Useful tips for cleaning your iron

All jobs need useful tips for cleaning the tools of the trade.

In the dry cleaning industry, there is A LOT of time and energy spent on cleaning the tools you use each day in the scope of your work.

In the cleaning machine there are massive lint traps to be vacuumed, there are button traps to take out and studiously clean the minute holes that get clogged with dirt sediment, there is the button trap housing that has to be wiped down each day to ensure that no dirt particles get into the workings of the cleaning machine, and numerous water treatments that have to be added to the waters to keep the Ph balance and scale to a minimum.

The smaller instruments need attention too to do the job they are meant to do the following day. I have spent way more time than I can count cleaning out the fibers from the wire and steel brush heads that keep the coats and sweaters looking brand new.

The iron needs daily attention too. Steel wool is the most useful tool for cleaning an iron. On the commercial iron used in my dry cleaning plant, we would keep a ball of steel wool (plain, no soap added) by the iron stand so it could be easily accessed. The steel wool, when used on the hot iron would scrub away and starch build up and remove any rust spots from steam or water that sat too long on the plate.

The iron is easily one of the top three most used tools in a dry cleaners. I would bang it on the edge of the stand because I was not always looking, I was more focused on the garment I was finishing. Sometimes I would miss the stand completely and drop it, not good. The steel wool would be useful also if the edge of the iron were to get rough, I could smooth the edge a little by rubbing it along the edge with some force.

You can definitely use steel wool on your iron at home, but most of us may not have it on hand. Lately I can hardly find it in the store! When using the steel wool though, you have to ensure the surface of the iron is completely free of particles of steel after you clean it. So, I always had an old towel that I got damp and would slowly run the hot iron over the towel, gently removing any residuals off the surface of the iron before I used it on any garments. It is also useful to push the steam button and blow out the steam holes as well.

Another way you can clean your iron is with common everyday items you already probably have. The juice of a lemon and some table salt will do the trick!! I have even used the bottled lemon juice as a replacement when fresh wasn’t available.

Put the lemon juice in a bowl, maybe 2 tablespoons, not much is needed, and mix in about a tablespoon of salt and you are ready to tackle the job. Make a paste out of the lemon juice and salt grab a cotton rag to spread it over a warm iron. If your iron has some crevices, an old tooth brush will work to get inside the grooves. After some gentle swipes, the rust and build up should come right off.

I do recommend adding some water to get the steam working and push the steam button a few times to get any residual lemon juice and salt out of the steam holes. If you want to clean out the water chamber too, you can add white vinegar instead, just make sure it is all out before you start ironing you clothes.

It won’t hurt anything but I doubt you want your ironing to smell like vinegar. To finish the cleaning process, slowly slide your hot iron slowly , back and forth, across a dry cotton towel to remove any leftover grime. I hope you found these tips useful!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

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