You have spent countless hours behind the ironing board with your mother/father as they taught you the finer points to pressing your blouses and shirts. Yet, during all that time spent pressing and re-pressing do you recall ever being told when and how you should clean your iron? This minute, but important point all to often is not taught during our youth. Thankfully ,cleaning an iron is not as difficult a task as one might expect. There are only three parts to clean! These are the sole-plate, reservoir and of course the exterior of the iron.
The easiest way to tell when your iron needs to be cleaned is if you begin to feel resistance while you are ironing. The iron should move smoothly over your fabrics, if this is not the case then it is time for a cleaning.
Cleaning the Sole-plate
After repeated ironing’s, time, etc. the sole-plate on your iron will inevitably develop a build-up on it. This is the cause of the resistance you are feeling while ironing and at times the culprit of unwanted stains on your clothes.
For a basic cleaning
In a bowl mix a small amount of laundry soap with water until you have a foamy mixture. While the sole-plate is cold and iron is unplugged, use a clean cloth rag or sponge and rub the solution on the sole plate of your iron. Wipe the solution off using a clean damp cloth. Q-tips are a helpful tool for getting the eyes of the sole-plate open during this process. This should remove all normal build-up on the sole-plate of your iron.
For starch build-up or corrosion
To remove this build-up dip a clean cloth rag in white vinegar and rub it on the sole-plate. Once again remove solution by wiping a clean damp cloth over the plate.
Note: Do not use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads on the sole-plate of your iron. Do not immerse your iron in water.
Cleaning the Reservoir
If you use tap water in your iron you will notice mineral deposits appear in the eyes of your sole-plate. This is an indicator that your reservoir needs to be cleaned. Empty all of the water out of your iron and refill it 1/4 of the way with vinegar. Turn your iron on steam and iron a clean cloth until all the vinegar is gone. Once you have done this turn the iron off and refill the reservoir with water. Steam the cloth once more until the water is gone. Repeat the entire process until all of the deposits are gone. Rinse the reservoir with clean water once you have complete the cleaning.
To prevent mineral deposits in your iron try using distilled or purified water.
Cleaning the Exterior
The exterior of your iron can be cleaned with a mild soap solution. You can use the same solution that you used for cleaning the sole-plate or plain dish soap. Make a small amount of the mixture and apply it to the exterior of your iron with a clean cloth. Then remove it with a damp cloth. Practicing this step will prevent build-up from accumulating and transferring onto your garments.
Remembering these simple tips should help extended the life of your iron and possibly make ironing a pleasurable experience. Ironing should be a quick, fluid, flowing experience without resistance, which is what happens when you work with clean equipment. So with a clean iron your work should go much quicker as it will perform better all the way around.