A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean an Iron


Irons are household tools that have long become essential items in many people’s lives and homes.

However, cleaning them is an often neglected task, which is actually really important to keep the appliance’s bottom part free from sticky substances, dust and oily residue and to extend its lifespan.

Read this extensive step-by-step guide so you learn all there is to know on how to clean your iron and do so quickly and efficiently.

How to clean your iron properly

Like everything we use in our day-to-day lives, we need to know how to correctly clean and maintain it. The iron is no exception, of course.

To do it effectively, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Preparation

Before you start, make sure the iron is unplugged and completely cool.

Besides that, set up a clean and sturdy surface to work on, preferably covered with an old towel or cloth to protect it from any potential residue or stains.

Step 2 – Exterior cleaning

Get a sponge or a damp cloth and use it to wipe the exterior of the iron. For tougher stains, use mild dish soap or a 1:1 solution made of H2O and vinegar.

When cleaning the exterior, avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrub brushes because they may damage the iron’s surface.

Step 3 – Cleaning the soleplate (the bottom part)

Before you start, check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine if your iron has a non-stick coating.

If it does, make sure you’re working very carefully to avoid scratching it. For regular maintenance, sprinkle a small amount of table salt on a piece of plain paper and set the iron to the lowest heat setting.

Gently glide the iron over it, making sure the soleplate comes into contact with the salt. This will help remove built-up residue or fabric stains. Once you’re finished, wipe the soleplate with a clean, damp cloth to remove any remaining salt or debris.

Step 4 – Removing stubborn stains or mineral deposits

If you notice stubborn stains or mineral deposits on the soleplate, use a mixture of equal parts distilled white vinegar and H2O. Rub the problem areas of the soleplate using a damp, clean cloth with the mixture.

For more stubborn stains, use a paste made from baking soda and water. Apply it to the stains, let it sit for a few minutes, and gently scrub with a soft cloth or sponge.

After you’re finished cleaning, wipe the soleplate with a damp clean cloth. Ensure you remove any residue from the vinegar or baking soda completely.

Step 5 – Cleaning the steam vents

To clean the steam vents, fill the iron’s water reservoir with equal parts H2O and white vinegar.

First, select the iron’s medium heat setting and allow it to steam for a few minutes, directing the steam away from yourself and any sensitive surfaces. This process will help remove mineral deposits and unclog the vents.

Once you’re finished, empty the reservoir, refill it with clean water and run the iron on a clean cloth or towel to flush out any remaining vinegar solution.

What is the easiest way to clean an iron?

The easiest way to clean an iron is by using a solution made of white vinegar and H2O in a 1:1 ratio. When working with this cleaning solution, the amount needed will depend on the size of your iron’s reservoir. It’s generally recommended to fill it about halfway.

Afterwards, heat the iron by setting it to a medium heat setting and allowing it to heat up until the vinegar-water solution starts to steam. Once the iron is steaming, hold it in a horizontal position with the soleplate facing down over a sink or a suitable container to catch any drips.

Press and hold the steam button or lever to release bursts of steam. Do this for a few minutes to allow the vinegar solution to pass through the steam vents and clean out any mineral deposits or clogs. After steaming, unplug the iron and allow it to cool down for a few minutes.

Empty the remaining vinegar-water solution from the reservoir and rinse it thoroughly with clean water. Finally, fill the reservoir with clean water and run the iron on a clean cloth or towel in the steam mode to flush out any remaining vinegar or loosened debris.

To clean the exterior of the iron, use a damp cloth or sponge with mild dish soap or a mixture of water and vinegar. Simply wipe the outer surface, including the handle and controls, to remove any dirt, stains, or residue.

Finally, wipe the exterior with a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap or cleaning solution.

How do you clean the reservoir of an iron?

To effectively clean the reservoir of your iron, maintain its performance, and prevent mineral buildup, use a cleaning solution made of equal parts distilled white vinegar and water.

Make sure that the appliance is unplugged and completely cooled down before starting, and set up a clean working surface to work on covered with an old towel or cloth to protect it.

If there is any water remaining in the reservoir, carefully pour it out into the sink, being careful not to spill water on the iron or any of its electrical components.

Prepare the cleaning solution and fill the reservoir about halfway up. Allow it to sit in the reservoir for at least 30 minutes to break down mineral deposits and loosen any buildup.

Using a soft brush or a cloth, gently scrub the inside of the reservoir to remove any remaining deposits or residue. Pay extra attention to any corners or crevices where buildup may have accumulated.

Afterwards, thoroughly rinse the reservoir with clean water. Fill it with water and empty it a few times to flush out any remaining residue.

Once the reservoir is clean and rinsed, leave it open or upside down to air dry completely. Make sure there is no moisture left inside before using the iron.

What you must never do when cleaning an iron

When cleaning an iron, there are certain things you should avoid doing to prevent damage and ensure safe cleaning.

Some most essential points to keep in mind include:

  • Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals, such as abrasive cleaners, scouring pads, rough materials that can scratch or damage the surface of the iron, bleach, ammonia, or strong solvents because they can corrode or discolour the iron’s components.
  • Never submerge the entire iron in water. Irons are electrical appliances, and submerging them in H2O can cause severe damage and is even an electrical hazard.
  • Only clean the exterior and the soleplate of the iron using damp cloths or sponges and follow the directions provided by the manufacturer.
  • Never use excessive force or vigorous scrubbing, especially on delicate parts of the iron. Applying too much pressure can lead to dents, scratches, or damage to the iron’s internal components.
  • Never clean the iron while it’s still hot or plugged in. Always ensure it is completely cooled down and unplugged before tackling it. Cleaning a hot appliance can result in burns or damage to both the iron and the cleaning materials.
  • Never pour cleaning solutions directly onto the iron. Instead, apply cleaning solutions or substances to a cloth or sponge and then use them to clean the iron. Pouring solutions directly onto the iron can lead to liquid entering the iron’s interior, causing damage or electrical issues.
  • Don’t forget to rinse and dry thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleaning solutions or residues. Besides that, allow the iron to air dry completely before reassembling or using it to prevent moisture-related issues.


Cleaning your iron can seem like a daunting house chore, but it is nonetheless necessary. However, by following the tips and recommendations above, you can handle that task quickly and efficiently.

Lastly, cleaning your iron or even your entire home can be a bit overwhelming, so you can always consider local domestic cleaning services to save yourself the trouble and gain some extra moments with the people who matter the most to you.

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