Cleaning an iron?

RJ from Auckland asks, “Can anybody help me clean the underside of my iron? It has black sticky residue on it which stains any clothes I might want to iron. I have tried baking soda, and ceramic cleaner (the iron is ceramic after all) but nothing will get it off as yet.”

My mother would place salt (the fine pouring kitchen salt) onto a piece of brown paper and run the hot iron surface over the salt – work the iron back and forth until it comes clean. This was for metal iron but imagine it might also work on ceramic. – Jayasri, Christchurch.

Nowadays I use a detachable teflon sole plate, not cheap but they last a long time and nothing will stick to them! Before that, I used to do the old ‘salt trick’. Spread a layer of table salt on a sheet of newspaper. Move warm iron back and forth until clean. Discard salt and repeat with clean salt if necessary. Wipe iron on clean, damp cloth, tapping on ironing board to dislodge any salt in the steam holes. Finish by rubbing a candle stub over the plate and iron over clean newspaper until all traces of dirt and grease are gone. Never, ever, use abrasives (like sandpaper) to clean! – Emma, Auckland.

I remember cleaning the base of the iron by turning it on and then ironing salt on brown paper. Worked a treat! – Summer Day, Auckland.

This is a tip that was given to me years ago and it really works. Use wet and dry sandpaper to clean the soleplate.  Use the sandpaper wet, then wipe off. Take care not to get the steam holes gunked up with the resulting black goo and do a test iron on an old piece of cloth before you start ironing. – LM, Whangarei

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