I have an iron whose face is all gunked up. Not sure how this happened but
I am wondering if it can somehow be cleaned rather than me having to go out
and purchase a new iron. When the iron is heated/hot it drags on the
clothing item and sometimes transfers some of the gunk onto the clothing.
Can I just use steel wool and/or a brillo pad on the face or will this
scratch/ruin the iron face?
Yes you can use such with a reasonably light hand. It wont look 'as pretty'
as a new iron but it wont cause any real harm to it's use. Use a pattern of
'front to back' and 'back to front' etc or you may cause sticking problems
if you go side to side. Basically you want the very *minor* scratches to be
in the same direction as how you use the iron.
You could also try a damp plastic 'greenie weenie' or other scrubbie on it.
It's not too bad, that might work.
Got a Bed Bath & Beyond store nearby? Same company which makes irons (Rowena
or some such name) sells a cleaning kit containing stuff in a toothpaste
tube. Works nicely. Otherwise, I'd use a coarse **PLASTIC** dish scrubbing
pad and a little Bon Ami powder. Have q-tips handy for getting any powder
residue out of the steam holes.
Someone in the house caused this problem, so you'll need to track down the
culprit, or get them their own iron so they don't screw up the one you need
to use. The offender will cause the problem again - that's a sure thing.
is it corrosion or hard water deposits? the plan of attack is
different, depending. Most of the responses I've seen seem to be
appropriate for corrosion. for hard water stains I would fill a
shallow pan with CLR and just soak and scrub.
I've used 0000 steel wool to clean my irons many times over the years.
What's the gunk? If it's melted something or other, try some GooGone,
lighter fluid or WD-40 on the steel wool after heating the iron up to
That should work for surface corrosion or pitting.
HOWEVER, don't heat it any hotter than you can touch the iron with your flat
palm! Lighter fluid will, at best, instantly evaporate, or may flash and burn.
The 0000 steel wool with the solvent will likely work for many/most "gunk."
Kerosene was the old-fashioned solvent of choice, but GooGone or WD-40 are good
You may have used tap water in the iron and the water had minerals in
it. This can cause brown hard stuff to come out on the clothes - it's
crumbly looking. You can try putting white vinegar in the iron and
heating it - then empty it out. Buy a bottle of distilled water at
the grocery and use it in the iron instead of tap water. It will take
several uses for the iron to let go of the mineral buildup. You can
try to polish the face of the iron with silver polish. The iron may
look bad but it won't hurt your clothes ... the brown stuff that comes
out will stain them - but it washes out.
Rowenta warns NOT to use distilled water.
Other reasons for deposits on the iron are:
1) Too much heat for certain fabrics, obviously due to human error.
2) Soap & fabric softener don't rinse out of clothes for various reasons,
all due to human error.
Solve those problems and the iron will be fine.
Fill the iron with white vinegar; then take a glass baking dish
(rectangular), set the iron in and poor a 1/4 inch of vinegar into
the dish. Allow this to work over night. In the morning, remove the
iron, heat and steam the vinegar out of the water reservoir.
This work great for mineral deposits. Just let the iron soak over
It probably happened because someone is using it too hot - either s/he's
setting the temperature too high or the thermostat is kaput
The iron's not very useful as it is, so it can't hurt to try - I'd start
with something very non-abrasive, like Windex and a sponge, and work my way
up using things like toothpaste and brush, plastic scrubbies, etc. I
wouldn't use steel wool - if steel dust gets imbedded in the plate your
stuff could get rust spots on it as well as gunk. You may end up ruining
the faceplate, but if you're patient and careful, you should be able to
I learned this from a quilting show.
Find a cardboard box that is large enough to move the iron around in
it freely. Cut a brown paper bag to cover the bottom of the box.
Pour table salt into the box and rub your heated iron over the salt. It
will clean off all the gunk. Use an old t shirt to brush the salt off
the bottom of the iron back into the box. Then move the iron over a
piece of waxed paper. This will help the iron glide more easily. The
box with the salt can be reused many times.
Pat in NJ
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