Clean your iron on a budget – Tackle ‘stubborn’ soleplate marks with vinegar & toothpaste

Lynsey Crombie shows off time-saving ironing hacks

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If you are a household that irons every load of fresh laundry, you might begin to notice your iron’s soleplate becoming dirty over time. Most often, you can tell when your iron needs a clean because a dark brown or black mark will appear. This can even feel a little bit sticky. 

Most often this is due to dust, oil or fabric fibre collection on the hot plate.

Keeping your iron’s soleplate clean is important because it can improve how efficiently and quickly your iron is working.

According to appliance manufacturer Philips, the way your iron feels can also determine whether it needs cleaning.

They explained: “It’s easy to tell if the iron has visible burn marks or is sticky to the touch, but a clean iron soleplate should also move smoothly over your clothes, without dragging or leaving marks.”

Although there are many products aimed specifically at cleaning your iron’s soleplate, according to Philips, you don’t actually need to fork out for branded products.

In fact, you will likely have some items already tucked away in a cupboard at home that can tackle a dirty soleplate.

For a less intensive clean, they recommend a simple mix of dish soap and water, but for more “stubborn stains” white vinegar and toothpaste could rescue the situation.

Before trying to clean an iron, make sure it’s unplugged and the plate has cooled down completely.

How to clean your iron soleplate using soapy water

Philips state: “If your iron only needs a light clean, you can scrub it with a sponge dipped in soapy water.”

However, they warn against using wire wool as this could “damage the plate”.

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If the soleplate is still not clean after using soapy water, Philips claims toothpaste could help to remove any leftover stains.

Before starting though, it is best to test the method on a very small part of the soleplate before cleaning the rest.

They explained: “Once the iron has dried, get a small blob of toothpaste and rub it all over the surface of the plate, using an old rag or tea towel.

“Clean the toothpaste away with a damp sponge or cloth.”

White vinegar

Vinegar is hailed for its multi-purpose cleaning uses around the home and it’s no different when it comes to cleaning stains from your iron soleplate.

Philips said: “You can use vinegar to get more stubborn marks or sticky residue off an iron. Lay down newspaper before you begin, because vinegar can damage stone or wooden surfaces.”

To begin, Philips say you should mix equal amounts of white vinegar and salt in a saucepan.

Heat the mixture gently – you’re just warming it up, not trying to boil it. Then take the pan off the stove before you start cleaning.

Protect your hands with a pair of rubber gloves, then dip a sponge into the solutions.

Gently scrub at the marks on the soleplate to remove them.

Much like toothpaste, they also advise checking the product on a small patch of the soleplate before tackling the rest.

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