How to Clean Your Steam Iron

If you use tap water in your steam iron, after using it for a while you may notice some build-up around the steam holes. This build-up can get on your clothes, and while it will not permanently stain most fabrics, it is a nuisance and can be difficult to remove. To remove build-up from your steam iron, follow these simple steps.

Turn your steam iron off and allow it to cool

Safety first! Be sure that your steam iron is powered off and cool to the touch before proceeding to clean it. Neglecting to do so will not only hinder the cleaning process, but can result in serious burns. Never attempt to clean a steam iron that has not been completely cooled.

Empty steam iron’s water tank

After the steam iron is cool, completely empty the water tank. For most models, this can be done simply by turning the steam iron upside-down over a sink, but some models may require a different method. Check your owner’s manual for the most effective way to drain the steam iron.

Fill steam iron’s water tank with a vinegar solution

Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and distilled water. (Distilled water should be used for this process, as tap water contains impurities which will hinder the cleaning process.) Pour this solution into your steam iron’s water tank, up to the maximum fill line.

Turn steam iron on, and adjust steam setting to high

After filling your steam iron with vinegar and water, set the heat to a high setting and allow to completely heat up. Once it is completely heated, place the steam iron on the highest heat setting. Iron a clean, dry towel for a few minutes to “catch” any deposits from the iron’s steam vents. Iron the towel for at least five minutes, or until no more deposits are left on the fabric.

Turn steam iron off, allow it to cool, and empty the water tank

Again, be safe. Allow the steam iron to cool completely before emptying the water tank. If desired, refill the water tank with plain water and empty it again to make sure all the vinegar is rinsed out.

Preventing build-up in your steam iron

The most effective way to keep your steam iron free from build-up in the first place is to use distilled water instead of tap water when ironing. If tap water must be used, boil the water for five minutes and allow to cool before pouring it into the steam iron’s water tank. When ironing, be sure that the steam iron is allowed to heat up completely before opening the steam vents to help prevent build-up from depositing on fabrics.

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