How to Clean an Iron to Get Rid of Mineral Spots

With a few household ingredients, your iron will be clean and ready for your clothes—no spots left behind.

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Knowing how to clean an iron is important for avoiding spots from getting onto your clothes when ironing. Mineral spots typically build up on the iron's plate, and steam vents can get gunked up with dirt. You certainly don't want this to transfer onto fabric as you iron. Follow this simple technique to clean your iron and have spotless, crisp clothes.

How Often to Clean an Iron

Depending on how often you use your iron, it's recommended that you clean it every one to four months. If you're a daily ironer, you should clean it every month. Those who iron less frequently can stretch their iron cleaning to every few months. Of course, if you see any spots left behind on clothing, clean your iron right away.

Considerations Before You Get Started

Before cleaning your iron, always be sure it's unplugged and has completely cooled. You should also work on an ironing board or a clear, flat surface. Gather supplies ahead of time and give yourself plenty of space to avoid spills or accidents.

What You Need:

  • Iron
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Small bowl
  • Rubber spatula
  • Damp cloth
  • Soft-bristled brush or toothbrush (optional)
  • Cotton swab
  • Distilled water
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Clean, dry cloth that can be ironed
  • Flat surface
Iron and Ironing Board
Michael Haegele/Getty Images

How to Clean an Iron With Baking Soda and Distilled Water

Step 1: Make a Cleaning Paste

Mix 1 tablespoon of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a small bowl to make a paste.

Step 2: Apply the Paste

Spread the paste on the iron's plate using a rubber spatula, coating the areas with mineral deposits. Let the paste sit for a few minutes.

Step 3: Wipe the Iron's Plate

Wipe off the paste with a damp cloth. (If you have stubborn deposits, add more paste and massage gently with an old toothbrush or another soft-bristled brush.)

Step 4: Clean the Iron's Vents

  • Dip a cotton swab in distilled water and insert it into the iron's steam vents.
  • Pour out any stagnant water left in the iron.
  • Pour distilled water into the iron until the reservoir is 1/3 full. (For a stronger solution, mix 3/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar.)

Step 5: Flush the Vents

Turn the iron on to its highest setting and steam-iron a clean cloth for a few minutes, letting clean water flush out any vent deposits.

Step 6: Finish and Let Dry

Turn off the iron and pour out any remaining water. Place the iron on a surface that isn't too delicate in case any sediment drips out of it.

How to Keep Your Iron Clean Longer

To keep your iron clean longer and help keep it free of mineral deposits between cleanings, we suggest using distilled water when using the steam function. Tap water can clog the iron and cause rust stains on your clothes.

Additionally, once you've finished ironing, empty the water from the iron—any water (even distilled) can cause buildup when left in the iron for an extended amount of time. Finally, be sure to store your iron upright to prevent water from dripping out.

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