Repair Tips for Clothing Irons: Tips for a smooth fix

Maintain and Care
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Do you remember the last time you replaced your clothing iron? Perhaps it stopped heating evenly or just stopped working altogether. In such situations, many people head to the store to purchase a new iron, but did you know there are some simple steps you can take to repair and maintain a clothing iron? With a bit of effort, you can extend the lifespan of your iron plus help the planet by reducing the amount of waste you create! Of course, you can always recycle your iron for free at one of our 250+ small appliance recycling locations in B.C., but first, we encourage you to try these maintenance and repair tips for clothing irons.

Even if you’re not an expert fixer, these tips can help increase your iron’s life or help you narrow in on the issue before heading to a Repair Cafe to receive support from a knowledgeable repair guru. Remember to always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions ahead of any troubleshooting you do. And if you’re taking your iron apart, it’s a good idea to take pictures as you go so you know how to put it back together.

Inner workings of a clothing iron explained. Credit: Phase Neutral

Key Maintenance Tips

To extend the lifespan of your iron, you should always:

1. Avoid overfilling the water tank. Overfilling can result in unwanted water leaks.

2. Empty the tank after every use and store it in an upright position to prevent leaks and rust.

3. Check that you are using the right type of water. If your home has soft tap water, it should be fine to use water from the tap in most clothing irons. Many manufacturers even recommend it, since using special deionized or distilled water could harm the metal parts in the iron over time. If your tap water is hard (contains higher amounts of limescale/ mineral concentrations) then its important to mix equal parts tap water and distilled water to prolong your iron’s life. Using only hard tap water can lead to a build-up of minerals within the iron that will result in clogs.

If you aren’t sure which water to use, a mix of equal parts tap water and distilled water is a good choice, as it cuts the potential risks of using either type of water on its own. It’s important not to use grey water, rainwater, or other reclaimed water in your iron either, those water types likely contain substances that may either harm the iron or can cause stains as you iron (


Repair Tips for Clothing Irons


Issue 1: The heat is uneven due to dirt or mineral buildup on the soleplate.

Over time inlet holes on the soleplate (the bottom of the iron) can become dirty causing uneven spread of the heat. This will prevent the iron from working as it should.

Solution: Once the iron is unplugged and cool, use a soft, damp cloth, and wipe away any dirt or dust on the iron’s bottom. Also consider using a mixture of vinegar and water to unclog any blocked inlet holes. Once you are done, rinse the areas with water afterward so no vinegar remains.

Issue 2: The iron has burn marks on its bottom soleplate.

A burnt iron can happen when the iron is left unattended for long or if it is overheated. The burnt marks can then transfer onto your clothes, which can be disastrous. However, you don’t have to throw away your iron because it has burn marks.

Solution: First, ensure the iron is unplugged and cool before cleaning it. Then, take a damp cloth and soak it well in vinegar. Gently rub the burnt areas with the cloth until they disappear. If the burn marks persist, use a baking soda solution (two tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of water), a toothbrush, and a cloth to remove stubborn marks. Be careful not to get it in the steam vents and remember to rinse the soleplate with water afterwards. Dry the iron thoroughly after cleaning. It’s also best to avoid using abrasive cleaners and cloths on your iron since these can damage the iron’s soleplate.

Other techniques to remove burn marks include: using a dryer sheet and an old towel, cleaning the iron with salt, and cleaning the iron with Tylenol (paracetamol).

Here are some additional suggestions from Home Depot on how to clean your iron and get rid of burns on the soleplate:

Issue 3: The iron has a leak.

A leaking iron can be frustrating and even ruin your clothes.

Solution:  Check if the water reservoir has leaks or if the valve is not functioning as it should. If you find any cracks, you can use silicone sealant to seal them. You might also consider cleaning the reservoir and the iron’s steam vents with a mixture of water and vinegar to remove any buildup or clogs that could be causing the leak. Check out Ironing Lab’s in depth trouble-shooting video on leaky irons for more solutions:

Issue 4: The Iron Leaves Stains on Clothes

The last thing you want is for your iron to leave stains on your clothes. This is usually due to the build-up of dirt, grime, and minerals in the iron’s steam vents.

Solution: To fix this issue, clean the iron and its steam vents with a mixture of water and vinegar. A cotton swab or q-tip can be handy tools to ensure vents are completely clean. You should also avoid ironing over zippers, buttons, plastic embellishments, and other metal objects that could scratch or damage the iron’s soleplate.

If after a thorough cleaning your iron continues to cause staining or you notice pieces of dirt/ rust still falling out of the appliance, it is is likely beyond repair. You can double-check this by putting your iron in an upright position and shaking it. If small pieces of rust or white solids fall out when you shake it there may be internal components that are rusted and will continue to rust and cause stains. Recycling is recommended for your iron when you witness this rust.

Need further help to repair your iron?

If these clothing iron repair tips don’t work, you can also check with the manufacturer, check with a local repair shop, or look for an upcoming Repair Cafe happening in your community. Repair Cafes are community gatherings where visitors are able to have their broken household items fixed free of charge with the help of volunteer fixing experts.

Beyond Repair? Recycle it!

When your clothing iron stops working for good we can recycle it! Additionally, ElectroRecycle accepts other garment care appliances like steamers, pant presses, and clothes shavers for recycling across British Columbia!

Find a free recycling location near you on our Find a Recycling Location page.


Author: Leah Coulter

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