The Best and Easiest Ways to Clean Steam Iron Soleplate, Water Tank and Vents

There are certain types of home appliances that you must have to make your living simple. Steam iron is one of those to present yourself neat, clean, and smart.

You don’t need to wear new clothes always wherever you go. What you need is to wear properly ironed clothes to set the best impression. A steam iron can help you there. That’s why you need to maintain the appliance properly.

Using a steam iron for a long time can damage the soleplate and hampers the longevity of the device. With potential care, you can manage the steam iron so that it can serve you long.

How to take the best care of your steam iron?

You need to know the cleaning process of the steam iron. The cleaning process depends on certain factors that you need to know. For example, if you are using a steam iron for the first time, you need to know when to clean it. Usually, water stains, the residue of steaming water, etc., can damage the soleplate and clog the steam iron.

Today, we will discuss everything on cleaning a steam iron. Check this effective information and keep your steam iron in its best condition.

How to Know Your Steam Iron Needs Cleaning?

Are you using steam iron for the first time?

Then, you may need certain guidance. The best steam irons in India are less prone to maintenance and easy to clean. You will find the user manual inside the package that you need to follow. Still, we are sharing some practical guidance that will also help you.

Check out if your clothes have dirty stains after ironing with the steam iron. Also, you may find snagging fabric after ironing. If these things happen, it is time to clean the steam iron right now.

Also, you need to make sure that the steam iron glides smoothly on your clothes. If not, and if there is dull residue on the soleplate, you need to clean the steam iron. Clogging is a common problem with soleplate.

It happens because of ironing synthetic fabrics, starch deposition, etc. Regular deposition can bake those while heating and clog the pores. Those become very difficult to remove. So, you need to learn the proper process of cleaning a steam iron.


steam iron

How Often Should You Clean a Steam Iron?

When you find your steam iron is not working smoothly and leaves disturbing marks on your clothes, it is time to clean the appliance. The user manual says to clean it twice a year in many appliances, but that is not enough.

You should clean your steam iron in one to four months to keep it activated. The cleaning depends on the intensity of the usage. If you use your appliance too much, kind of regularly, you should clean it every month. Else, you can clean it every two to four months also. If you do not want to involve in such maintenance tasks, get one of the best dry irons which do not require rigorous cleaning.


what happens if you do not clean steam iron

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Steam Iron Regularly?

Though many brands say that cleaning their steam iron twice a year is enough, that is not always true. It depends on certain factors. If you live in an area where you get hard water, you need to regularly clean your steam iron; else, it will get damaged with residues.

If you don’t clean your steam iron at regular intervals, it will lose its effectiveness. It will produce lesser steam than before as the steam vents will get clogged with residues and starch, and you can’t iron your clothes well.

Also, you may find disturbing marks on your clean clothes, and the steam iron won’t glide smoothly on your garments if not cleaned properly. So, it is recommended that you should keep it clean in one to two months for better usage.


self cleaning steam iron

What Is a Self-Clean Steam Iron?

Self-cleaning steam iron is an appliance that comes with an automatic cleaning facility. While buying a steam iron, you need to make sure that the appliance comes with this facility. Like the best garment steamers, buy a branded steam iron as most of such irons come with this facility.

If your steam iron has a self-cleaning system, you should use it every two weeks. If you live in an area with hard water, you need to be more frequent cleaning the appliance.

Here are some steps you need to follow the self-cleaning process of steam iron-

  • Unplug the steam iron from the main socket.
  • Set the steam control to the steam position.
  • Fill the reservoir of steam iron to the maximum level.
  • Keep your iron in the standing position and plug it in. Switch on the appliance.
  • Set the temperature at the highest setting.
  • Let your steam iron heated up until the temperature indicator light turns off.
  • Now, unplug it and hold it over a pan or sink in the downward position.
  • Press the self-clean button and hold it. Steam and hot water will be ejected from the soleplate with all kinds of impurities.
  • Once the water tank is empty, release the self-clean button.
  • Keep the iron at the standing position on the heel rest and plug it on. When it is hot, and the indicator light turns off, iron any old piece of cloth to remove any remaining water in the iron reservoir.
  • After that, switch it off and allow it to get completely cooled.

Also Read: Garment Steamer Vs Steam Iron


clean steam iron soleplate

How to Unclog the Steam Vents on Soleplate?

If you notice the steam iron is not producing enough steam and residue is present at the bottom of the appliance, it means the steam vents have been clogged. You need to clean the soleplate now. There are commercial products to clean the soleplate, but you can follow certain DIY methods too.

Clean the Soleplate with Salt and Vinegar

  • Take salt and vinegar at a 1:1 ratio and heat it in a pan. Let the salt dissolves by stirring occasionally. Put off the heat before vinegar starts boiling.
  • Take a clean and soft cloth and dip it into the solution. Wipe the bottom of the steam iron with it. Scrub the steam vents so that those get unclogged. If a soft cloth is not enough to unclog the soleplate and the steam vents, you can also use a kitchen scrubber. But, don’t use steel wool or anything made of metal as that can scratch your steam iron.

Use Baking Soda to clean Steam Iron

  • Prepare a mixture with one tbsp baking soda and 2 tbsp water. Mix the ingredients well so that it becomes a paste.
  • Use a spatula to spread the mixture at the bottom of the steam iron, especially on the steam vents. Make sure the paste is not too thick. It should be of consistency so that it can cover the soleplate evenly.
  • Use a damp cloth to remove the paste after some time. Make sure you remove every residue of baking soda with a wet cloth.
  • If there is a residue of baking soda remains in the steam vents, take a wet cotton swab and clean those areas. Never use anything like a paper clip.
  • Take any usual cloth that you don’t use much and iron it with the steam iron at its highest setting. It will flush out any residue if left inside.

Try Other Household Products

  • If your steam iron is too dirty, you can use water and mild dish soap. Remember, the mixture should not be as concentrated as you use for cleaning dishes.
  • Take a cotton rag, dip it in the solution, and wipe the steam vents and the entire soleplate. This type of cleaning is perfect for Teflon-coated steam iron.
  • You can also use toothpaste for cleaning the soleplate. For better cleaning, you can go for using baking soda and vinegar with toothpaste.
  • Focus mainly on the steam vents as those get clogged quickly with residues. Use a kitchen sponge to rub the soleplate and clean it well.

how to clean steam iron

How to Deep Clean Your Steam Iron?

As you use tap water in your steam iron, you may find limescale build-up inside the appliance after certain usage. The build-up is natural, but you should clean it up quickly if created inside the steam iron’s reservoir.

Deep Cleaning the Steam Iron Water Tank

By following simple steps, you can descale or deep clean your steam iron tank properly-

  • If there is any water remaining inside, empty it into a pan. Now, turn on the iron and set it to the ‘cotton’ setting.
  • Take one part of vinegar and two parts of distilled water in a measuring cup and mix well together. Fill the iron’s reservoir with this solution.
  • Hold the iron with the soleplate facing downwards on the pan. Let the mixture drain out from the iron into the pan.
  • Refill the iron with distilled water and set a high temperature setting to remove any vinegar residue inside the iron’s reservoir.

Deep Clean the Steam Vents

  • Use white vinegar into the iron’s reservoir up to a third. If you find white vinegar is too abrasive, you can dilute it with water.
  • Please turn on the iron and let it create steam. Put the iron on the high heat setting. Wait till the vinegar is completely evaporated. You will find the steam vents are now free from any residue of grimes.
  • Now, fill the reservoir with water and turn on the iron. Let it create steam until the reservoir is empty. Thus, any leftover vinegar will be removed, and you get a clean steam iron.

prevent scaling on steam iron

How to Prevent Scaling on Steam Iron? 

So far, we have discussed de-clogging and descaling your steam iron. But, certain tips will help you to know how to prevent clogging a steam iron. Once you know to take precautions, it is better than prevention. Here are some ways to prevent clogging your steam iron-

  1. Try to avoid distilled water as that can cause more residues.
  2. Using normal tap water is the best, but make sure it is not too harsh.
  3. Never keep the water inside the steam iron. You need to steam burst it out before unplugging.
  4. You also need to go for thorough flushing.

With these essential tips, you can keep your steam iron clean and clog-free.


How Does the Anti-Calc Function Work in the Steam Iron?

While buying steam iron, you can look for an appliance that comes with the “anti-calc” function. A device with an effective anti-calc facility comes with a compact and beautiful design. Besides that, it glides over the clothes smoothly and provides you with crisply ironed clothes within a few minutes. 

There is the “Calc collector” system that removes any calcium deposit on the steam vents. Therefore, your clothes won’t have disturbing marks of water residues on them, and there is no risk of burning your clothes.


Cleaning Steam Irons: Final Words

So, here we have discussed how to clean steam iron. You get information on when you should clean your steam iron. We also have discussed different cleaning procedures from clogging issues of the steam vents, soleplates, and water tank. 

Here are the ways how to de-clog those and keep your steam iron in use. Growing limescale in your steam iron is another issue. We have also mentioned the methods of deep cleaning the steam iron by several issues. 

Steaming is an important function of a steam iron along with ironing. Know the differences between steaming vs ironing clothes along with the benefits of each to make better use of your steam iron.

Also, there are methods of preventing scaling or clogging of a steam iron. You will also get to know why using a steam iron with a self-cleaning facility is a great idea. You don’t need to put much effort into cleaning it and get an appliance that will serve you for a long time.

A dry iron does not need so much maintenance as it does not involve water or steam. Compare steam iron vs dry iron to find out which one can be most suitable for you.

Cleaning your appliance is very important as it is a pricy element and you don’t want to replace it more than often. A steam iron can last longer only if you keep it clean and properly maintained. If you have trouble using the “steam” feature, you can use a steam iron without water too.

Hopefully, this thorough discussion will help you maintain your steam iron’s health and increase its longevity.


Soumya is the editor-in-chief of Homeplace. Being an engineer with more than 8 years of working experience in consumer goods industries with exposure to product development, manufacturing, maintenance and quality control, he is an expert in this field.

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