Written by Tenley Haraldson

Is burnt fabric on your iron staining your clothes? Noticing funky smells? Are hard water stains blocking the steam vents?

Our expert tips walk you through how to clean a burnt iron, remove scorch marks, clean out the water reservoir, and keep your appliance in fine working order. 

Why Does My Iron Leave Brown Marks?

Residue from synthetic fabrics, starch, and basic grime tend to build up on iron soleplates (aka the metal part that heats up). And for people who have hard water, minerals can cause rust build up on the soleplate and inside the steam holes. 

Why Do I Need to Clean My Iron?

This residue doesn't just make your iron less effective: It can lead to nasty smells, snagged materials, uneven steam production, and burn marks that stain clothes. Most worryingly, residue-covered irons can lead to fires. 

6 Methods: How to Clean the Bottom of an Iron 

Most iron cleaning hacks require a few ingredients and tools that you probably have at your house. Don't panic if the remedy doesn’t remove product buildup: Different methods work better on different types of residue, so try something new until you see results.

Whatever you choose, start by cleaning built-up residue from the steam holes of a cooled, unplugged iron. Use a toothpick, clean toothbrush, or cotton swab to wipe away gunk – and never use anything metal to clean an iron’s soleplate.

Pro Tip: Because polyester and microfiber can melt at high heat, be sure to use a natural fiber towel with hot irons.

1. Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner

iron cleaner

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Start with a cool, unplugged iron and spray the soleplate with Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner. Let the formula sit for 30-60 seconds, then scrub with a clean microfiber towel. It’s absolutely that easy.

Pro Tip: Our 99.96% natural all-purpose spray can be safely used on any non-porous surface. Unsurprisingly, this makes it an unbelievable iron cleaner.

2. Salt & Newspaper

how to clean an iron

Turn your iron on a warm setting (without steam). Place a piece of newspaper or parchment paper on the ironing board and cover with a thin layer of salt. When the iron is heated, rub it quickly over the salt – in a circle – for one minute. Repeat, refreshing salt as necessary.

Unplug the iron, let it cool, and remove remnants with a damp microfiber cloth

3. Baking Soda

how to clean iron plate

Who doesn’t love the cleaning power of baking soda? Create a thick paste of 2 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Next, cover the iron plate but avoid covering steam vents. Scrub with a clean toothbrush and wipe away with a damp microfiber cloth. 

4. Vinegar & Baking Soda

how to remove burn marks from iron

Distilled white vinegar and baking soda make for an effective iron cleaning combination – and you probably have them in your pantry. Make a paste with equal parts vinegar and baking soda, dip a clean microfiber cloth into the paste, then rub it in small circles over the soleplate.

Dip a clean microfiber cloth into distilled water (especially important if you have hard water) and thoroughly wipe off any paste residue.

5. Toothpaste

remove scorch marks from iron

Using a cotton bud or paper towel, rub a small amount of plain, white toothpaste (not gel) onto your iron's scorch marks. Only cover the affected areas, then wipe off with a damp microfiber cloth.

If toothpaste gets into the steam vents, fill up the water tank with distilled water. Place the iron upright on an old towel, set the iron to steam, and let it sit for a few minutes on the ironing board. Hold the steam button for 20-30 seconds and wipe with a damp cloth. Repeat 5-6 times until the steam flows freely.

6. Paracetamol

how to clean an iron plate

Paracetamol (e.g. acetaminophen, Tylenol) is handy for getting burn marks off irons. Be sure to use a white, uncoated variety though!

Turn your iron on high, grasp a paracetamol tablet with a pair of tweezers, and rub the tablet all over the soleplate. Avoid touching the hot surface with your tweezers. The tablet should gradually dissolve into a gel, dissolving residue right along with it. Repeat as many times as necessary, then rub the hot iron over a clean, damp towel.

How to Clean an Iron Water Reservoir 

cleaning iron water reservoir

If you notice musty odors – or can see mold or mildew in the water tank – there’s a simple solution:

  1. Drain all remaining water from the reservoir, then pour in a 1:1 distilled water and white vinegar solution. 
  2. Stand the iron up and select a high heat with steam setting. Let your iron work its magic until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. 
  3. Let your iron cool and drain out the remaining liquid.
  4. Fill the tank with distilled water, prop up the iron, and select the same high-heat steam. Run for 5-10 minutes.

Note: If your iron comes with a reservoir filter, soak this in the vinegar-water mixture. Be sure to thoroughly scrub it with a dish brush, rinse, then dry before replacing. 

The Best Way to Keep Your Iron Clean

Simple methods will help prevent residue from sticking to the soleplate. Using these tried-and-true iron-cleaning methods will keep your iron looking new and your clothes looking their best. 

1. Know Which Fabrics Can Be Ironed

iron symbols

Some types of fabric can’t handle high heat while others shouldn’t use steam. Read each clothing tag to see whether there are specific ironing instructions. When in doubt – or when ironing a garment made of multiple fabrics – start with the lowest setting and test an interior seam. 

2. Create a Barrier 

Use a clean press cloth/thin cotton towel every time you iron. It will act as an effective barrier between your iron’s soleplate and prevent gunk being caused by synthetic fabrics.

3. Only Use Distilled Water

distilled water

If your area has hard water, distilled water will help maintain your iron’s steam function and decrease mineral buildup along the soleplate.

Pro Tip: If you only iron occasionally, dump the water out to prevent mildew growth.

4. Wipe It Down 

After every use, wipe your cooled soleplate with a damp microfiber cloth – especially if you’re using starch.

Add Our Multi-Surface Cleaner to Your Cleaning Caddy

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