How to clean a steam iron with steam holes

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Trying to clean the holes in your steam iron?

cleaning a steam iron


Any iron with steam holes is going to get a build-up of gunk in its time. Even if you’ve been meticulously making sure you only add water to the reservoir and you follow the ironing labels to the note. And there is reason to it, too.

We’ve got all the tools and know-how to get your iron, the steam holes and the soleplate (yes, that’s what the bottom really is called) right back to their perfect state.

Signs to indicate you have a clogged steam iron

Having a clogged steam iron doesn’t happen immediately. And, depending on how
much you use the iron, it can happen quicker or slower than others.

For example, if you were to use the iron multiple times a day, you may see a swift
build up. The same goes for only using the iron one or two times a month, the drying
process of the iron will allow build-up in all of its nooks and crannies.

In order to know if you need to clean your iron, there will be some tell-tale signs.

Ways to know your iron needs cleaning

• It has a white build-up around the steam holes
• There is brown stuff coming out of iron holes
• The iron is leaking from a specific area
• Your clothes aren’t ironing or steaming as well as they used to
• There is burn residue on the soleplate of the iron
• You don’t have a non-stick iron and you’ve had it more than one year
• You live in an area with hard water
• The steam is not being expelled from all of the steam holes

cleaning a steam iron

The reasons you need to know how to clean a steam iron with holes

Now you know what to look out for, having this brown stuff coming out of iron steam hole is not something that should happen a lot.

Sometimes, it can even ruin the fabric which is definitely not something you want when you’re ironing your shirt for work that day. So, the reason the iron needs to be cleaned and you’ll see build up like this can vary depending on where you live and how you use the iron.

Firstly, consider your location. Is the water you get through your tap hard water? For example in the UK, London is a hard-water location because the streams pass through mineral-rich areas. This means your water is likely to cause limescale build-up in your steam iron with steam holes. This is the white parts in a clogged steam iron.

On the other hand, if you use scented ironing water, they can leave a residue in the bottom of your water reservoir in the iron. This would be the brown stuff coming out of iron steam holes when you iron.

Finally, if you iron synthetic fabrics such as polyester, they can melt. And, if it is a slow process over time, you may not notice until it is truly time to clean your steam iron!

Step by step instructions to clean a steam iron with steam holes

Now down to the dirt of it all; knowing the process of cleaning your steam iron’s steam holes.
It’s important you’re able to clean your iron using green methods, safety equipment and care for your iron.

So, try to use natural cleaning supplies but if you do use chemicals, make sure you have the right safety equipment such as masks and gloves (especially when the iron is
hot).

If you have a protective coat on your iron (such as Teflon) make sure to skip any steps after Step Three and contact the brand!

cleaning a steam iron


Bathe your iron with water and dish soap

The first step is always the least invasive.

There are so many other places that will tell you to head straight for bicarbonate of soda without considering if your steam iron actually needs it.

You’ll need to get a dish bowl and fill it with about 1cm depth of water. Then, add a tablespoon of dish soap and mix. Place a tea towel in the bottom of the dish bowl and allow it to soak the water.

Place your iron soleplate-down into the dish bowl and leave to soak overnight.


Flush the reservoir with white vinegar

When you clean a steam iron with steam holes, you’ll also need to make sure there is no build up in the reservoir of the iron, too.

So, after your iron has spent a cosy night in the tub, dry the soleplate and empty the reservoir. Mix a solution of one-part water and one-part white vinegar before adding it to the iron until it is filled to the line.

Then, simply leave it for an hour before emptying the reservoir through the spout.


Create a steam room

After you’ve allowed the white vinegar to loosen the limescale of the clogged steam iron, you need to ensure that no remaining white vinegar solution will stick.

And you’ll want what’s left to work its magic down the steam holes, too.
So, add a small amount of water to the reservoir and let the iron warm to full heat. Then, take the iron to a sink in the kitchen, bathroom or utility and begin steaming your iron.

As you steam the iron, you may see water dripping out of the steam holes, but this is to be expected. Keep going until the reservoir is empty!


Destroy the papers

After steaming, any areas with large build up in the steam holes or on the soleplate should have begun to peel or gone away completely.

If there are still some areas left, you can have a go at steps four or five. You’ll need some old newspapers you have no intention of reading. Then, while your iron’s reservoir is empty, put your iron is on a medium heat, begin to rub the iron over the paper as if you were ironing the paper.

Make sure there is no brown stuff coming out of iron holes as you may need to go back and repeat Step Three.

Running the iron over the paper allows the magnetic ink to peel the rest of the residue off the sole of the iron.

cleaning a steam iron

Squeeze out some toothpaste onto the irons soleplate

Instead of using the newspaper trick, you may need to clean a steam iron with steam holes by using some toothpaste and a soft bristled toothbrush.


You would need the newspaper technique for residue on the soleplate of the iron, but you’d need the toothpaste technique for residue remaining within the holes of the clogged steam iron. Ingredients of calcium carbonate and sodium lauryl sulphate work together to remove substances such as limescale getting stuck in your iron or brown stuff coming out of iron holes.

Take the soft bristled brush, add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and begin to gently rub into the affected steam holes in the iron. Repeat until a clogged steam iron is no longer part of your worries.

Finish everything with a final relaxing steam

The final part to making sure your clogged steam iron is fit and ready to start straightening some garments, you will need to follow Step Three again. This step can be great for the sinuses after it has been cleaned, especially with toothpaste involved.

Once you’re done, you should be left with a sparkling soleplate with no residue in the reservoir, in the steam holes or on the base.

All steam holes should allow steam to pass through, there shouldn’t be any leaking and there’s no need to fret about strange brown stuff coming out of iron holes and onto the fabric!

As a final measure before we leave you, make sure you always empty your steam iron’s reservoir after you’ve used the iron. This will prevent leakage and stop brown stuff coming out of iron steam holes when you start to use it again. Otherwise, you should now have a clean and sparkling iron.

Best selling iron cleaning products

SaleBestseller No. 1
SaleBestseller No. 2
CARE + PROTECT Steam Iron Soleplate Cleaning Sticks, Universal, Professional Descaler, Ideal for Removing Limescale and Dirt Residues, Pack of 2 Sticks, White
  • Effective cleaning: CARE + PROTECT professional descaler for steam irons easily removes stains and limescale, making ironing easier and maintaining high appliance performance over time
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  • Quick and handy application: Thanks to the stick format, CARE + PROTECT iron cleaner makes it easy to remove all limescale residuals and stains from the iron soleplate
  • Instructions for use: After heating the iron to 60 °C, wipe the stick on the plate and leave it for 15 seconds; then wipe with a damp cloth until all traces of dirt have been removed
Bestseller No. 3
Cleaner Stick for Iron Designed for Removing Thermal BURNINGS New 30g TECHNICQLL
  • 1 x CLEANER STICK FOR IRON DESIGNED FOR REMOVING THERMAL BURNINGS NEW 30g TECHNICQLL
  • A sensational agent for rapid and efficient cleaning of iron, soiled as a result of thermal burns
  • of various kinds of compressed fabric, both natural and synthetic.
  • It does not cause corrosion of the sole plate.
  • - stick form,- concentrated form,- does not contain chlorine
Bestseller No. 4
Caraselle Vilene Iron cleaner wipe off scorch starch & burn marks from
  • Maintain & protect your steam iron
  • Wipe off those Scorch, Starch & Burn Marks
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Vilene Iron Cleaner Stick-1 Pack 53540237
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