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Not exactly the most riveting of jobs but necessary for every knitter and sewer (the only two times I ever use an iron – ask my husband!).
Whether you’re knitting, sewing or crocheting, you’ll most likely have to use your iron at some point along the creative process to iron out wrinkles and puckering.
Dust, dirt and general grime (even bits of burnt fabric) collects on the bottom of the iron which in turn can stain and wrinkle fabric; ironically the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. If, like me, you live in an area of hard water, it’s very common to get limescale collecting in the little vent holes on the iron’s sole plate. All these things over time reduce the efficiency and performance of your iron meaning you have to work hard to achieve the super smooth results you’re looking for.
So, how to clean your iron?
There are several methods that are commonly used.
Put some kitchen roll onto your ironing board and pour over a generous amount of sea salt (or similar coarse salt). Plug your iron on and turn it onto its highest setting and turn the steam off completely. Iron the surface with the salt gently backwards and forwards until the iron is sparkly clean (the dirt should stick to the salt). Going over it a few times should be enough.
One of the most common ways of cleaning your iron’s sole plate is with vinegar. Gently heat up some white vinegar, soak a soft cloth with the heated liquid and gently rub the sole plate to remove dirt, limescale and any scorch marks. Clean the plate with another soft cloth dipped in fresh water to ensure all traces of vinegar have been removed. To clean the steam vents, do exactly the same but with cotton buds; take a cotton bud and dip it into the warmed vinegar, twist to clean the hole, take the other clean end and twist to ensure that no vinegar solution remains in the hole. You could also dip the clean end in fresh water and repeat.
Mix equal parts baking soda and water together to form a paste, dip a soft cloth in the paste and clean the sole plate until all marks and stains are removed. Get another clean cloth, clean the plate to remove the paste and then switch the iron onto the steam setting to remove any paste that may still be caught in the steam vents.
Prevention is key
There’s nothing more annoying than getting out your iron to press your work to find it stained and marked so clean your iron on a regular basis. Never leave a hot iron unattended and always be aware of how hot the iron is and what fabric you are using it on. Using a too hot temperature for certain fabrics will result in a scorched and stained sole plate not to mention ruined pieces of clothing.
What methods do you use to clean your irons? We’d love to know.