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How to Clean an Iron Faceplate

Updated on September 28, 2010

 I saw that someone posted a question on the Hub Pages web site asking how to clean an iron. There are a lot of ideas floating around the internet, and they probably all work to some degree or another. In this message, I will show you some of the ideas that I have read about how to clean an iron. Most of this is specific to an electric iron, but it should work on any other type you may have. Before we go into the different methods my research uncovered, we will discuss some basics that they all have in common.

Before You Clean Your Iron...

 As with any other project there are a couple of things you need to do before you clean an iron. Step number one is obvious, but critical UNPLUG THE IRON. It won't help if you have a nice clean iron laying on the floor next to your elecrocuted body, so please remember this basic, although often overlooked safety tip.

The second thing is whatever method you choose, locate and collect everything you need to complete the project before you begin. This is true of anything you undertake. There's nothing worse that being halfway through completing a task that you didn't really want to do anyway, and then realize you forgot to get the thingamawidget, so now you'll have to go get it and then start over. To avoid this when you start to clean your iron, make sure that you read the instructions carefully, get the stuff you need, and then begin cleaning your iron.

How to Clean Your Iron

 There are as many ways to clean an iron as there are people cleaning irons. Here I'll list three popular methods:

The first method, after unplugging the iron, and getting your stuff together (do you see a recurring theme here?) suggests creating a cleaning solution comprised of equal parts distilled vinegar and water. You then take that solution and pour it into the water chamber on the iron.  Once you done that, you turn the dial to "steam", and run it for five minutes in an upright position. After you've done this, let the iron cool before you attempt the clean the faceplate. This will save you lots of pain, and your neighbors from having to put up with your screams of agony. Once it's cooled, take a pan and mix equal parts of the vinegar and salt, and heat it. Once it's heated, rub it on the cooled iron. This will clean any burn marks or stains from the faceplate of your iron.

If you are cleaning an iron that does not come with a teflon covered faceplate, then heat the iron, and gently slide a piece of candle or parrafin wax along the flat surface.


 The next method for cleaning your iron requires that you...UNPLUG THE IRON. Next, you create a solution by mixing a little bit of dishwashing detergent in a bowl of water. You will dip a rag into the solution and use it to clean the faceplate of your iron.  If the solution doesn't do the trick, try the salt/water solution mentioned above, or purchase a hot iron cleaner from your local hardware store.

This method goes so far as to have you clean the steam holes by dipping a cotton swab or pipe cleaner in the solution and cleaning out any residue in the holes.

To clean the inside of the iron, you will fill it with distilled water (this method discourages using vinegar as mentioned above. It is suggested that using it would cause brown sludge). After you fill the iron, set it someplace away from prying eyes (and children's hands), and turn it on to the steam setting. And of course, when you're done...Turn it off and UNPLUG IT.

The Final method I saw simply suggests using toothpaste on a rag to clean the still plugged in, hot facelplate. It doesn't mention how to clean the inside of the iron, or how to soothe your burnt fingers when you inevitably brush your fingers against the faceplate. Plus it forgets rule number one...say it with me kids...UNPLUG THE IRON.

 Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read my ramblings. Please share your secrets, questions, or even funny stories, like how you tried to clean your iron and ended up burning down a city block (I can't be the only one who's done that, can I?) in the comments below.


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      Sue 2 years ago

      Love the "safety first" comments with humor. So many helpful people forget to mention common sense instructions...and to be fair, when you are looking for "how to's" you get so involved in following the how to instructions, you forget things you would normally think of.

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      Julie 7 years ago

      While cleaning out my grandmother's house, I found a very cute travel iron in perfect condition. After ironing one of my grandfather's shirts from the 60's, there was gunk all over the faceplate. Instead of moving on and packing up the millions of other things staring me in the face, I became obsessed with trying to clean the iron. I tried the newspaper, the vinegar, the baking soda, the ammonia (not all separate intervals...) It was toothpaste that finally did the trick. Thanks. I never would have thought of it, but it makes sense. Abrasive, but not enough to damage!