Descaling Iron and Removing Limescale – How to Do It Properly

If you have a steam iron, you may notice a limescale build-up after using tap water in your iron to produce steam. Limescale is normal due to the hard water in the UK, but you should descale a steam iron as soon as you notice it to prevent clogging the steam passages inside the iron.

It is essential to know how to descale a steam iron correctly. Irons blocked with limescale deposits, mineral deposits, or sticky residues, universally known as calc, can make ironing less effective and potentially damage your garments.

Go Through Your Owner’s Manual

We advise you to read the instructions that came with your iron before doing any maintenance.

Check which descaling procedure the manufacturer advises for your model before cleaning your iron. While irons are all similar in appearance and function, their underlying processes and construction might vary, which may require a specific manner to descale the iron.

The following are the three most effective descaling methods:

Pressurised steam:  Most irons blast pressurised steam through the steam vents to eliminate dirt or built-up residue.

Flushing: Some irons connect to your tap, allowing you to descale the appliance by flushing water through it.

Built-in chamber: Some irons include a built-in chamber that collects limescale residue over time, so you can remove the chamber and empty it.

The first thing you should do is examine if the approach suggested in your owner’s manual can clean out your iron and fix any troubles you may be having with your iron.

If this does not work on an iron that has not been cleaned in a long time, you will need to use a more comprehensive cleaning method to remove limescale from your iron.

Try the methods below for descaling your iron. It will leave your iron fresh, clean, and efficiently steaming away creases again.

What You Need For Descaling Iron

You can easily find some, or all of these items in your home, especially in the kitchen.

  • White Vinegar
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Small bowl
  • Hand towel
  • Ironing board
  • Small clothes
  • Cotton buds
  • Iron cleaner

How To Descale An Iron and Remove Limescale

Now that you know what you need let’s talk about the steps to descale an iron and remove limescale.

Make the mixture

In a small dish or cup, combine half a cup each of water and vinegar. This mixture aids in eliminating odours and limescale and disinfecting the inside as well.

You can also use it to get to any hard-to-reach spots if you notice your iron has clogged steam vents. It is an eco-friendly and cost-effective cleaning method. Fill the iron’s water reservoir with the cleaning solution, then turn it on to the highest (hottest) water setting available – usually the linen setting.

Run the solution through your iron

The next step is to run the mixture through the system after you turn the iron on and allow it to heat up to its maximum setting.

Spread out a towel on your ironing board and glide it across the towel periodically pressing the iron’s steam button. Release the steam in 20 to 30-second bursts for a couple of minutes until most of the water solution in your resevoir has been used up.

Empty the reservoir

Empty the regular or cordless steam iron of any residual solution, then refill the reservoir with clean water and repeat the previous step’s steaming operation to verify that the vinegar is rinsed from the reservoir and through the iron itself. Drain the water reservoir of any residual water once you finish.

Clean the soleplate

In a small basin, mix table salt and white vinegar solution, using equal amounts of both.

This mixture serves as a mild abrasive, and you can use it to clean the iron plate of any stubborn buildups. It is especially handy if the soleplate is burnt and is no longer gliding smoothly over clothes. Make sure the iron has cooled down before doing this.

Pro Tip: Toothpaste can effectively remove white marks or burns from your iron, particularly the soleplate. Give toothpaste a try to scrub the soleplate of your iron.

Apply the mixture

Apply the mixture to the soleplate in a uniform coating over the whole surface. Wipe the mixture away gently with a slightly moist towel. To do so, use gradual yet consistent motions. Use a separate cloth to wipe away any excess when you are done.

Reapply as needed, repeating the process as necessary to clean the soleplate.

However, take care not to scratch the soleplate, as this can result in permanent discolouration or rust on the non-stick surface.

Clean the ducts

Pay specific attention to the ducts as minerals and calcium contained in water may clog them over time.

If your iron has problems producing steam, wipe the ducts and any visible residue with a cotton bud to remove the scale buildup.

Extra step for non-stick soleplates

You may buy an iron cleaner at your local supermarket if your iron does not have a non-stick soleplate.

While every soleplate may be cleaned with a salt and vinegar solution, some may do best with a high strength iron cleaner too. Just remember not to apply it to a non-stick soleplate.

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How Frequently Should You Descale Your Iron?

According to most iron manufacturers, descaling should be done every one to three months, but some want you to do it every two weeks.

In truth, most users do not descale their iron as frequently as this. From our experience, we discovered that some irons are superior to others at dealing with limescale, and you might be able to get away with descaling less frequently if you use a top steam iron.

On the other hand, you might notice steam levels decreasing dramatically after a few months of use. If so, your iron will require frequent cleaning to keep it working at its best.

Suppose you want to maintain your iron under warranty. In that case, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Check the handbook before you buy.

If you want an iron that does not require frequent cleaning, a good recommendation is the Morphy Richards 303210. It has an anti-scale function that prevents limescale from depositing inside the unit.


Cleaning your iron may seem like a difficult task. But if you follow the steps above and take preventive measures to reduce limescale, the process is easy.

The steps save you time and money in the long run since your iron will last longer, and you will not have to spend money on maintenance or to replace it every few months. Check out this article to see if your iron requires distilled water. Using distilled water when ironing can help to reduce limescale.