So today’s post is a simple, practical one. As part of my Spring Cleaning routine, one of the things I do is to go through all of our clothes. I swap out the Fall/Winter clothes for the Spring/Summer clothes. Some stuff gets thrown out, a lot goes to a local charity thrift shop, and I also make a list of what I will need for the next year’s Fall/Winter season. That way I can begin to look for end-of-season sales for things like hats, gloves, etc. But today’s post is more… boring. As I go through the winter clothes, and figure out how to store them (an upcoming post), I am also taking things out of storage and hanging them up in closets and storing them in drawers.

But after six months in storage, or pushed to the back of a closet, things get wrinkled and need to be pressed. Now, you could just send everything to the dry cleaner. Or, to save money, you can do it yourself. There are tons of videos on YouTube about how to press clothes (I will link to a few below), but this post is about how to clean your iron.

You mean I have to clean my iron? Yes. An iron that has mineral build-up or gunk on the faceplate can leave stains and dark marks that are hard to get off of lightweight cottons, linens, and silks. But, luckily, once you know how to do it, you can do this chore in less than ten minutes. And next week we’ll begin to discuss how to care for seasonal clothing. So let’s get started.

How to Clean Your Iron

  • First, only use distilled water to clean your iron. You’re trying to get rid of the mineral build-up, not add to it.
  • Make sure the iron is unplugged and cool. First we’re going to clean the insides and the steam vents.
  • In a measuring cup, stir together 1/4 cup white vinegar and 3/4 cup distilled water.
  • Carefully, pour the water/vinegar into the cold iron’s reservoir.
  • Lay a towel on top of your ironing board and plug in the iron. Turn on the steam button.
  • Heat the iron up for 5 minutes. Press the steam button until steam begins to appear.
  • Keep pressing the steam button until all of the water is used up.
  • Keep the iron plugged in–but be careful with this next step. Use a cotton swap, soaked in white vinegar, to clean the steam vents. Keep rubbing the vents until all of the buildup and deposits are gone.
  • Unplug the iron. Let it cool completely. If there is any water left in the reservoir, dump it out.
  • Now let’s clean the soleplate–this works for non-stick and regular soleplate surfaces.
  • In a small bowl, stir together 1 Tablespoon of water and 2 Tablespoons of baking soda and make a paste.
  • With a spatula, apply the paste to the soleplate. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Using a damp cloth, rub the paste off until the iron is clean.
  • Fill your iron reservoir with more distilled water (no vinegar) and turn on the iron and the steam setting. 
  • Once the iron is hot and steaming, turn the iron over the towel on the ironing board. Press the steam button to make sure that no paste is left inside the vent holes or on the soleplate.
  • Turn off the iron and let it cool. If necessary, use a cotton swab soaked in distilled water to clean the steam vents.
  • If you do this every six months, you’ll keep your iron in top working order!

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