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Steam irons have become increasingly popular. They are extremely easy to use that people always end up taking them for granted. However, what everyone who uses steam irons must understand is that it needs routine maintenance in order for it to function effectively and last a long period of time.

Remember how an ordinary iron needs to be cleaned as well from time to time to prevent damages to your precious clothes? The more so a steam iron needs to be cleaned because of its more complicated design and operation.

Some of the latest models, like the Rowenta DW2070, DW2090, Panasonic NI-E650TR and Black & Decker D2030 do come with a self-cleaning system which basically helps the user follow the proper way of cleaning as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Check out our overview of steam irons to see which have a self-cleaning system. But if you have already bought a steam iron and you really do not want to buy another one since it is still perfectly working, here are the basic but useful steps to ensure that your steam iron is on its top shape whenever you iron out your garments. Do this each and every time after you use your steam iron. Make it your after-ironing routine to prevent rust-colored film buildup as much as possible.

  1. Let the steam iron cool off completely after you are done with your ironing tasks.

  1. Once the iron is completely cooled. Tilt the iron downward over the sink. This will let the unused water go down from the steam iron straight into the sink.
  1. Using a damp cloth with a bit of liquid detergent, rub the metal part of the steam iron until it is thoroughly clean. Rinse it using another damp cloth. Finally, dry it with a dry cloth.
  1. Store the steam iron at an upright angle or with it sitting upright at the base and never laying it on its metal plate. Remember that you want to keep the metal plate away from anything else.
  1. Wrap the cord in an organized manner. Use a cord wrap if the steam iron does not come provided with a cord organizer.

 Quick and Easy Steps for Manual Cleaning of Steam Iron

If you happened to have bought a steam iron that still does not have a self-cleaning system, no need to fret because manual cleaning is possible. In fact, it is so easy that you would have no excuse not to do this on a regular basis.

Here, we will give a detailed step-by-step procedure on how to clean steam irons inside and out the most effective way possible.

  1. Start cleaning the steam iron from the inside. Fill the steam iron half full of water, and then add vinegar until it reaches the fill line of the water reservoir. If you are wondering why vinegar is mentioned, this is because it is a natural cleaning and disinfecting agent. This is the same reason why vinegar is commonly used in maintenance of bottle sterilizers. Its acidic properties can effectively break up residues that might have built up inside the steam iron.

  1. Turn on the steam iron for 15 minutes and then let the mixture inside stand for one hour. After which, drain the mixture by tilting the iron downward over the sink. Make sure to drain it well.
  1. This time, add water once again but without the vinegar. Fill the steam iron with water until the fill line of the water reservoir. Repeat the previous step (15 minutes on and off for one hour). Drain it once again. You have now thoroughly cleaned the inside of your steam iron.
  1. Next step would be manually cleaning the outside or the metal part of the steam iron. With this, we suggest you get any iron cleaner from your local supermarket (this is commonly found in the laundry section). However, remember that iron cleaners are only suggested to steam irons that are not nonstick. Check the label of your steam iron first before doing this step.
  1. If you happen to have a nonstick sole metal plate, then lucky you. They require less maintenance as they are considered self-cleaning as well.

How the Self-Cleaning System Works

Now, if you have a more modern steam iron with an indicated self-cleaning system, here are what you have to do:

  1. While unplugged and with the steam level set to zero, fill the water tank completely.
  1. Set the temperature to the highest setting. Once it has reached maximum temperature, unplug it.
  1. While holding the metal plate over the sink, change the setting to self-cleaning and hold in place. Shake the steam iron gently and let the water and steam be discharged through the metal plate. After it is drained, set the steam setting level back to zero.
  1. Plug the steam iron once again and let it heat up until the metal plate dries up. Unplug it and let it cool. You can use a dry cloth to tub the metal plate but be sure not to come in direct contact with the metal plate or your risk getting a first-degree burn.

Cleaning steam irons is not at all difficult. In fact, it is easy regardless if you have to do a manual cleaning or you have to facilitate a self-cleaning system. Make sure to carefully follow these instructions and you can most definitely prevent mishaps with your garments and enjoy your steam iron for a longer period of time.