When was the last time you looked at the bottom or plate of your iron? Generally, the plate faces away from us for safety reasons or it is working on a piece of fabric. Either way, we aren’t paying much attention to it. We typically notice there is an issue when stains or goo is transferred to our projects.
There are two primary signs that it is time to clean your iron: 1) a white crust around the steam holes or 2) the plate is stained or looks like something is smeared across it. These symptoms are address by two different methods.
The white crust is calcium build up from hard water. This can be prevented or minimized by using filtered or distilled water in your iron. To remove the crust, you have to do it from the inside out – the same way it was deposited. Empty the water out of the reservoir and replace it with a 1:4 vinegar/water solution. Plug the iron in and heat it up. Then, “iron” a rag or old towel by depressing the steam button several times. Once the steam flows freely, carefully look at the holes. The material should be loose and easily removed with a toothbrush or other gentle brush once the iron is cool. After removing the crust, empty the vinegar solution from the reservoir and replace it with water. Repeat the process of ironing a rag or old towel to flush the vinegar from the iron. Empty the reservoir one last time and replace with clean water.
The smudges or stains are due to material or its finishing materials melting onto the plate. Some people will recommend toothpaste or a vinegar and baking soda paste to scrub the stains off. Personally, I find the professional grade iron cleaner works quickly and thoroughly. You put a little paste on a clean cloth. rub a hot iron across the paste and then wipe it off on a clean towel. It works quickly and easily. Whichever method you chose to clean the stains, do NOT use any scouring pads as they will scratch the plate. Scratched plates will rust and transfer that rust to your beautiful fabric.
Take time to pump some iron – or just clean your iron.