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    How to clean an iron

    You’ve done your weekly wash and you’re prepping for the busy week ahead by making sure work shirts, office blouses and uniforms are pressed. Then you notice a black, sticky mess on the bottom of your iron. Help! Luckily there are solutions at hand. Whether you’re looking for how to clean a sticky iron bottom or how to get burn marks off, iron cleaning is pretty straightforward when you know what you’re doing. Here’s some advice on how to clean an iron soleplate using home remedies (and some ways to keep your water reservoir tip-top too).

    How to clean iron plates

    How to clean iron plates

    How do you know if an iron needs cleaning? It’s easy to tell if the iron has visible burn marks or is sticky to the touch, but a clean iron soleplate should also move smoothly over your clothes, without dragging or leaving marks.

    Before trying to clean an iron, make sure it’s unplugged and the plate has cooled down completely. One obvious way to clean an iron plate is to use a soleplate cleaner designed specifically for the purpose. Alternatively, you can check some quick home remedies. Remember: whatever your method, test it on a small part of the plate before cleaning the rest, just in case it causes issues.

    Home remedies to clean an iron soleplate

    Soapy water – if your iron only needs a light clean, you can scrub it with a sponge dipped in soapy water. Don’t use wire wool – it’ll damage the plate.


    Toothpaste – if the soleplate is still not clean after the soapy water treatment, you could try using toothpaste. Once the iron has dried, get a small blob of toothpaste and rub it all over the surface of the plate, using an old rag or tea towel. Clean the toothpaste away with a damp sponge or cloth.


    Vinegar – you can use vinegar to get more stubborn marks or sticky residue off an iron. Lay down newspaper before you begin, because vinegar can damage stone or wooden surfaces. Here are the steps for how to clean an iron soleplate with vinegar:


    Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and salt in a saucepan.


    Heat the mixture gently (you’re just warming it up, not trying to boil it). Take the pan off the stove before you start cleaning.


    Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from the heat, then dip a sponge in the salt-and-vinegar mixture.


    Gently scrub the bottom of the iron clean.

    While methods for how to clean burnt iron marks and how to clean a sticky iron are generally similar, you might find that some work better on certain iron problems.

    However, to avoid dealing with burn marks at all, consider using a steam iron with an effective solution against limescale. Philips PerfectCare Elite Plus features an Easy De-Calc system that lets you know when it’s time to descale, while the DynamiQ smart sensor guarantees no burn or creases on all fabrics. 

    How to clean a steam iron water reservoir

    How to a steam iron water resevoir

    Planning to descale the water reservoir of your steam iron? Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if your iron has a self-cleaning function and learn more on how to clean a steam generator designed with easy descaling in mind. 

    However, if your iron doesn’t have a self-cleaning function, it’s up to you to sort out the reservoir.

    White vinegar – white vinegar can help you here, but check the manufacturer’s instructions first as putting vinegar in the reservoir may not be recommended for your model. 

    Mix equal amounts of vinegar and water, put the mixture in the reservoir, turn the iron to medium heat and give it about ten minutes to steam.

    Afterwards, empty out the reservoir, fill it with distilled water, turn the iron on and leave it to steam for another few minutes in order to clean away the last of the vinegar.

    Distilled water – if your iron’s manufacturer advises against vinegar, you can just fill the reservoir with distilled water. Turn it to medium heat and let it steam itself almost dry, without taking the step of using vinegar first.


    To help prevent limescale, always empty the water reservoir before you put your iron away.

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