You might not believe it but you should be cleaning your iron and here's why (+6 tips)

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There's nothing worse than grabbing your iron for a quick press job and then discovering it's left brown marks behind on your clean shirt. A dirty iron doesn't perform well and can actually damage your clothes with stains. From the inside of the water container to the outside plate, cleaning your iron protects both it and your clothes.
These tips use homemade cleaning techniques to safely and easily clean your iron. With only a few minutes, you can keep your iron working like new every time you reach for it.
1. Use salt to quickly clean your iron plate
Salt is a natural abrasive perfect for gently removing bits of stuck-on starch from your iron's heating plate. Simply sprinkle a generous amount of table salt on a clean dish towel. Place your iron on the hottest setting with steam off. Iron over the salt. The salt will gently remove the grime from the surface of your iron in just a few minutes.
2. A gentle deep cleaning for your iron plate
If you have 10 minutes to spare, a deep cleaning of your iron's surface will remove starch buildup from the plate and crevices. Create a paste of baking soda and water. Rub gently over the entire surface of the iron plate with a soft rag to scrub away any residue and gunk. Use a cotton swab to get into the steam vents. Wipe the iron clean with a damp cloth. Don't worry about getting the cleaning paste in the holes. By filling the iron with water and generously steaming a dish towel, you can quickly rinse the steam vents out.
3. Use baby oil to remove burn marks
The brown residue sticking to the bottom of your iron is simply the charred remainder from starch, fabric softeners and ironing sprays. It doesn't easily wipe off, but you can remove it using a simple item from you bathroom — baby oil. Heat the iron to the highest no-steam setting. Carefully spray baby oil onto the hot iron plate and allow to rest for a few seconds. Wipe off the oil with a dry cloth, and the burnt residue will wipe right off. The oil won't damage the plate or any protective coatings.
4. Iron a Magic Eraser
This genius iron cleaning hack comes from a quilter who irons with starch on a daily basis. With no fumes and zero mess, she quickly swipes her iron clean. While your iron is heating, dampen a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and place it on a dish towel. Then wipe your warm iron over the Magic Eraser several times to remove any residue or burn marks. That's all it takes to get a smooth and clean press on your favorite clothes and fabrics.
5. Clean mineral deposits from the water chamber
Sometimes an iron appears clean from the outside, but the steam vents shoot dirty marks all over your fabric. Minerals and iron in tap water can build up inside your iron. Regular cleaning helps to break down these deposits and keep your iron working properly. Add equal parts white vinegar and water to your iron's water chamber. Steam the iron until the chamber is empty. Repeat with fresh water to remove the vinegar smell. Always empty your iron before storing to reduce mineral buildup.
6. Remove sticky stuff using essential oils
If your iron has picked up a sticky mess or a bit of melted plastic, you may think it's headed for the trash. However, you can save your iron with only a few drops of lemon essential oil on a clean cloth. Iron over the cloth with a slightly warm iron to remove the residue.
7. Get into the steam vents
If you have excessive buildup in your steam vents, you may find a cotton swab just doesn't do the job. An old toothbrush provides the perfect gentle scrub for these tight spaces. Use your favorite iron cleaning solution with this method to brush out from the vents — just make sure the iron is on the cooler side so the toothbrush bristles don't melt!
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