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How to clean an iron

Is your iron looking a bit worse for wear? Don't chuck it in a bin just yet! Lean how to clean a steam iron and try cleaning your iron instead.


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How to clean an iron
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A good quality iron is a staple in every household. With the right model, you can make your clothes look fresh and wrinkle-free in a matter of minutes if you know how to do it correctly. But what if your favourite iron starts working less smoothly than usual, or worse, leaves unattractive marks or sticks to your clothes? Perhaps, it’s time to give it a good clean. Read our simple guide to how to clean an iron at home to help you.

For particularly stubborn stains, you can add toothpaste to your steam iron cleaner paste. While it might sound strange, this solution works magic on removing all the build-up accumulated on the iron from regular use.

Steam iron cleaner supplies

You can use ingredients which can be found at any home to clean your iron. These include:

  • Distilled water

  • Baking soda

  • White wine vinegar

  • Your regular household cleaner – like Handy Andy

You’ll also need the following equipment to complete the task:

  • Bowl

  • Clean, non-abrasive sponge or cloth

  • Clean, medium-sized cloth

  • Cotton buds

How to clean a steam iron step-by-step:

The process of cleaning your iron is the same, regardless of what cleaning solution you use. If you opt for a commercial cleaner like Handy Andy then make sure you read the instructions on the label first. To make your own steam iron cleaner, you can:

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of distilled water

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with half a tablespoon of distilled water and half a tablespoon of white wine vinegar

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Once you have your chosen cleaner ready, just follow these steps to clean your iron:

  1. Make sure the iron is unplugged and completely cold. Then empty the reservoir.

  2. Put on protective gloves and use a spatula to apply your chosen cleaner to the plate of your iron, focusing on the areas which have mineral deposits on them.

  3. Leave the solution to work for a few minutes.

  4. Use a soft damp sponge or a cloth to wipe off the solution. Repeat using a cloth dampened with water to remove any leftover residue.

  5. To remove mineral deposits from the stream holes, dip a cotton bud into a distilled water and use it to carefully clean the steam vents.

  6. Refill the reservoir with fresh distilled water. If you wondering how do you clean an iron with a lot of mineral build-up, then just mix 3/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar and put in in the reservoir before moving to the next step.

  7. Turn on the iron to the highest setting and steam iron a clean cloth for a few minutes to clear the system,

  8. Turn the iron off and let it cool down completely. If you used a solution of water and white wine vinegar in step 6 then repeat this process again with just distilled water.

Now that you know how to clean an iron, check out our tips on folding your laundry properly to make your ironing a breeze.


To maintain your iron in good condition, remember to always empty the iron of any water after use to avoid mineral deposits building-up. Place the iron in an upright position over a heat-safe, covered surface and wait for all the water to drip out completely.

  • Create a steam iron cleaner paste using some baking soda and water. Add vinegar to make the solution stronger or just use a commercial cleaner like Handy Andy!

  • Apply the paste to the iron using a spatula and wipe off after a few minutes.

  • Use a cotton bud dipped in distilled water to clean the steam holes.

  • Fill the iron with distilled water and turn it on to the highest setting.

  • Iron a clean piece of cloth for a few minutes.


Why do I need to clean my iron?

Cleaning your iron helps to remove any buildup or residue that can affect its performance and cause stains on your clothes. A clean iron also helps to prolong its lifespan.

How often should I clean my iron?

You should clean your iron as soon as you notice any buildup or stains on the soleplate. It's also a good idea to clean your iron regularly, especially if you use it frequently.

How do I clean the soleplate of my iron?

To clean the soleplate of your iron, you can use a mixture of equal parts baking soda and water, or a commercial iron cleaner. Apply the cleaner to the soleplate, then use a soft cloth or sponge to gently scrub away any buildup or stains. Be sure to rinse the soleplate thoroughly with water and wipe it dry.

How do I clean the steam vents on my iron?

To clean the steam vents on your iron, you can use a cotton swab or a toothpick to gently remove any buildup or residue. Be careful not to push the debris further into the vents.

How can I prevent buildup on my iron?

To prevent buildup on your iron, use distilled water instead of tap water in the water tank, as tap water contains minerals that can cause buildup. Empty the water tank after each use and store the iron in an upright position to prevent water from sitting in the tank. Additionally, use the appropriate heat setting for the fabric you're ironing, as high heat can cause buildup.

Originally published