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Cleaning an iron is usually a very simple task. It simply involves cleaning out the lime or mineral buildup in the reservoir, and cleaning the soleplate. However, it can take anywhere from five minutes to two hours to clean an iron.
Tips for Cleaning
For self-cleaning irons, just follow the manufacturer's directions. For non-automatic cleaning irons, you can remove lime and mineral build up by filling the reservoir with a mixture of half water and half clear (white distilled) vinegar, and then letting it sit for 1-2 hours. Alternatively, you can unclog the iron by filling the reservoir with the half water, half vinegar solution, and then setting the iron on steam. Leave the iron in an upright position, and let it steam for about five minutes. After using the vinegar solution, you should rinse out the reservoir with clean water.
To clean the soleplate, try wiping it with a soft cloth while the iron is cool. If that is not enough, then use a damp cloth to wipe the soleplate while the iron is warm. For a really hard to clean mess, rub some white toothpaste or baking soda on it, then wipe it off with a damp cloth. If there,'s a scorch mark on the soleplate, heat equal parts of salt and white distilled vinegar in a small pan, and then rub it onto the cooled soleplate.
Another way to remove the gunk on the soleplate is to spray a terry washcloth (not the soleplate) with a prewash solution. Next, warm the iron and run it over the cloth, and then wipe off the iron with a damp cloth. Melted on plastics and fabrics can be removed with acetone or nail polish, or by heating the iron on low until the material softens, and then scraping it off. Of course, commercial cleaning solutions for irons may be used. You may have to use a fine needle to unclog the nozzle holes. Sometimes gently scrubbing the soleplate with warm, soapy water is enough.
To reduce lime and mineral buildup, use distilled water instead of tap water. Always empty the iron while it is still hot so the heat can dry the reservoir. Ensure the iron is dry and cool before storing it. Once in awhile, wipe the entire iron with a damp cloth.