Follow these steps before you steam-iron anything.
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Over time, the bottom of your iron can collect dust and mineral deposits. To avoid getting this grime on your freshly-washed clothing, you'll want to learn how to clean an iron the right way. Before you press those clean white shirts, follow the steps below to clean your iron, including removing burn marks and mineral spots from the bottom of the iron. No special cleaning products required—you probably already have all the supplies you'll need waiting right in the pantry.

What You'll Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Clean cloths
  • Distilled water
  • Cotton swab
  • White vinegar
  • Spare cloth

How to Clean an Iron

  1. Mix water and baking soda to form a thick paste. Using a cloth or soft sponge, apply the paste to the soleplate (the bottom of the iron), concentrating on any areas with mineral deposits.
  2. Let the paste sit for a few minutes before wiping away with a damp cloth.
  3. If there are burn marks or sticky residue on the soleplate, use the baking soda mixture to scrub at the stains before wiping with a damp cloth.
  4. Dip a cotton swab in distilled water and insert it into the iron's steam vents to remove any baking soda residue.
  5. Pour out any stagnant water left in the iron, then refill with half distilled water and half white vinegar.
  6. Turn on the iron to its highest steam setting. Steam-iron a clean spare cloth that you don't mind getting dirty. Iron for a few minutes, or until the vents are completely clear. The vinegar is acidic, so it will help cut through any lingering mineral deposits in the vents.
  7. Turn off the iron and empty out any remaining liquid. Rinse the reservoir with clean water.

Prevent Mineral Deposits

To avoid mineral buildups in the first place, consider steam-ironing with distilled water, which doesn't contain minerals. If using tap water, pour out any excess water left in the reservoir when you're done ironing so the mineral deposits don't have a chance to form.