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How to Clean a Steam Iron Soleplate

cleaning steam iron soleplate

Ironing your clothes is supposed to make them look better. Unfortunately, a messy iron could leave them looking even worse than when you started. Scorch marks on your iron could leave dark stains on your garments that don’t wash out easily. To prevent that trouble, it’s smart to clean up any dark marks on your steam iron soleplate as soon as you notice them.

The Cause of Scorched Burn Marks on an Iron Soleplate

steam iron soleplate burn marks

There are several different situations that could lead to dark stains on the underside of your clothes iron.

Sometimes, irons naturally collect debris and residue from regular use. For example, tiny fibres may stick to the soleplate as you iron shirts or bedding. Spray starch may cling to the soleplate too. The heat of the iron might burn these items on so that your steam iron becomes home to a thin film of dirty residue.

At other times, the scorch marks on an iron’s soleplate show up more suddenly when something goes awry during the ironing process. Perhaps you left the iron on one area of a garment for too long, you had the heat up too high, or you tried to de-wrinkle a material that’s not suitable for ironing.

What happens then? The material burns. Pieces of it may melt onto the soleplate as dark scorch marks.

It’s worth noting that not all dark stains on an iron’s soleplate are scorch marks. Some may be rust stains from the water that leaks through the iron vents. Irons with heavy limescale buildup are the most likely to struggle with rust problems.

Ways to Remove Burn Marks from Steam Iron Soleplate

If you want to avoid damage to your garments from scorch marks, you’ll need to be intentional about cleaning up the mess right away. Otherwise, they could transfer unsightly stains to the next item you iron.

There are many popular methods for cleaning burn marks from an iron. You may need to try a few to find the one that works best for your situation. It’s also a good idea to consult the owner’s manual to ensure that the method you choose is acceptable for your unit.

No matter which you choose, start by letting the iron cool down completely. You don’t want to burn yourself in the process of trying to clean up your mess.

Next, pluck any loose pieces of material off of the soleplate. You may need to use a pair of tweezers to remove smaller bits.

After that, you can move on to one of the following techniques for getting your iron back in tip-top shape.

Scouring Pad and Water

If you’re willing to use some elbow grease, clean water and a dish scrubber might be enough to take care of the scorch marks. Make sure to choose a non-scratch pad so you won’t damage the soleplate’s finish.

Dish Soap

Often, dish detergent will do a good job of breaking up soleplate stains. Mix the detergent with a bit of distilled water to create a sudsy solution. Wipe it across the soleplate with a gentle rag, or use cotton swabs to work it into any stained vents. When finished, rinse the iron with clear water.

Baking Soda Mixture

For more problematic stains, you might need a cleaning mixture that’s a bit more abrasive. Baking soda is tough on stains while still being gentle on your iron. Stir together two parts baking soda and one part water. Gently work the paste into the stains and then wipe it away with a clean rag. Finally, turn your iron to the steam-setting and iron an old towel; this will help remove any remaining paste.

Vinegar Paste

You can make a similar cleaning mixture with vinegar instead of water. You can also swap salt for the baking soda if you’d like.

In fact, vinegar alone might be enough to tackle some stains. Try cleaning your iron with plain white vinegar before moving on to salt or baking soda paste.

Hydrogen Peroxide Ironing

If you have plenty of hydrogen peroxide on hand, you can give one of the easiest cleaning methods a try. Saturate an old cloth with hydrogen peroxide. Spread out the rag on the ironing board and turn on the iron. Slide the hot iron back and forth across the fabric to remove the stains.

Specialty Cleaners

iron soleplate cleaning stick

You can also purchase commercial cleaners that are designed for use on metal soleplates. The process for using these cleaners is often similar to the hydrogen peroxide method mentioned above. Iron cleaning sticks and FAULTLESS Starch 40110 Hot Iron Cleaner are very effective products for cleaning marks off iron sole plates.

How to Avoid Getting Burn Marks on Iron Sole plate

Of course, if you can avoid getting burn marks on your iron in the first place, you’ll save yourself the trouble of removing them.

Always consult the laundry label before ironing a particular item. Keep an eye on the temperature of the iron, never use a higher heat setting than recommended.

Place an ironing board between your garment and the iron. Trying to iron on the floor instead could leave you with melted carpet fibres and a messy iron.

Finally, take time to gently wipe down your iron with one of the above methods every now and then, even if you don’t notice scorch marks. Regular cleaning will address the buildup of fibres and another residue before it turns into dark stains that can derail your ironing process.