One of the biggest mistakes you can make when ironing is using a dirty iron (yes, the thought makes us shudder, too). But 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. Things like dust in the air, detergent, starch, fabric softener, and even bits of clothing fiber can get stuck on and inside of your iron’s soleplate. But fear not—we chatted with Sharon Barodawala, iron expert and associate product manager at Rowenta USA to dish the dirt on how to keep your iron clean.
How often to clean your iron
“A good rule of thumb is to clean your iron about once a month, give or take depending on your frequency of iron usage,” Barodawala tells us. You may also notice that your iron begins to drag when you use it; this is another sign it’s time for a cleaning.
The best way to clean your iron
This is a two-party process: first you’ll want to clean the water tank, and then the soleplate. To do the first, simply fill up your water tank completely 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.” And while it may feel much to simple clean your iron with water, Rowenta warns to never put any chemicals inside of the water tank in an attempt to clean it. This could damage the iron.
To clean the soleplate, first make sure the iron is off and the tank is empty of any water. Next, wipe your soleplate with a damp rag. Then, turn the iron on to the highest cotton setting and squeeze cleaning cream around two inches of a terry-cloth towel. Run the hot iron over the towel in a circular motion. If you see some smoke, don’t worry as this is normal. Run the iron over a second clean terry-cloth (or use the backside of your first cloth) to remove any residual cleaner. Repeat this process until you no longer notice any cleaner residue on the soleplate.
Watch Martha clean out an iron here: