Iron with brown gunk

I have an 18-yo variable temperature, steaming iron by Black and Decker. It's been a workhorse!
Unfortunately for me, one of my daughter-units have taken to ironing almost every stitch of clothing she owns, whether the material should be ironed or not. As you might guess, one of the articles melted when she set the hot iron atop it. I now have a section of the flat iron covered in gunk. I've attempted to scrub it off. I tried heating the iron to it's highest temperature setting and "ironing" a rough piece of towel. This netted a positive; some came off with this but there's still a whole lot left.
I don't want to use sand paper but am quickly coming to that desperation.
Other ideas or suggestions?
Many thanks.
The Ranger
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The Ranger wrote:

Any fabric store (or store where they have a selection of sewing supplies) will sell a product for cleaning the iron.
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[snip iron sole with gunk]

I would have never thought of this... Thanks. I'll hit Joann's or Beverley's today.
The Ranger
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On Fri, 22 May 2009 09:56:24 -0700, "The Ranger"

He and the others are probably all correct. This won't work with teflon coated irons, etc. You can heat the iron and scrape the stuff off with a putty knife. When I have had (smaller, thinner) stuff on the bottom of my iron, I've sanded it with very fine sand paper, or emory paper or that finer stuff (one could even start with medium or fine and then go over it again with progressively finer) and it was a matte finish after that, not sort of like mirror finish like it came with, but it seemed to iron just fine.

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Anything abrasive will ruin the sole plate and it will never iron the same, What you have most likely, is a melted plastic material well adhered to the metal. Try, but think about a new iron once you give up.
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The Ranger wrote:

Stick a tiny piece of tape over each steam port and then scrub with very fine steel wool. Don't want any fine particles of s.w. to get into the holes and rust. Fine steel wool is used (or used to be) to polish brass, so should not mar the plate to significant degree. All the brown gunk I have ironed came off on wet towel.
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Get yourself an iron cleaning kit: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU 291139
Works fast. Rowenta, the mfr, also makes irons, so the product can be trusted not to hurt the iron. Removes all sorts of crap placed on the iron by mindless chicks.
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suggested:

<http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp ? order_num=-1&SKU=11291139>
Update:
I purchased the above-linked product from BB&B and gave it a try. Aside from the acrid stench that found every nook and cranny in my house while using the product, even with the windows open, the product worked like a charm. Two thumbs way up. The iron is still performing like the workhorse is always was (minus the annoying gunk) and I have a product that I hope will have a shelf-life for eternity.
Thanks for the information.
The Ranger
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suggested:

<http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp ? order_num=-1&SKU291139>
Update:
I purchased the above-linked product from BB&B and gave it a try. Aside from the acrid stench that found every nook and cranny in my house while using the product, even with the windows open, the product worked like a charm. Two thumbs way up. The iron is still performing like the workhorse is always was (minus the annoying gunk) and I have a product that I hope will have a shelf-life for eternity.
Thanks for the information.
The Ranger
============== The gunk can also come from detergent residue in the fabric. A former girlfriend unit thought it was economical to overload the washing machine, and use cold water & powdered detergent. Cold water in winter can be TOO cold for detergent to work properly or rinse out thoroughly. (This is mentioned in the user manuals for many washing machines). After laundering, her clothing smelled pretty much like a box of Tide powder. The residue wreaked havoc with the iron.
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