting dirty though! That steam is going to blast all of those mineral deposits right out now that you’ve loosened them with the vinegar!

How to Clean Scorch Marks

My other iron had a couple of scorch marks on it that had been there for about as long as I can remember. Scorch marks aren’t necessarily an issue if they don’t come off on the fabrics that you’re ironing, but it’s a good idea to try to clean as much of them off as possible, just in case, so here’s a really easy way to do it.

Allow your iron to cool completely. Take a cotton makeup removing pad or a cotton ball and dampen it with nail polish remover. Swipe the nail polish remover over the scorch marks and watch them disappear!

For lighter, newer scorch marks, this actually works pretty much instantly. For more severe scorch marks, you may end up not being able to completely remove the mark, but you can remove the worst of it. What you’re really aiming to do is to remove any of the dark scorchy-ness that’s at risk of coming off while you’re ironing and getting on your fabric.

If your iron happens to have a plain metal plate, feel free to also use an abrasive scrubbing pad to try to get as much of the scorch mark off as possible. If your iron’s plate has any kind of non-stick coating on it though, stay away from the abrasives and just stick to the nail polish remover.

Do you have any other neat tricks to clean an iron that I missed? Don’t forget to pin these tips to Pinterest so you have them if you ever need them!

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