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An Iron Needs Regular Maintenance to Work Best

Iron’s Sole Plates Need to Be Cleaned Regularly

Ironing used to be a weekly task along with housecleaning.  Women would do the laundry and set aside those items that needed to be ironed, then press them off once a week or so. These days it seems that the norm is to press an item as needed.  Fabrics are now wrinkle free or at least wrinkle resistant.  But nothing can substitute for a crisply ironed white cotton dress shirt, for example.  The problem is the iron sometimes needs to be maintained.  There are two areas of concern:  the sole plate (bottom of the iron) and the water reservoir.

To clean the sole plate of an iron, be sure it is unplugged and cold.  Wipe the sole plate with  a soapy cloth then rinse.  If that does not do the trick the make a mixture of vinegar and salt.  The vinegar should be warm enough to melt the salt.  Rub this on the sole plate and it should clean up nicely.  Do not use abrasive pads to clean an iron.  When you do clean the sole plate, heat up the iron and run it back and forth over a terry towel to remove any residue of the cleaning solution.

Water Reservoir Should Be Kept Clean and Free From Hard Water Deposits

Always use distilled water in your iron and it should stay in good shape.  But if you notice deposits that look like salt on the bottom, you must flush the iron with white vinegar.  Fill the tank about a quarter full with white vinegar then iron a clean cloth until the reservoir is empty.  Be sure to ventilate the room and open a window.  If the salt-like deposits are still there,  refill the tank with water and steam it out again.  Be sure to rinse the reservoir with distilled water.

Recommendation for a Great Iron

One last hint:  spend the money and buy a good iron.  If you take good care of it, it will take good care of your clothing. I am partial to irons made by Rowenta.  They cost a bit more than ones you will find in a drug store aisle five. Worth every penny.  Pick up of Rowenta and look at the sole plate.  It will have hundreds of holes.  This means that you will get more bang for your busk as far as steaming goes.  Many Rowenta irons can be used in a vertical way as a steamer for hanging clothes.  Also, the water reservoir is huge compared to cheap irons.

Never leave water in the reservoir when you are done.  It can cause rust which will, in time, end up on your fine clothing.

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Editor’s Note:  We originally published this article in April 2014.  We have edited it for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.