Steam irons are a popular choice for starching your shirts or removing the wrinkles from linen and curtains. Although not used as much today, they are still used to perform numerous important household tasks. Keeping the steam iron in great working order requires regular cleaning. While it does not have to be done all the time, the occasional thorough clean will keep your steam iron working for a very long time.
You will want to make a vinegar-based cleaning solution by mixing water and white vinegar in equal parts as the best way to clean the inside of your iron. Pour the solution into the water reservoir and set the iron to the hottest setting offered. If there is no temperature provided, then the cotton setting is usually the best. The purpose is to run the vinegar cleaning solution through the iron, and you can do this by running the iron over a towel and holding the steam button down. Over the course of about a minute to a minute and a half, vent the steam in 20 second bursts. You can then empty the remaining cleaning solution from the reservoir. Follow this cleaning by repeating the process once again, only using clean water this time. This will be sure to remove any left over vinegar solution from the inside of the iron.
Cleaning the Base Plate
The base plate of the iron can get discolored over time and occasionally marked with light burns from fabric mishaps. There is a safe way to clean this also using a similar solution of vinegar and table salt, again in equal parts. The resulting product will resemble a paste and is used to gently remove any buildup from the base plate. Removing these stains will give the iron back its effortless glide over clothes and material. Apply the paste in a light layer over the base and then remove with a damp cloth. Be sure to use a softer material cloth so as not to cause any scratches to the surface of the plate. Buildup can also form in the small grooves of the base plate, which will interfere with steam release as well as cause friction to ironing motions. To clean the steam ducts use a toothbrush or cotton swab to lightly wipe away any residue.
Tips for Keeping Your Steam Iron Clean
Outside of regular maintenance methods as described above, there are several tricks that have been discovered to getting your iron cleaned in a pinch. With the iron set to a low setting, run it over a few dryer sheets and the heat mixed with the material will pull away any accumulated residues. If any of the dryer sheets become stuck to the iron, they can easily be removed with a clean rag. A paste of water and baking soda can also be made and applied to the base plate. When rubbed gently with a soft rag, residues are easily removed. Believe it or not, built up grime can even be removed with a little toothpaste, but be sure to use the paste and not the gel.
A steam iron is a handy tool to have around, but maintenance is important to its longevity. And efficiency. There are so many inexpensive options when it comes to cleaning, all with standard household items and materials. Some tips to remember when ironing that will keep the cleaning to a minimum are to remove any burnt materials right away with a sponge and also to clean out any excess water from the reservoir. Keeping all of these tips in mind will ensure your iron is around to take care of all your cherished items.