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How to Clean Steam Iron: A Guide to Creese-free Ironing

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Clothes are part of our identity; they help us express ourselves. Wearing messy clothes can send negative signals to people around us. Ironing saves us from that.

Ironing may be done for aesthetic implications, but it affects our health too. Research shows that ironing can disinfect clothes and get rid of lice and nits. Also, as steam irons can heat up to 100 °C or above, they can effectively kill bacteria such as E. coli, Staph bacteria, Salmonella, etc.

But keeping a steam iron in good shape is no easy task. It requires quite a bit of work and, if not done properly, might break the thing. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of properly cleaning an iron.

15 Easy Steps to Clean Your Steam Iron: Both Interior and Base Plate Included

Steam ions are one of our best companions in making us look good and sharp. If you already don’t have one, Click here to check some of the best steam irons out there.

Irons should be cleaned periodically. You may follow these 15 simple and easy steps to clean your steam iron:

Step 1: Get the Materials Required

Before you can start cleaning your clogged iron, you need a few cleaning supplies.
You don’t have to break the bank for these; your old and unused household items can be of use in this task.

Things you will need:

  • Old toothbrush
  • A towel
  • Distilled water
  • Toothpick or cotton swab
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Baking soda or table salt
  • Ice water
  • Plastic knife or credit card

Step 2: Mix a Cleaning Solution for Cleaning the Interior

Before buying a commercial cleaning solution, you should consider making one for yourself. It is easy to make and would save you a few bucks.

To make such a cleaning solution, all you have to do is mix a half-cup of distilled water with a half-cup of distilled white vinegar, and you are done.

This solution can not only clean the interior, but it can also disinfect your steam iron from various pathogens.

Step 3: Clean the Steam Ducts

Examine the steam vents for white residue or other buildups. A toothpick or a toothbrush should be used to clean out these residues. Don’t forget to dip the toothbrush in vinegar.

Try not to use anything metallic.

Step 4: Fill the Water Tank with Cleaning Solution

After cleaning the steam ducts, gently pour the cleaning solution you made into the water reservoir.

Step 5: Plug In and Set the Iron to its Highest Temperature

Now plug in the iron. You should set it to its highest temperature.

Change the fabric settings on your iron to cotton if it doesn’t have a temperature dial and let it heat up for up to 5 minutes.

If you are worried about the power usage, then don’t be. With proper knowledge of the calculating methods of the subject, you can totally figure it out.

Step 6: Press the “Steam” Button

Press the steam button and hold it for 30 seconds or so until you can see steam coming out of your iron. Do this 5 to 6 times.

Step 7: Empty the Water Tank

After doing so, you want to empty the water tank. But be careful; do not try to empty it while the iron is switched on and hot. Switch it off, let it cool down, and then remove all the water from the tank.

Step 8: Fill the Water Tank with Freshwater

Now fill the water tank with fresh water.

Step 9: Repeat the Process from Step 5 Once More

Repeat all the steps from 1 to 5 once again. This will make sure that all of the vinegar is taken out of the water tank and ductwork. After repeating the procedure, you must empty the water tank of any remaining water.

Step 10: Let it Cool Down

Again, don’t try to empty the tank while the iron is hot and active. Switch off the iron first, then unplug it and let it cool down.

Step 11: Mix a Cleaning Solution for Cleaning the Base Plate

Now you want to move on to cleaning the base plate. First, you need to make a cleaning solution for it.

Mix baking soda and distilled vinegar equally. The resulting paste or liquid solution will function as a mild abrasive and aid in removing any buildup from the base plate.

Step 12: Damp a Soft Cloth in the Solution

Take a clean cloth and dip it into the mixture. Then start scrubbing the base plate with it. Reapply the solution and scrub the base plate until it is visibly clean. Let the paste sit for at least 10 minutes if the buildup is extremely stubborn.

Step 13: Wipe the Base Plate

Take another clean cloth, damp it with clean water, and wipe the base plate properly. Doing this will remove any leftover cleaning solution. Let the iron air dry after it’s cleaned.

Step 14: Check the Steam Ducts

Your iron’s steam ducts can get clogged due to residue build-up with the minerals found in tap water, and while cleaning the base plate, the cleaning solution can get stuck in there.

If these are not cleaned out, your iron won’t be able to produce enough steam.

Check the steam ducts again for any residue build-up or if any leftover from the cleaning solution is lodged there. You may use a toothpick or cotton swab to clean them.

Step 15: Wipe the Entire Exterior with Damp Cloth

To finish off the cleaning, give the entire exterior of your iron a good wipe.

You may use a clean towel dampened with fresh water.

How to Maintain Your Steam Iron

Using a steam iron is simple. But, proper maintenance of your steam iron can ensure its longevity and decent operation.

Follow these simple tips to maximise the effectiveness of your iron:

  • Clean it twice a year or check if the manufacturer recommends more frequent cleaning.
  • The water tank should only be filled when the iron is switched off, unplugged and cool.
  • After its usage, always empty the water tank before storing it away.
  • Clean your iron of any plastic that has melted on it. Put the iron’s base plate in a small bowl of ice water to cool it. This will make the plastic more rigid and make removal easier. Use a plastic knife or credit card to remove the leftovers.
  • Descale your iron regularly to prevent the steam holes from clogging.
  • Check the power cord from time to time. You should refrain from using it if the cord is damaged. Do not use it till the cord is fixed.


Just wiping the exterior of a steam iron isn’t enough to keep it functioning for a long time. You should thoroughly clean your iron to keep it working in its best condition.

Thank you for reading. I hope this blog post has helped you in your cleaning.


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