How to Clean a Steam Iron? Easy Tips

Are you finding that you are having to replenish your steam iron long before its supposed ‘expiry date’? Well, you are probably either not cleaning it at all, or not cleaning it correctly. But don’t worry, there are so many other people in the exact same boat as yourself, and by following these advisories, your iron will last considerably longer and so will its performance!

Steam irons are certainly becoming the ‘go to’ iron these days, and for good reason too. They make clothes pressing easy, and consume less energy and ironing time than normal irons too. Although they are more modern than the original irons and don’t need to be cleaned as regularly, they will still need a good clean every now and then for performance and longevity.

Typically, the iron manufacturer will provide important information either on the packaging or in the manual regarding the correct water to use. The advisory is usually to either use filtered, tap, or distilled water, or perhaps both. Many people, however, will not follow these directions, and it can result in a poorly performing iron due to a mineral or limescale build-up on the soleplate.

These large limescale build-ups are a big no-no, they can cause a plethora of bad things, such as wrinkles and stains on your best clothes, and a diminishing looking iron to name a few. Now, let’s discover how we can prevent this from happening and at the same time increase the longevity of your iron!

Clean your steam iron with different methods:

There are many different methods of cleaning a steam iron, and here are a few of them:

  • Baking soda.
  • Dry sheet.
  • Toothpaste.
  • Wet cloth.
  • Salt.
  • Vinegar.

Baking soda:

So, if your iron has a build-up of rust and stains on the irons plate, then rubbing a mixture of two teaspoons of baking soda, and one teaspoon of water on the affected area should help remove the problem.

For the most effective results, apply the mixture on a cloth, rub it on the plate, and then clean it off with a moist piece of kitchen paper. Instead of using water, or if water isn’t working, then perhaps use white vinegar with the baking soda.


Toothpaste has more than one use, who’d have known? Well, toothpaste is actually used for many things around the house but we are focussing on irons. By using toothpaste, you can clean the steam iron plate. Spread a small amount of toothpaste over the steam iron plate and rub it with a wet towel and your iron should be as good as new!

Wet cloth:

Use a large cloth, dip it in warm water, and wring it out. After this, you will need to wipe the iron’s soleplate with the cloth. This method is good for regular cleaning usage, however, if you haven’t cleaned your iron in some time, you will probably want to use one of the other methods.


Place a large pinch of salt on a paper or cotton towel, then iron over it using the most elevated steam setting. The dirt residing on your iron will stick onto the salt, relieving your iron of dirt and other undesirable things likely to stain your clothes.

Another likely thing to find on your iron is liquid plastic stuck on the soleplate, to get rid of this you will want to sprinkle some salt on some aluminum foil and then iron it. This should do a good job of extracting the plastic from the base.


Pour white vinegar or an equal amount of vinegar and water into your irons water tank. Then turn your iron on, preferably to the medium/high warmth setting, and let it steam for 5 to 10 minutes, allowing the vinegar to dissipate.

Afterward, you will want to fill the tank with 100% water and turn it back on, helping elevate your iron from the mineral stores and remaining vinegar. Now, wipe the base of your iron and the steam vents with a paper towel, or something similar and your iron should be looking spotless!

In addition to these suggested iron cleaning methods, you should look into perhaps purchasing your own iron cleaner if you do not fancy all the hassle.

For many people, owning a steam iron and committing to the maintenance of it is almost a part-time job for most people! And with constant usage will come mistakes, malfunctions, and general iron issues that are difficult to rectify. So, in this next section, I will be trying my best to offer sound advice to common ironing problems.

Why is your steam iron spitting out brown stuff?

If you do not correctly follow the instructions that are either on your iron’s manual or on the packaging for your iron, then you may end up using the wrong water. Perhaps you are using regular tap water, and your iron requires filtered, in this case, expect your iron to begin spitting out undesirable brown liquid.

Because of the large quantity of minerals found in hard water, a lot of iron manufacturers will advise the usage of filtered or distilled water due to mineral deposits congesting within your steam iron’s water tank. Also, if your steam iron is emitting an almost white substance in addition to the steam, then this is a sign that you have a high amount of calcium in the water.

Why does your steam iron get sticky?

Stickiness on your iron is typically caused by a build-up of dirt, excess burnt fabrics, or mineral build-ups. All of these factors will cause problems when ironing, almost creating a grating sensation on your clothes, which will cause them damage.

Another thing is the build-up of these elements can cause color stains amongst your clothes when ironing them! These being stuck on the soleplate of your iron is never a good thing, however, it can be fixed with relative ease.

Tips to keep your steam iron safe?

  • Use filtered water only due to the absence of harsh minerals which are not good for your steam iron.
  • After use, empty the water tank and let the iron dry.
  • Clean your iron steam after some days. Wash the water tank of a steam iron with hot water.
  • Clean the accumulation (starch or calcium) from the soleplate.
  • Keep your steam iron at a safe place.
  • Always use top quality steam iron – check our steam irons reviews.