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The Best Way to Clean a Stainless Steel Iron [2010-12-20]

When you spend a lot of money on a quality stainless steel iron, you will probably want to keep it in good condition. This involves cleaning it periodically to keep the materials from being damaged. There are some specific ways to clean this type of iron, especially the soleplate.
.Things to Avoid
When cleaning a stainless steel iron, there are some substances that you will want to avoid. You should not use any harsh chemicals because it can wear down the surfaces, whether they are on the inside or the outside of the iron. Scrubbing pads are controversial. The manufacturers of these devices will say specifically not to use scrubbing pads and wire pads because they can damage the exterior of the iron and can cause rusting. There are those who have tried them infrequently, without detecting damage. In these cases it depends on how gentle you are with the pads, and you proceed at your own risk.
The Inside of the Iron
If your iron has a filter, you should replace this on time every time. It will save you a lot of hassle in the end. For those irons that do not have filters, you will need to remove the scale manually.

This is not a difficult task. Use equal portions of water and vinegar to create a de-scaling solution (one part water, one part white vinegar). Fill the tank with the solution, and keep pressing the steam button to release the steam until all of the solution is used up. Then fill the tank with plain tap water and steam that out. Make sure that you follow the vinegar solution with plain water every time to ensure that the vinegar doesn't get on your clothes next time you use the iron.
The Soleplate
You can purchase stainless steel cleaners specifically for irons. They are not very expensive, but there are other remedies that work just as well for even less. The first involves vinegar. This can be used for tougher stains and dirt. You just need to rub the plate with undiluted white or cider vinegar until the dirt comes off. Dabbing a small amount onto the end of a small towel is often the easiest way to remove cooked on marks. For steam holes that are clogged, you can use a Q-tip.

Sprinkling salt on aluminum foil and ironing over it is an option for removing tough dirt, including melted plastic. You should not attempt to remove it with metal tools, as this can permanently damage the soleplate. If you are just looking for a method to remove simple smudges or similar types of dirt, then rubbing on a baking soda paste and cleaning it off with water works well. This also removes heat stains.