Do you know how often you should be cleaning this household essential?

By Alexandra Lim-Chua Wee
Updated March 05, 2020
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VICTORIA PEARSON

Sliding a dirty iron across a freshly cleaned shirt is counterproductive. After pressing, steaming, and straightening out your wardrobe several times, there can be a significant build-up in your iron that may not always be obvious. Dust, detergent, starch, fabric softener, and even bits of clothing fiber can get stuck on and inside of the metal bottom area called the soleplate. But not to worry—Sharon Barodawala, iron expert and associate brand manager at Rowenta USA, spills the dirt on how to keep your iron clean, and the frequency of which you should clean it.

A Monthly Reminder

"A good rule of thumb is to clean your iron about once a month, give or take depending on your frequency of iron usage," says Barodawala. You may also notice your iron beginning to drag when you use it; this is another sign it's time for a cleaning.

The Best Method for Cleaning an Iron

Cleaning it is a two-step process: First, you'll want to clean the water tank, then you'll need to tackle the soleplate. For the first step, simply fill up the water tank completely with water and continue to push the steam button until the tank is empty. "This ensures that any particles that have calcified inside the tank will be removed," says Barodawala. And while it may feel much too simple to clean your iron with just water, Rowenta warns against placing chemicals inside of the water tank as it could damage the iron.

The next step is to clean the soleplate. First, make sure the iron is off and the water tank is empty. Next, wipe the soleplate with a damp rag before turning the iron on to the highest cotton setting and squeezing about two inches worth of cleaning cream onto a terry-cloth towel. Run the hot iron over the towel in a circular motion. Don't worry if you see some smoke during this process, as it's completely normal. Run the iron over a second clean terrycloth or use the backside of your first cloth to remove any residual cleaner. Repeat this process until the soleplate is free of residue.

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