Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How to clean an iron with vinegar and baking soda

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how to clean an iron
I have a dirty little secret that lives in my laundry room. It's a secret that I hardly use...so I never really cared. But then I realized, if I hardly use it, why oh why is it such a nasty dirty little secret?? It's my iron. And boy is it horrible. We have had it for a little over 5 years now. Maybe use it once a month, if that. The only time I usually pull it out is for decorating projects like sewing curtains or something so I don't know why it's so dirty. I guess all the iron on hem tape has had it's way with it :)

Well the other day I actually needed it for it's intended purpose, to steam and iron a backdrop I have....a white backdrop. And well, it just sent shivies down my spine thinking of ironing it with something so dirty. So, I remember someone once saying that salt cleaned irons. And then just in case, I went on pinterest and saw a few pins about it, so I figure. Hey why not try?? Well....that didn't clean nothin'. Maybe my iron had too much gunked on crud...actually, I know my iron had too much gunked on crud.
how to clean an iron
this is what I started with...iikkk.
Then I remembered cleaning my silverware with vinegar and how awesome that worked. So I figured why not give it a shot. I just dabbed some vinegar onto a paper towel and started rubbing...and lo and behold it was coming off! Now I know this would have worked all the way had it not be sooooo dirty. So if you want to clean a semi dirty iron, vinegar and rubbing is all you need! :) ....and well, if your iron is like mine, you'll need to take it to the next step.
how to clean an iron
Drench a paper towel in vinegar and lay the iron on it for a good five minutes, then start rubbing again and more and more crud will come off.
how to clean an iron
how to clean an iron
almost clean..not quite yet though.

But....if your iron is even worse like mine...you'll need a little more power. Baking soda! Now place the baking soda on the drenched paper towel, place the iron on top of it and start 'ironing' (with the iron off of course). That stuff will come right off. It's amazing...and well, disgusting. :) The baking soda acts like an abrasive and scrubs the stubborn stuff right off.
how to clean an iron

Once it's all clean, put your iron on the steam setting and you'll notice the baking soda that got stuck in the wholes will start to come out. Clean it up, steam again, clean it up...etc until all the baking soda is out.

how to clean an iron
For the stubborn holes, you may need to get a tooth pick and force the built up baking soda out. And voila!
how to clean an iron

If your iron is as gross as mine, you can probably skip the middle step of soaking it in the vinegar towel and go straight to the baking soda. If you do it like this, I bet you can have your iron cleaned in about 5 or so minutes.

I had no idea that my iron could look like new again! Awesomesauce :) Once again I am amazed by the power of vinegar and it's ability to clean practically anything, even my nasty iron :)

41 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Okay, re-posting with correct spelling!

    Your post wasn't a coincidence! My iron has all that brown build up on it and it got on my husband's favorite shirt last night! I was able to get the brown stain off with peroxide and ammonia (looked on internet for help). Thank goodness! Then, I awoke to your post this morning about cleaning my iron! How timely! Thanks! It's soaking right now. :-)
    Peggy

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    1. I have a brown stain on my pants from the iron too. You said you used peroxide and ammonia. Did you mix the 2 and soak it before washing. Help!

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  3. You must have failed chemistry. Vinegar is an acid. Baking soda is a base. All you do by mixing the two is creating water.

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    1. Mixing baking soda and vinegar (acetic acid) actually produces water, carbon dioxide, and sodium acetate diluted in the water. There is some remote chance the sodium acetate has something to do with it.

      More likely, though, is that she used much more baking soda than could react with the vinegar and so basically just used the abrasive qualities of baking soda to polish the surface (which is also how salt is supposed to work, btw). In this case, a baking soda + water paste would have worked just fine.

      However, all acids, including vinegar, dissolve and break up rust, and it looks like a good portion of the gunk on her iron was rust, so it's very possible that all the vinegar work made the gunk easier to polish off with the baking soda.

      So in the end, it's a fine method: soak in vinegar to dissolve and loosen rust, then use baking soda to polish the surface clean. It's just probably not necessary to mix the two at any point (and it would be less messy to keep them separate), so step 2 could be baking soda and water.

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    2. No. you should mix the two just like she described. I use the same combo to clear my drains. The oxyidation works great, although after about 15 min I flush the drain with very hot water. Our maintenance supervisor approved, uses the same thing. If you add Dawn (the old blue formula) to the same combo you can clean stains off your carpet just like the commercial cleaners. Keep it simple. That's the whole point of DIY!:)

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  4. I have the same iron....how do you turn the steam on? Hahaha

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  5. you mean I DON'T have to worry that my dirty iron will stain my nice clothes?!! it's like a whole new world for me now.

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  6. If you leave water in your iron between uses, it may be helpful to fill it with vinegar, let it sit for a while, empty and rinse. Water build up can plug the holes in the iron making steam use a hassle...

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  7. Thank you thank you thank you for this tutorial!! I'm ashamed to say my iron is pretty nasty after using it for several craft projects. I will definitely be trying this out!

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  8. Use distilled water, No rust, No hard water build-up, cost about .98/gallon. Coffee pots like distilled water as well.

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    1. Distilled water sold in jugs (4 litres/1 gallon) are available at drugstores and chains like Walmart. Very inexpensive. Tap water has many additives (some naturally occurring and others not) that are destructive to your iron. These include, but are not limited to: chlorine, floride, bromide, calcium, lime, sulphur, etc.

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    2. The few times I use the steam part of my iron I have used bottled drinking water that hopefully has all the stuff that anonymous was talking about removed.

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  9. yes, my old iron looks just like that. i will definitely give it a try!

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  10. Thanks. Mine is just starting to get a little "dirty" but this will help from going All the way into a little Dirty secret, lol. Thanks lots!!!

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  11. thanks for the info. it's helpful.
    i just don't like some people making comments here, they are so rude.

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  12. Just finished cleaning my iron per your directions and it worked very well. I will add that I used a toothbrush to scrub inside the steam holes to help loosen up the baking soda. THANK YOU!!

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  13. If you use only distilled water in your iron you can avoid all these problems.

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  14. If you use a pressing cloth, you won't get gunk on your clothes or on your iron.

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  15. Thank you for this! I have the same iron as you and have trouble keeping it clean especially in the holes. For the clothes that need ironing, I have been drying them separately without a dryer sheet. I'm not sure if it helps, but it makes sense to me.

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  16. I think a lot of the junk on the bottom of irons is from ironing spray- spray sizing-spray starch. If you use those products, even with distilled water, you are going to get a build up. Just check your iron more frequently to see if it needs cleaning. That way you won't have to ruin a shirt, slacks, or blouse by getting scorched product on your iron. You can also spray the inside of the article of clothing and then iron it from the outside. Much harder for the product to build up on the iron it you spray it on the other side of the fabric.

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  17. I clean mine with a Magic Eraser--works great, too!

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  18. An easier way? Heat iron slightly and rub gunk off with Eucalyptus Oil. You can clean anything with Eucalyptus Oil..............be careful with some plastics.

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  19. I had to use aplicay (I know I spelled that wrong) for a few projects and used the iron on stuff to make my own. Well some of the stick on stuff stuck on the iron even though I tried to always use the protective paper and/or towel. I am going to have to try the vinegar or salt.

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  20. I'm way, way confused. I've been ironing for 55 years (I'm 61) and have never seen an iron get so dirty. I must be doing something wrong, LOL. (dilly202, bless your heart - applique is spelled...well, like I just spelled it ;)

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    1. I wasn't sure what she was trying to spell! lol I guess if I had sounded it out I would have figured it out. It's ok, sometimes I forget the easiest of words.

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    2. It's not nice to be so sarcastic. Adding lol does not take the bite out.

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    3. It's not nice to criticize under "Anonymous". If you want to say your piece, that's perfectly okay (often even encouraged) but OWN it.

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  21. Spray starch is not a great product to use because of what it does to your iron, also because bugs love the starch and may also enjoy your clothes. Try Mary Ellen's Best Press, doesn't have starch in it but reacts like it does. I use it for my quilting and also my clothes. Takes all the wrinkles out no matter how old or how long they've been wrinkled. A little pricier than spray starch but very much worth the $ and effort. Comes in assorted scents and makes your clothes smell fresh.

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  22. I have tried a few things on y iron and it really is a bugger to get off! Thanks for the hints. Can't wait to try. www.patchworkposse.com

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  23. You could also wrap the iron with foil paper or use partchment paper on your project so that your iron doesn't get dirty at all!

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  24. Many thanks for the tips on cleaning an iron. The vinegar did nothing but the baking soda did the trick. I put it on a wet scrubby after ironing the baking soda and it's almost like new.

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  25. Using cream of tartar instead of baking soda is much better. It is also an acid (and is half of baking powder, I believe). So, you keep the acid of the vinegar with the abrasiveness of the powder. Works for polishing all kinds of metals.

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  26. I got gunk on a new iron the first day. I ironed a shirt with a printed image on it. The iron was probably too hot and I usually turn these kind of shirts inside out. But did not. So I used a temporary fix of wax paper. I run the hot iron over it a few times as I'm ironing. But just a temp fix. This should do the trick. I iron a lot. Thanks for sharing.

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  27. How in the world could an iron get this way? I have used my iron for years and almost everyday and never had to do anything except wipe it off.

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  28. Thank you for posting! It worked great on my iron. I had a little bit of melted stuff after using it for a craft project.... and needed to find a way to easily clean it off.

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  29. Thank you! As a crafter my iron gets this way too from adhesive stabilizers, fusible fleece, heat & bond products for applique and a host of other things. It happens before you know it, and mind you I do care for my irons as well as use distilled water. I was having a horrible time with the Teflon coated irons cleaning well and after so long the finish is beyond help and the holes never failed to eventually start spitting brown gunk on my projects. I switched back to stainless steel and typically use salt & water to clean mine. I have not thought of baking soda, will give it a go next time.

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  30. It works beautifully

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  31. This really works, my iron is like new!

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  32. Using a damp dryer sheet on the bottom of your iron works to clean all the gunk off.

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