How To Remove A Sticky Mess From Your Iron

February 11, 2020

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Is your iron dirty? Is there an icky or sticky mess clinging to it and you don't want to get it on your clothes or fabric crafts? Here's a quick way to clean it and it's so easy...you'll be back to ironing in no time. For better or worse!

Cleaning An Iron With A Melted, Sticky Mess

I am not a fan of ironing. I know a lot of people find it relaxing, but I'm not one of them.

When I was a little girl, I romanticized the idea of it, until I found out that it involved digging a heavy board out of tight space and a very, very hot iron.

Lots of scarring mishaps.

As a newlywed, I tried to embrace it. I'd always dreamt of being the dutiful wife, who ironed her husband's work shirts, in pearls and heels, no less.

However, the reality was much more me, tired from a full day at work, in sweats, wrestling with those Brooks Brothers sleeves. And more hot mishaps.

I quickly gave that job over to the dry cleaner.

By the time I had kids, I got smart. I bought myself a small hand held steamer (like this one) and steered clear of any fabric that had a tendency to wrinkle.

Fabulous. Problem solved.

Then, I started crafting.

At first, I resisted. Sewing was bad enough on its own. I didn't need to add ironing to the mix. But the thing is, I kind of did. It was much easier to sew a straight seam if I used an iron on it first.

It was also necessary, if I wanted my finished products to look crisp. Nope, there was no around it.  Sewing forced my ironing hand.

So, I ironed. Carefully...and only occasionally.

Then I started blogging and stretching my creative muscle and the iron came out more and more. And I was ironing more than fabric.

Things like iron on transfer sheets, canvases, couch repairs, fusion tape reupholstery jobs and my iron started to get a little icky and a little sticky.

No problem. A lovely company from England offered me a new iron, a fancier one and the Black and Decker workhorse I received as a shower gift some twenty odd years ago was moved to the craft closet.

It was relegated to dirty jobs where ick and stick didn't matter and my new iron was reserved for fabric only. With this new separation of duties, my clothes (ok, ok, curtains) were safe.

Sticky Iron With Melted A Mess

Or so I thought. I don't know how or why, but one day I must've confused the two, thank you middle age, and used my fancy new iron on a craft project and it got icky and a lot sticky.

I don't know if something melted on it or if some of the glue from a transfer got stuck, but either way, now it addition to ironing, I had to clean. Seriously? Two jobs I don't love, combined.

Oh well, it happens and honestly it wasn't that bad. Here's what I did.

How To Clean Your Sticky Iron


My old iron has a stainless steel bottom. When it needed to be cleaned, I used to grab a hard scrubby, like a Brillo pad and get to work. My new iron has a teflon coating, so nothing hard or abrasive was going to work.

Cleaning With Baking Soda

Instead, I used a combination of baking soda and water. I mixed the two and made a very, very runny sort of paste.

Baking Soda Water Paste For Cleaning

With my hand and a paper towel, I used that paste to scrub off whatever sticky mess had melted onto the surface of my iron. It took a while, but eventually it came off without any damage to the coating.

Cleaning Iron Steam Vents

The baking soda did make its way inside some of the smaller steam vents, so I used a wet cotton swab to get it out. It's important to note that I did all of my cleaning with the iron unplugged and off.

Once I was satisfied that all of the mess was gone, I used a damp paper towel to rinse the iron off and to be sure that nothing was left in the vents.

Then I filled the iron up with water, turned it on, let it get hot and then forced the steam out of it, clearing the vents.

When I was done, that iron looked and felt smooth, shiny and new again.

A Clean Iron

Fabulous.

Even if ironing isn't.

How To Clean An Iron
How do you feel about ironing?

36 comments:

  1. Ironing is not my favorite household task but I do love freshly pressed clothes. My mother used to sprinkle her clothes with water and let them sit for a while. Her iron was not a steam iron so it was necessary for everything to be slightly damp. I still have her old sprinkling bottle. xoxo

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    1. What a sweet keepsake! A sprinkling bottle just sounds darling. My mom loved ironing. She was very good at it. I am definitely not! xo

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  2. I don't enjoy ironing either but freshly pressed is beautiful.

    Love this tip. Baking soda and white vinegar are amazing cleaning products to always have access to.

    I have put my iron on high steam and let that clean it but this is great as you said for sticky gunk.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Cindy

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    1. I agree, Cindy, freshly pressed is beautiful. I just don't love the process of doing it. ☺️

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  3. I have an iron still in the box and never use it. I try to use the no wrinkle stuff in the laundry or in the dryer. I like this tip though on how to clean it. Good to know if I ever get it out of the box to use lol! Have a great week Kim.
    xoxo
    Kris

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    1. I really only use it to iron curtains when I’m sewing. Otherwise, I’m with you, I don’t iron clothes…well that, and an occasional holiday tablecloth. xo

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  4. WOW, I was just looking at my iron over the weekend and thought, boy this needs cleaning. I will try your idea. Thank You.

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  5. I HATE ironing with a passion. We take half of my husbands shirts to the cleaners, and the other half I will wash and my husband will do the ironing! I love that deal but sometimes the shirts will be hanging in the laundry room for like a week and then I will wind up ironing them. LOL. Thanks for sharing how to clean the bottom of the iron.

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    1. Oh, your laundry room sounds an awful lot like mine, Julie! Things get washed, but not dried, unless I rescue it, or dried but not folded. I guess they all get points for trying!!

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  6. You mean there's somebody out there who actually likes to iron? It's surely not me. On the day I realized I was ironing my hubby's everyday shorts and handkerchiefs, almost all ironing ceased. In fact, he knows how, so he does his shirts if they need touching up.
    However, this is a good and helpful post. Baking soda to the rescue again!

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    1. Baking soda is truly magic, isn't it?? Glad to hear I'm not alone with ironing...ick.

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  7. Kim, I don't like ironing as a rule, but I do enjoy doing pillow cases and sheets. I like to use spray starch so the iron does get funky but it is not teflon so an abrasive pad does the trick. Great tips if it has to be cleaned from sticky stuff..xxoJudy

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    1. You know what, Judy, I agree, flat items can be kind of fun. I almost don't mind ironing my fabric before I sew. Almost!

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  8. I used to enjoy ironing when I had room to leave my iron up all the time and could keep it up out of the dryer. Not much fun anymore when I have to drag it out of storage and set up each time. I have learned to embrace what I see in all my favorite UK magazines now--unironed table linens are in style! You sure have given precise instructions for cleaning up messy irons. I wonder if this method works for built up spray starch too? Or does anyone still starch their linens and husband's shirts?

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    1. I wonder about that Dewena…both of your questions, actually. I honestly don’t know anyone who even irons anymore, never mind starch. And I find those men’s shirts difficult to iron well…and then he would sit on a train and get wrinkled all over again!! Ha!!

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  9. How do I feel about ironing? I can't say I hate it, but I do tend to wear the things in my closet that require no ironing more than those that do! HA! Thanks for the cleaning tip, because you know I'll do the same thing and probably sometime soon!

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    1. I definitely used it for crafting...what a mess I made. 🙄

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  10. This is good to know. I absolutely HATE ironing!!!! Thank goodness my husband sends his hard-to-iron dress shirts to the laundry.

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    1. The laundry is awesome!! Worth every penny.

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  11. Ironing!!!! Nope not gonna happen in our house, unless it's for crafting. I would love to know who the bright spark was who decided that perfectly crisp seams and cloths with no wrinkles was fashionable. Blegh. Although, with that been said, I do love the smell of freshly ironed cloths. So if you know of a recipe to make a "freshly ironed" room spritzer please share my friend.

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  12. I usually set aside 30 minutes, one day a week, to iron for Hubby and me. Its about all I can stand. Its right up there with filing. ): I never use spray starch for our clothes. Instead, I add a few drops of essential oil to a spray bottle for my "ironing spray" and it makes the whole room smell great, not to mention Hubby's shirts.

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    1. Oh no, don't even mention filing!! I really despise that job. There's a lot less now, since so many things are electronic, but still, nope.

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  13. Oh my....I needed to know that. I am rough on certain things, irons, vacuum cleaners and pots! Yep, my iron, although I don't iron often needs cleaning. Thanks.

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  14. Thank you Kim. I am pinning this trick!
    Carla

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  15. Great tip!! Thanks so much for sharing and thanks too for stopping by!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

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  16. Thanks for this info! I get goop on my iron at times. Even gets rusty sometimes and I've rubbed salt on that and it seems to take it away! Thanks for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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    1. Oh, salt, great tip. I'll keep that in mind. Thanks!!

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  17. Thanks for the tip, because I often get things stuck on the iron.

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    1. I would be so upset if I got something sticky and icky on my curtain or pillow fabric.

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  18. I'm feeling pretty smart, right about now! I'm going to clean my iron and not have to throw it away!
    Yippee Skipee !!

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    1. Oh I hope it helps Christine! You'll have to let me know.

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