How to Clean the Steam Iron and Its Base Plate

Опубликовал Admin
2-10-2016, 18:15
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Although a steam iron is not used as frequently today as it has been in the past, it nevertheless still can perform a number of helpful household chores: starching a dress shirt, freshening table linens and cloth napkins, removing wrinkles from curtains and furniture slips, or even adhering a favorite decal to an ordinary T-shirt. These uses illustrate just how beneficial it can be for you to keep your iron in good working order. With a little care and an occasional cleaning, you can help your iron last for years.

Cleaning Inside of Your Steam Iron

  1. Mix one half cup of water and one half cup of distilled white vinegar. Making a vinegar-based cleaning solution that can disinfect, descale, and deodorize is an economic way to clean inside of your iron. This is also the easiest way to clean parts of the iron that are otherwise unreachable.
  2. Fill the water reservoir of the iron with the cleaning solution, and turn the iron on to heat. Set the iron on its hottest setting. If your iron does not have a temperature dial, switch it to cotton on the fabric settings.
  3. Run the cleaning solution through the inside of the iron when the iron is hot. This is accomplished by holding down the steam button while pressing the iron into a hand towel on the ironing board. Vent the steam in 20-30 second bursts in this manner for a total of one and a half minutes.
  4. Empty any remaining cleaning solution from the reservoir. If there is any solution left after venting, be sure to discard or repurpose it for something else. It has already run through the iron and is not needed in the following step.
  5. Fill the reservoir with fresh water and repeat the steaming process. This will ensure that all of the vinegar is removed from the iron’s ductwork and reservoir. Drain any remaining water from the reservoir.

Cleaning Your Iron's Base Plate

  1. Mix equal parts table salt and distilled white vinegar. The resulting slurry will act as a mild abrasive and help to remove stubborn buildup on the base plate of the iron. This is particularly useful when an iron’s base plate is scorched and no longer glides over the ironing board smoothly.
  2. Apply the cleaning solution and wipe the base plate with a soft damp cloth. Spread an even layer of the slurry onto the base plate of the iron and gently wipe it with a dampened hand towel in a scrubbing motion. Remove any excess.
  3. Reapply and repeat as many times as necessary until clean. Continue scrubbing and removing buildup in a soft but deliberate manner being careful not to scratch the base plate. Damage to non-stick surfaces can lead to permanent discoloration and rust.
  4. Pay special attention to cleaning the steam ducts on the base plate of the iron. Over time these can become clogged with minerals found in ordinary tap water. If your iron is having trouble producing steam, get rid of scale buildup in or around the steam ducts by using a toothbrush, toothpick, cotton swab, or other soft object to remove any visible residue from the area.
  5. Use a store-bought iron cleaner if the base plate is not made of non-stick material. Some steam irons will have non-coated base or sole plates. Though these can be cleaned with the aforementioned salt and vinegar solution, they may benefit from a commercial iron cleaner as well. An extra-fine abrasive may be used as a last resort.

Maintaining Your Iron

  1. Remove any melted-on plastic from your iron. Chill the iron by placing its base plate in a shallow bowl of ice water. This will firm up the plastic and allow for easy removal. Scrape any plastic away with a dull plastic knife, plastic spatula, or credit card edge.
  2. Use dryer sheets to keep your iron sparkling and smelling nice. Run a hot iron over a dryer sheet and then a hand towel. Alternate back and forth between the two. This will improve the luster of your iron by removing oils and small particles of scorched cloth or dust.
  3. Fill your iron’s reservoir with the appropriate kind of water. Depending upon the hardness of your local tap water, the durability of certain internal parts of your iron, and the frequency of use, your iron may call for specific kinds of water. Spring water is always appropriate; however, an equitable and less expensive option is filtered tap water.
  4. Check the power cord regularly. Note any damage, fraying, or kinks in the iron’s cord. Damage to this area might be a potential fire hazard. If damaged, discontinue use until the cord is repaired.
  5. Store the iron properly. Never put unnecessary stress on the iron by storing it on its side or back. An iron should be stored sitting upright in an area where it is stable and will not fall. This is also a safety precaution and ensures that if the iron were heated, the base plate would not be touching a cloth surface that can be damaged as it heats.


  • Remember to check your iron’s manual for specific questions about use.
  • In some instances, use of distilled or deionized water can void the iron's warranty.
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