How to clean the sole of an iron or a steam generator? – If you have just ruined your favorite white top with a stain from your iron, it means it is high time to clean the sole of the iron.
Regular maintenance of the steam generator is very important to ensure that your appliance works properly and extends its life. But this allows you, in addition to benefiting from an optimal ironing quality for always clean, fresh and well-ironed laundry.
Before each use, it is advisable to wipe the soleplate with a cloth to remove any dust that may have settled there and to prevent it from staining your clothes.
But if the only surface of your iron is covered, even partially, with coated stains from burns or deposits of dust or lime, then a little drying of the cloth is not enough. To further clean the soleplate of an iron or steam generator, there are several easy-to-use methods at home that we share with you in this article.
Why clean the sole of the iron?
Over time, dirt and dust accumulate on the appliance and then end up on your clothes when you iron it. It is very important to clean the soleplate regularly so as not to stain your laundry and just enjoy the freshness of a clean, ironed garment.
To be truly effective, cleaning the iron or a steam generator must be combined with descaling the appliance.
When to clean the iron sole?
When your iron leaves stains on the ironed laundry, it means it’s time to clean the bottom of the iron.
But you do not have to wait until the sole of your iron has turned from silver to brown to clean it.
In fact, before each use, it is recommended to quickly clean the iron with a soft cloth to remove the dust before pressing it against your clean cloth. So at least once a year (or more often, depending on how it is used), we recommend a more thorough cleaning using one of the methods described below.
Your safety and the safety of others is important. Before tampering, make sure the device is turned off and the plug is unplugged. It is also recommended to wear gloves to protect your hands from cleaning agents as well as comfortable clothing close to the body and to remove jewelry and accessories that may be stuck.
There are several ways to clean an iron. Here we have described several of them starting with the gentler method.
What cleaning product should I use to clean the sole of an iron?
To clean the sole of an iron, it is quite possible to use products available on the market or to use less conventional but equally effective products.
For example, if the sole of your iron is very lightly soiled, you should be able to clean it with toothpaste or paracetamol. On the other hand, if the sole of your iron has never been cleaned or it is very dirty, we recommend that you use citric acid or white vinegar and baking soda instead.
Be careful, not all surfaces tolerate the acidity of white vinegar and baking soda. See the manufacturer’s instructions for details regarding your device.
To clean the burn marks, it is also possible to use an oven stripper. Traditionally, oven strips are used to clean areas where food is burnt. Here it can be used to remove burns on the soleplate.
The oven removal method should only be used with a stainless steel soleplate and should only be used as a last resort as the stripper can change the surface of the soleplate.
With a special cleaning product for steam generator or iron
There are different types of cleaners for cleaning a steam generator or for cleaning an iron. This ranges from stain remover to descaling through daily maintenance kits.
With toothpaste – for gentle maintenance
Toothpaste contains a mild abrasive that is usually used to clean teeth. But it can also be used to clean the surface of the sole of an iron.
- Apply several dots with mint toothpaste over the entire surface of the soleplate.
- Rub the soleplate with a cloth.
- Finally, clean with a clean, slightly damp cloth.
- If pieces of toothpaste are stuck in the holes on the iron, use a toothpick or cotton swab to remove them. Then turn on the steam function to remove any deposits in the holes.
With solvent – to overcome a sticky sole
Apply a small amount of nail polish remover directly to the soleplate with a cloth. This will degrease the surface and remove any sticky traces.
With paracetamol – to remove black spots
The paracetamol technique works especially for small to medium-sized tasks.
- Apply paracetamol powder directly on the stains.
- Rub the paracetamol against the sole of the iron in circular motions until the stain is completely gone
- Clean the surface of the sole with a clean, damp cloth.
With lemon juice – for all types of soles (ceramic, Teflon, etc.)
Lemon juice or citric acid dissolves sticky stains on the surface of the soleplate of your steam generator. The advantage of this method is that it can be used on all types of support, stainless steel, ceramic or Teflon.
You can use freshly squeezed lemon juice or commercially available citric acid powder mixed in water. For an optimal acidity, the recommended amount of citric acid per 1 liter of water 2 to 3 tablespoons.
- Soak a cloth in lemon juice or the mixture of citric acid and water.
- Lay the soleplate on the cloth and rub back and forth with the iron to remove traces of burns or stains on the iron.
- Once the larger one is removed, straighten the iron and rub with the cloth to remove the hardest stains.
- Rinse the sole with a cloth dampened with lukewarm water.
With beeswax – a proven grandmother’s method
The paraffin in the beeswax makes it possible to hang dirt on the sole of the iron. There are commercially available strippers that are applied directly to the sole of the iron. But it is quite possible to use a candle with white color or pure paraffin.
- Turn on the iron at low temperature.
- Apply the candle directly to the iron sole to clean it.
With white vinegar and baking powder – for burnt or very dirty soles
White vinegar and baking soda are very often used for cleaning household appliances. For this method, it is a two-step process that first starts with the white vinegar and then continues with baking powder if the sole is very dirty.
This method is not recommended for iron soles with Teflon coating.
- Dampen a cloth with white vinegar.
- Lay the soleplate directly on this cloth and let it work for about ten minutes.
- Then rub the sole of the iron to remove the brown and black spots. Thanks to the acidity of vinegar, the stains should come off more easily.
- If this is not enough to remove all stains on the sole of your iron, sprinkle the previously used cloth with baking soda (a few tablespoons is sufficient) and place the sole of the iron directly on it.
- Slide the iron onto the cloth to rub the sole surface against the mixture of baking soda and white vinegar. The dirt comes visible from the iron.
- Finish scrubbing the sole of the iron with the same cloth (if it is not too dirty) to remove all traces of dirt, then use a clean cloth as much as possible of the remnants of baking soda.
- To remove baking soda deposits stuck in the holes, turn on the appliance for steam position. Thanks to the power of the steam jets, this will remove the small plugs of baking powder. If, despite steam cleaning, there are still some jammed ends, it is also possible to use a toothpick or a cotton swab.
To ensure that a steam generator, any brand works properly, it is important to perform regular maintenance of your appliance.
In this article, we have described the different methods you have available to clean the sole of the iron. However, this is not the only part of a steam generator that gets dirty over time. The water tank tends to clog due to lime or minerals in the water. If it is not cleaned often, all of these deposits coagulate and can go as far as forming plugs in the water or steam circuit.
It is advisable to clean the steam generator tank at the same time as cleaning the soleplate. When you clean the steam generator, you clean both the tank, but also all the pipes of the water circuit and the steam outlet nozzles. You understand, the sole needs to be cleaned so you might as well do it thoroughly.