Catchy title, eh? Let’s chat about cleaning your beloved iron. If you use and abuse your buddy like I do then in no time at all will you have a nice build up of gunk. Fusing, setting it too hot for the fabric (and having an OOPS! moment), ironing hem tape – it can all leave a nice residue on your sole plate. Most of the time placing your iron setting on cotton and wiping it off with a warm water-only soaked cloth will clean it up.
Just in case that doesn’t do it for you, I have a very cheap method for cleaning the sole plate. I’ve done it – it works like a charm every time. Grab your iron and hit the kitchen supplies and grab a few toothpicks, vinegar, a box of wax paper and your refill container of table salt. Yup, that’s it. Empty your iron of any water and turn off any automatic steam settings.
Plug in your iron near your kitchen table on the cotton setting. Rip off two sheets of wax paper big enough to make small circular motions with your iron. Mine was about 1.5 feet. Put both sheets together and lay out on your kitchen table – curly side down. Hold it with one hand and pour about a half a cup of salt onto the wax paper. Keep hold of that wax paper or you’ll have salt catapulting all over your dining area!
Now iron the salt in slow circular motions. Go ahead and take a quick peek – I know you’re dying to see if it actually works. Guess what you’ll see? The salt is taking on all the gunk. Sole plate 1 – Gunk 0. Continue to iron until all gunk is removed. Keep in mind if you have a rather dirty iron you’ll probably want to ditch the dirty salt halfway through for a new round of salt. The wax paper will also make your sole plate shine like rock star!
What about the toothpicks you say? Well finish up with your iron, then set it down, shut it off and take a look at the steam holes. Oh yes there is salt in them thar holes. Grab a toothpick and flick those rocks out. You’re almost done! Now about that vinegar….
You emptied your iron before salt ironing and now we are going to fill it halfway with a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar – use nose plugs as necessary! Fill your iron about halfway with the vinegar/water and head off to your ironing board. Plug it in. You should still have it on the cotton setting and if you have an iron that has the auto-steam you’ll want to engage that as well. Grab an old piece of cotton fabric. Steam away until all the vinegar is gone from your iron. Now fill it halfway with distilled water and steam again until gone.
If you’ve survived the vinegar smell, congratulations, you’re done! So let’s go over what you’ve done:
Salt and Wax = gunk gone; Vinegar = pipes cleaned; Y = YAY we’re done!