A lot of people don’t iron much anymore, but I still do—a quest to eliminate wrinkles in all parts of my life😊. Over the years, I’ve run into two problems with irons—they sometimes spit up dirty water on the clothes that I’m ironing, or the iron’s surface has gotten dirty.

Cleaning the Inside of an Iron

The iron “spit-up” is caused by mineral deposits (brown spots are likely iron deposits; white spots may be calcium) or organic substances in the hard water that is used to fill the iron. Sometimes I can wash out just that spot, but sometimes it’s left quite a mark—fortunately, I found an easy and effective way to clean out the iron’s inside.

Note: this is for irons that do not have filters and descale automatically.

Cleaning Solution: Mix together one part white vinegar and one part water, then pour that mixture into the iron’s water chamber. Steam it out, and repeat with plain water.

Cleaning the iron soleplate (the surface that comes in contact with the clothes when ironing)

I recently scorched a fabric—yup—melted it good—leaving lots of burnt fibers on the soleplate of my iron. The soleplate of this iron is stainless steel, which can also get dirty from long-term, general buildup, often from using starch. Fortunately, I found an easy and effective way to clean that surface, making the iron shiny—and useable—again.

This method is for irons with non-coated, stainless steel soleplates.

Cleaning Solution: Let the iron surface completely cool. Mix together baking soda and water to make a paste. Spread the paste on the iron soleplate, and scrub with a soft brush or towel. Wipe away with water and a towel. Let the iron dry before using it again.

This method worked for me, though I did have to scrub a little more than I expected. For other methods, see Handy.com—and for all you iron fanatics 😊—learn everything you wanted to know about iron soleplates at Medium.com.