Tuesday, 11 November 2014

How to clean an iron, the big test

Thank you to all of you who provided tips for cleaning the gunk off my iron! On Sunday morning I set aside one hour to try out the different suggestions. While the test cannot claim to be scientific as I didn’t have several irons with the same amount of gunk, it was quite interesting. Please keep in mind that this particular gunk had been building up for a while and was probably mainly non-fusible related.

These were my cleaning supplies, most of them from the grocery store:

A silicone iron rest; I have had this for years, and always use it when I leave a hot iron on anything other than the ironing board.

Paper cups, rag, water and a spoon

Salt and heavy duty paper

Baking soda

Scrub suitable for Teflon

Magic eraser


Just a reminder of how the iron looked after the first attempt of gunk removal. Ouch.

I first tried a wet magic eraser on the preheated iron. The residue started to come off, but it was very hot so I set it aside. You can see that it turned brown very quickly.

The Teflon scrub on the other side, showed little sign of absorbing anything but water.

Back to the magic eraser on the slightly cooler iron, scrubbing and scrubbing.

When my hands got tired, I poured salt onto a piece of heavy weight paper on top of the ironing board, and run the hot iron back and forth.

The salt helped a bit.

Then I mixed baking soda and water, making a thick paste and spreading it onto the warm-ish sole.

Some residue came off, particularly from the flat part of the sole.

Back to the magic eraser, adding more water. Fortunately I had put a piece of paper underneath as dirty water from the eraser dripped onto the table.

After one hour of cleaning, the iron looked like this. Most of the gunk was gone, but there was still that black stuff in the ridges.

Then I scrubbed the ridges with toothpaste and a cloth. I tried both on a cold iron, and on a warm iron, but with little luck.

To clean off anything leftover from the cleaning process, I filled the water tank and ran the iron back and forth on a piece of cotton fabric until the tank was empty, also pushing the “calc” button several times. I should have taken a picture of the fabric too as it was rather stained after the process, but now I don’t have to worry that anything else will come off by chance.

I am indeed very pleased with the result of my little non-scientific test as the iron looks way better than before. I think all the tips were great, and will use them again later, preferably before the gunk builds up and gets burned into the sole. I will however give a couple of other suggestions a try before I give up, so stay tuned.

Thank you for stopping by!


  1. Love your test result report! Sorry that the toothpaste didn’t work as I’ve always had good results. I always set the iron on a low-warm temperature (1 to 2 dots).

  2. Very interesting! I will have to give the Magic Eraser a try. I always use the teflon scrubbies on mine.

  3. have you tried the soda paste solution with a toothbrush in the ridges? thanks for the testing -- I've had the same issues.

  4. Pretty thorough testing! Any iron should be scared when they see you coming with all those mixtures. Glad you got most of it off.

  5. So interesting!!!
    Looking forward to hearing what the other two solutions are, and how they turn out!! XX!