Cleaning the gunk off your iron: is this the world’s most boring chore?

Is the plate of your iron looking a bit gunked up? Mine gets distinctly grotty after using adhesive fabric backing and interlining. Here’s how I get rid of the gluey residue. As you can see, I have an iron with a shiny soleplate with no coating.

Warning! This may not work if your iron has a special non-stick coating. Please read your iron’s instructions if you are in doubt about using this method.

Please note: I don’t take responsibility for anything that happens to you, your equipment or your iron if you try this method. These instructions are for guidance only. You have to use common sense and make sure you don’t muck about with a hot iron, steam, scourers and electrical equipment.

You will need: a heatproof tray, an old cloth, some washing-up liquid or liquid shampoo and possibly a dish scourer suitable for non-stick cookware.

Squirt a little soap onto the damp cloth. Here, I have used an old facecloth.

First, wet the cloth, wring it out and lay it on the tray, then squirt some liquid soap all across the cloth. Here I have used an old facecloth as the texture of the towelling helps in this process, but a tea towel will work as well.

Switch on the iron to its hottest heat and when it is fully hot, switch it off and unplug it.

Place the iron, plate flat, on the cloth. It will hiss and make steam as the hot iron touches the damp soapy cloth. Move the iron around on the cloth to make a bit of a foam.

After unplugging the iron, put it onto the damp, soapy cloth and move it around slightly to make a foam.

You will see some of the gluey gunk quickly comes off the iron onto the cloth, but you will need to leave it in place, flat on the cloth for a while longer.

The gluey gunk comes off quite quickly onto the cloth

The glue won’t all come off straight away! This is the iron after 10 minutes. At this point, I removed the iron from the cloth and heated it up again. After unplugging again, I laid it back on the cloth and agitated it to get the foam up again, leaving it for a further ten minutes.

Here is the iron after a total of 20 minutes laying on the soapy cloth. These bits of glue are really stubborn and won’t come off without some extra help. At this point, the iron has completely cooled down. Do not do this if the iron is still hot! Here is where I used a gentle scourer to rub the remaining bits of glue. This scourer is suitable for non-stick cookware.

It’s not perfect, but I am now able to use my iron on nice fabrics again.

I hope this helps!

Published by Sarah McAlister Hat Maker and Textile Artist

I make all my lovely hats, caps and textiles by hand.

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