I have no idea why, but my iron is the last thing I remember to clean in my sewing room. It’s always at the end of a long cleaning list that I never seem to complete!
Which is silly, because cleaning irons is actually really easy and fast! And there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a shiny, clean soleplate.
There are lots of ways to clean an iron, and before we start, I suggest looking at your iron’s owner’s manual to make sure that you are safely cleaning it. I would hate for someone to ruin a beautiful iron because they didn’t read their manual!
The following ways use materials that are easily found around the house, and require no special equipment, other than a little scrubbing.
Method 1: Vinegar
I’m convinced vinegar is magical. It can be used for cleaning pretty much anything! It’s natural and safe for most surfaces.
To clean your iron, mix a half-cup of distilled vinegar and a half-cup of warm water. Dip a soft rag into the mixture and scrub that faceplate!
I usually start with this to get off most of the dirt, etc.
Method 2: Use a Dryer Sheet
I saw this on a quilting guild page and apparently it works really well!
To start, heat your iron to the cotton setting. You can either iron the dryer sheet to clean it or bunch up the sheet (make sure your hand is protected!!) and scrub the plate.
When it starts to get too warm or dirty, use a new dryer sheet to keep cleaning. Some people swear by this method!
Method 3: Baking Soda
More heavy duty than the previous methods, baking soda is a great way to clean off tough spots on your iron.
Mix water with baking soda until a paste forms. You can dip a rag into the paste and scrub your soleplate.
The paste may get into the steam holes, so you can work around the holes OR what I like to do is fill the iron with water and keep steaming until the vents are cleared (and cleaned!).
Using a toothbrush can also assist in clearing the steam vents.
Other Ways to Clean Your Iron
There are also special products like this one:
These will also clean your iron effectively and many people love them! If your iron has gotten really dirty, those products would be a great choice.
Cleaning the Water Tank in Your Iron
To clean the water tank in your iron, you can fill it with one part water and one part vinegar. Repeatedly press the steam button to clean the vents.
Pour in distilled water to rinse the water tank. Vinegar is natural, and will not hurt fabric, so even if there is vinegar left in the steamer, it won’t damage your fabrics.
Regularly cleaning your iron for quilting is a great way to prevent long-term buildup (which can be really difficult to remove!)
As a quilter, I use my iron more than almost anything else! It really is integral in my piecing. Over time it gets grimy (or you accidentally melt something on it, that's me, I did that recently!) so cleaning it is really important!
I hope that these methods work for you!