4 Easy Steps to Clean an Iron

Every household should have an iron to help keep clothes looking crisp and neat. Over time, mineral deposits, fabric residues, and other substances can build up on the iron’s soleplate and affect its performance. To ensure your iron works efficiently and doesn’t transfer any stains to your clothes, it’s essential to clean it regularly. This article will walk you through a step-by-step process to clean your iron and keep it in shape.

What You Need:

  • Distilled water (to avoid more build-up) 
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Cotton swabs, microfiber cloth, or soft sponge 
  • A small bowl
  • An old towel or cloth
  • Wooden toothpicks (optional)

Before You Begin:

Before you start cleaning your iron or any appliance at all, it’s crucial to check the manufacturer’s instructions for any specific guidelines on cleaning. Some irons may have unique features or coatings that require special care.

** Before you begin cleaning, unplug the iron and allow it to cool completely to avoid any risk of burns.


Start by wiping the soleplate with a soft, damp cloth to remove any loose dirt or debris. Be gentle to avoid scratching the surface.


Mix ¾ cup of distilled water and ¼ cup white vinegar in a small bowl. This solution will loosen and effectively remove mineral deposits and other build-up.
If your iron has a steam function, pour half the cleaning solution into the water reservoir to allow it to soften up any hard water deposits in there. Turn your iron on, allow it to heat up, and then run the cleaning solution through your iron and onto an old towel by pressing the steam button over and over. Enjoy the vinegar steam facial. Pour out any remaining solution and then run distilled water through it in the same way to get rid of any vinegar smell.


Once your iron has cooled off completely. Dip a soft cloth or cotton swab into the cleaning solution and gently rub it onto the soleplate. Pay special attention to any stubborn stains or areas with visible build-up. Check the steam vents and clean them with a cotton swab dipped in the cleaning solution or gently scrape away with a wooden toothpick.


For particularly tough stains, mix a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then use a soft cloth or sponge to scrub the area gently until the stains are gone.

Melted mess? If you have any melted-on messes like decals, melted crayons or perler beads, set the iron to low heat and wait for it to warm. Once the mess on the ironing plate becomes soft, carefully use a wooden spoon or popsicle stick to scrape off any residue. Use tweezers to remove any bits of plastic from the holes carefully. Finally, rub the iron on a scrap of fabric to eliminate any remaining plastic.


Once you’ve removed all stains, wipe down the soleplate with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue. Ensure that the soleplate is completely dry before use.

Ensure the cleaning solution or baking soda doesn’t end up on your clean clothes next time you iron. Pour some distilled water into the reservoir and turn on your iron. Place your iron onto an old towel or cloth and press the steam button 4-6 times to confirm there’s nothing left over.


If your iron has a water reservoir, empty it after each use to prevent mineral deposits from building up, and always use distilled water instead of tap water.

Regularly cleaning your iron ensures it will work its best and last a long time. Following these simple steps, you can keep your iron in top shape and enjoy wrinkle-free clothes whenever you need them. Remember to check your iron’s manual for specific instructions and if in doubt, consult the manufacturer for guidance.

For more on stains and fabric care, see this section of our blog.

– Sara @GoCleanCo

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