How Do I Clean the Gunk Off My Iron?

If your iron is covered in gunk and no longer steams properly, it may be time for a thorough cleaning. This can easily be accomplished using items most people already own in their home without resorting to store-bought solutions that could void its warranty.

Dryer sheets can help remove black marks from an iron, as do vinegar and baking soda. Soak a towel in vinegar before placing your cool iron plate on it to soak.

Use a Wooden Spatula or Plastic Knife

Irons can quickly become unattractive over time. Mineral spots, dirt, dust, spray starch and fabric fiber buildup can leave your iron looking dull or leaving black marks on clothing, while its water reservoir may develop rust over time. Luckily, cleaning an iron is not difficult or time consuming and can even be completed using items found around the home.

A wooden spoon or plastic knife are great tools for degreasing an iron quickly and efficiently. Simply dip them in vinegar, then scrub away at its base until all traces of residue have vanished from its bottom surface. Afterward, be sure to wipe down your iron before storing it away for future use with a damp cloth before reassembling and using again!

Rubbin alcohol can also serve as an effective cleaner. Simply dampen a cloth and rub over the surface of your iron to get rid of grime and buildup – especially useful for stubborn spots like lipstick, paint, or food debris residues.

Baking soda and vinegar make an effective combination for cleaning an iron. Create a solution combining equal parts baking soda and white distilled vinegar, then soak a cloth in this solution to clean your iron’s sole plate. You may also wish to use a non-scratch kitchen sponge or scrubber if any stubborn stains remain stuck to its sole plate.

Hunker reports that acetone nail polish remover can be an effective and affordable alternative when it comes to iron cleaning. Simply heat up your iron before dipping a cotton ball into the solution – be sure to wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves or oven mitts as the fumes may prove hazardous!

If your iron is stubbornly caked-on and non-responding to other cleaning methods, try using acetaminophen or Tylenol. Although it might sound counterintuitive, taking medication on an iron is actually effective! Acetaminophen will dissolve any burnt gunk while its sugar component will help dissolve hardened residue.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can provide fast iron cleaning when gunk builds up quickly, as it dissolves grease and other sticky residues without harming its delicate metal parts. According to Kitchn, simply dampen a cotton pad with some rubbing alcohol and rub over the soleplate; repeat this process if oil stubbornness remains. For even faster cleaning results try mixing warm water and dish soap in equal parts in a bucket and then using this mixture on an old cloth to wipe over every part of the iron from handle to tip detaching any tong if removable. Rinse the cloth out thoroughly then rinse & dry both iron before being used again!

Vinegar can be an effective cleaner, but it may damage the base of certain irons. To protect this area, cover it with a clean towel before you begin ironing or use a vinegar spray that won’t harm plates; alternatively soak a paper towel or rag in distilled white vinegar and use that to wipe down soleplate; if residue remains afterward try rubbing with steel wool, as recommended by Real Simple.

Some brands of commercial iron cleaner contain abrasives to effectively scrub away hard deposits on your iron. If this doesn’t do the trick, try using non-scratch kitchen sponges or scrubbers instead to scrub away at it. Acetone nail polish remover may help in cases of black burn marks on your iron; just be sure to work in an outdoor or well-ventilated area and never put back onto use while the chemical is active.

Mix baking soda and vinegar together to form a paste, then apply it directly onto your iron in small circles to remove rust or mineral spots. Use a clean piece of cloth or cardboard to wipe over it until all marks have disappeared before clearing out vents or steam holes where gunk may accumulate with cardboard or soft bristle brush if necessary. Be mindful when cleaning an electrical appliance as you could potentially cause irreparable harm by mishandling.

Steel Wool

Trying rubbing alcohol alone doesn’t work? Give steel wool a try as an effective cleaning tool made of thin, shaved pieces of steel and sold in pads designed for soaking with cleaner. Steel wool was originally developed by 19th-century mechanics as an efficient way of polishing up metal surfaces, and today its application can also be found dissolving grease and mineral deposits on an iron’s sole plate without leaving scratches behind. When handling steel wool it is essential that gloves be worn as its tiny particles may irritate skin quickly!

If your iron’s rust marks are more stubborn than vinegar can handle, combine table salt or baking soda with steel wool and use dampened paper towel or cloth dipped in solution of white vinegar and coarse or fine salt or baking soda (baking soda tends not to damage plates as easily) with steel wool pad until all rust stains have vanished and the sole plate looks brand new again. Repeat if necessary!

This method can also be used to erase crayon marks from a wall without harming either paint or wallpaper underneath them. Steel wool’s abrasive properties help scuff up and erase these marks without doing damage to either surface.

An effective method for cleaning an unkempt iron is using a Magic Eraser, available at most supermarkets and pharmacies, which is the go-to product for stubborn gunk removal off household appliances – including irons. Just make sure you follow manufacturer’s instructions closely and test this technique in an inconspicuous area first before undertaking to fully cleanse your iron.

Rub a dryer sheet over your iron’s sole plate to clear away gunk and gently rub until all gunk has been eliminated. This method can work wonders, providing a safe and simple option that works well for many individuals – just remember to turn off, unplug, and let cool completely before using again!


One of the easiest and most efficient ways to clean off gunk from an iron is using natural cleaning solutions that you likely already possess in your home, like vinegar. Vinegar is an efficient natural cleanser which is proven effective at clearing away mineral deposits and scorch marks from iron surfaces.

Vinegar can be used either alone or mixed with baking soda to form a stain-fighting paste, just use a soft cloth or paper towel dipped in vinegar to wipe across your iron’s surface to eliminate build-up or stains, plus any burnt residue on its surface.

If a stubborn mark or spot defies vinegar’s powers, try mixing table salt with it to form a paste and applying it directly onto the iron in circular movements for about 30 minutes before wiping away with damp cloth.

An iron cleaner is another effective and straightforward way to eliminate stubborn burnt residue or rust spots from your iron. Available at most grocery stores, these spray bottles feature easy directions for application in an airy space. Be sure to follow all label directions regarding ventilation when applying this solution!

Irons’ holes where steam exits are notorious for collecting grime. If this becomes impossible to clear away with traditional methods like brushes or toothpicks, soak a cotton ball in acetone nail polish remover and dab it onto your iron – be sure to wear oven mitts when doing this! Ideally do it outside in order to reduce risk exposure to chemical fumes.

An effective and fast way to remove plastic residue that has melted onto your iron is to fill a shallow pan with ice cubes and set your iron on top of them. Wait a few minutes for the hardened plastic to harden before using either a blunt plastic knife or old credit card with its tip to scrape it off using blunt force. Repeat this process as often as necessary until all melted plastic residue from your iron has been eliminated.