If your steam iron refuses to steam, imparts rusty marks to your freshly washed clothes, and its soleplate is covered in brown rust, it’s a sign to devote some time to its cleaning. Filthy iron can never provide you with crisp and sleek creases.

Sometimes the holes of steam iron get clogged. So instead of the smooth flow, it starts spitting and gurgling. So here we will resolve this issue by telling you how to clean a steam iron & dry iron.

Instead of throwing your iron away, you can always treat it with some love and clean it thoroughly, and it will become good as new without taking much time. It’s not that difficult to clean your steam iron. The descaling and cleaning time of steam iron varies with the different manufacturers.

Best Irons In Australia

It also depends upon how often you use the steam iron, but it won’t hurt if you clean it every 1-4 months. Cleaning steam iron every once or twice a year is not a bad idea. But if you start seeing brown buildup on the soleplate or the iron doesn’t glide smoothly on the clothes, you also need to clean it from the inner side.

Four signs your steam iron needs descaling

Following are the signs that mean you need to clean your iron instantly.

  • If your iron spits white chalky debris on the clothes, it needs cleaning. 

  • If you can see some burnt brown residue on the soleplate, that residue comes from ironing on a too hot setting. It means your iron needs descaling.

  • If you don’t feel a smooth glide with your iron and it starts dragging instead of gliding, it’s the sign to descale the iron.

  • When your steam iron leaves brown marks and stains on clothes after ironing, you should clean it.

Why is my iron leaving brown stains?

Small residues from synthetic fabric and other textures can leave marks on iron’s soleplates. Living in an area with hard water can cause minerals to build upon the plate and inside the steam holes. The iron can slow down and leave brown marks on the fabric in such cases.

If you do not clean the plate, it will affect the efficiency and working of the iron. It can cause a burnt smell, uneven steam production, and burnt marks on your fabric. Therefore you need to clean the iron if it is causing stains on your clothes.

How to clean steam and dry iron

It is very important to understand the type of iron you have, and if you want to clean it, read the cleaning guide. Ensure that your iron is cool and unplugged before cleaning because you don’t want to burn your fingers. It would be best to place it on a towel while cleaning. Using cotton swabs with vinegar can help remove the residue if you have difficulty cleaning the steam vents.

Some of the effective cleaning techniques are below to pick one for ease of use.

With Baking soda and water

Using baking soda is an excellent trick to remove all the gunk on your steam iron! It also dissolves the sticky residue that causes the iron to drag instead of gliding. You need to mix some baking soda and water to create a slurry. After that, rub your baking soda and water paste onto the iron by using a towel or soft brush so that you don’t damage the material of your iron.

After some time, use water to clean the paste and completely wipe it away before letting the iron dry. 

Use a newspaper

Newspaper is the easiest way to scratch and remove residue on an iron plate. You can also use a newspaper for scratching all the buildup present on the iron surface. Set the iron on its highest setting, wear your oven mittens to avoid burns. After that, scrub away all the buildup and debris of the soleplate, and you’ll be good to go!

Use acetone-based nail polish remover

Acetone-based nail polish remover can work like magic to clean the soleplate of your iron. All you need to do is set your iron at its highest setting. Then take a cotton swab in acetone nail polish and lightly dab it on the surface of the soleplate with the aid of kitchen gloves. The acetone will dry quickly, and then you can easily wipe away all the gunk and debris using a wet towel.

Clean with kitchen scrubbers

Kitchen sponges are also easy to clean your burner and your iron. Take a non-scratch kitchen sponge, damp it with a soap solution, and start cleaning the gunk. Once everything is covered with the solution, wipe away with water using a clean towel.

Vinegar is the way to go

White vinegar is also a good solution in cleaning mold and iron rust. Take some white vinegar and dip a clean towel in it. After that, wipe your iron with that damp towel to remove the dirt. If the gunk still doesn’t remove, place the iron soleplate on the towel for 15 to 20 minutes. Then wipe again with some water. 

Use a powerful combination of vinegar and baking soda

If the vinegar alone does not work, you can mix some baking soda with distilled white vinegar. Soak a clean towel in the solution and place it on a table. After that, place the soleplate side of the iron onto the towel and glide on it as if you’re ironing the towel.

Use dish soap

Using dish soap can be the simplest but most efficient way to clean a flat iron. For this process, put some drops of dish soap onto the flat iron surface and then start rubbing it with a kitchen towel or scrubber.

Use some good old salt

Sea salt is another major component that you can use in cleaning the soleplate of an iron. Spread some salt on a sheet, and turn on your iron to maximum heat. Run the hot iron over the salt sheet, which will remove dirt and gunk from the soleplate. Unplug the iron and let it cool. After it cools down, wipe excess salt with a towel or a piece of cloth.

Components you need to clean your iron

Following are the components you will need while cleaning your iron.

  • Soft toothbrush
  • Clean toothpick
  • Paper towel or cloth
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Clean water
  • Cotton swab

It would be best to try a DIY homemade cleaning solution that is safe and effective. It’ll cost less, be easy to use, and be gentle on your iron.

Easy steps to clean iron

Following are some easy steps to clean your iron.

  • First, place your iron on a towel to prevent overflowing. This step will make you end up with a mess-free cleaning session.

  • Make a 50-50 solution of water and distilled white vinegar and pour it over the iron.

  • Use a toothbrush or toothpick to clean the residue and buildup stuck between steam vents. Also, look for white residue if there is any.

  • Now plug in the iron on the steam option and wait for a while until the steam starts coming out with full pressure.

  • Repeat this process about five to six times so that water flushes out all the debris from the vents.
  • Unplug the iron and let it cool.

  • Drain out excess water and vinegar solution and place it on a non-sensitive surface if any drippings fall out.

Don’t forget to clean the soleplate!

Soleplate is the flat part of the iron that features a fine hole through which steam is ejected out. It is also the part that gets hot to iron the clothes. However, with time, it may not remain as new and clean. It may get dirty from rusty brown buildup that is the result of accidentally ironing the wrong side of the fusible.

There are many ways to clean the soleplate, but this method is the most effective. Even if your soleplate isn’t dirty and working just fine, try this method so that it works like it’s brand new. It will also make ironing much easier and quicker for you.

Self-cleaning technology

Some new models of steam irons have a new feature: a self-cleaning system. Read the manual book carefully for model-specific instructions if your iron has this feature. These are some general steps to follow for self-cleaning:

Step 1

Turn off and unplug the iron. Set the steam to the lowest and fill the reservoir.

Step 2

Set the iron to the highest temperature and let it heat up for at least ten minutes. When it becomes sizzling hot, unplug the iron and take it to your sink.

Step 3

Hold it so that the flat side is parallel to the sink. Shift the steam option to the self-clean option and hold it still. Shake the iron until all the water and steam are discharged from the soleplate holes, then set the steam option back to zero.

Step 4

Plug in the iron, turn it on, and heat it until the soleplate completely dries out. After that, unplug the iron and let it cool. Rub the iron with a cloth to make sure it is completely clean.

If your iron isn’t clean, it’ll leave stains on your clothes, and you can’t iron your clothes properly. So make sure you clean the inside and the soleplate thoroughly and clear out all the debris.

Useful tips for cleaning iron

Frequent care is needed for your iron, whether steam iron or dry iron. It is always necessary to clean the sticky residue on the soleplate. Following are some more tips to keep your iron clean.

Take care of the fabrics

Some types of fabrics cannot handle specific amounts of heat. That’s why they are not allowed to be ironed. You can read the clothing tag to see if you can iron the fabric or not. It is advised to set the lowest setting and test on a small area of the fabric to see if you can iron it.

Make a barrier

Always use a clean press cloth or a towel every time you press a new fabric. It can become a useful barrier between your soleplate and any of the materials of synthetic fabrics.

Use distilled water

Some people have hard water problems in the area they live in. Using hard water in your iron can decrease efficiency. That’s why it is advised to use distilled water in a steam iron not to affect the soleplate.

Wipe the iron

It is highly recommended to wipe your iron’s soleplate with a damp cloth after every usage. Most importantly, if you are using starch, you need to clean the iron right after the use.

Things to avoid while cleaning iron

While cleaning your iron, use a damp cloth or distilled water to remove the stains and mineral buildup on the plate. Many people use paperclips or other hard steel items to get rid of burnt marks on the plate, but they can harm the efficiency of the soleplate. You can cause scratches on the plate and steam holes, so you should avoid it.

Maintenance of iron

If you want to keep your iron in brand new condition, clean the soleplate and inside of the steam iron daily. Cleaning also depends upon how often you use your steam iron. The best option is to clean it once every thirty days and fill the water reservoirs.


Now you have read in detail how to clean a steam iron & dry iron. It is easy if you do all the steps with proper care. However, it is best not to let the iron rust or clog entirely before you do the cleaning, or else the cleaning will take longer and will not be as effective. So try out our tips and tricks on how to clean a steam iron and dry iron, and don’t forget to write back to us about your experience.


How to get the burnt material off from the bottom of an iron?

The easiest way is to use vinegar and baking soda, or salt. Try to use a clean cloth, dip it into this paste, and start rubbing it on the soleplate. Try to use distilled water to get rid of hard water residue.

What is an effective way to clean the inside of an iron?

You can use a solution of white vinegar and a half cup of distilled water and pour it into the iron. Take a toothpick, dip it in vinegar, and clean the steam vents. Turn on the iron; wait for approximately five minutes after settling the steam mode.

Does vinegar help in cleaning metal?

Vinegar is said to be the best metal cleaner. You can speak of the heavily rusted metal items in the vinegar, removing all the residue. The acid in the vinegar helps in melting the residue successfully.

Similar Posts