How to Clean a Steam Iron Steam Holes

by Véronique Raymond
philips steam iron

While a steam iron is not used as frequently in today’s world as it used to be in the past, it is still capable of performing a number of tasks such as starching a shirt, removing wrinkles from furniture slips and curtains, freshening cloth napkins and table linens, or even fixing a decal to your favourite t-shirt.

To keep getting all of these benefits, your steam iron needs to be in good working condition at all times. With regular cleaning and routine maintenance, you should be able to use your iron for several years to come.

This article will show you cleaning tips on how to clean a steam iron steam holes and some important maintenance routines to reduce grime and gunk. Let us begin!

Cleaning the Steam Iron Base Plate

Create a Solution of Distilled White Vinegar and Table Salt

This process requires you to combine equal parts of distilled white vinegar and table salt into a mix. What you get is a solution that works like a mild abrasive. This mild abrasive mixture can be used to get rid of any stubborn buildup present on the base plate of the steam iron.

The solution or slurry can be particularly useful when restoring a scorched base plate that doesn’t glide smoothly over the ironing board.

Apply the Solution

Using a damp, clean cloth or paper towel, apply the vinegar slurry onto the base plate. Place an even layer on the base plate. Let it sit for a few minutes before using a wet rage to gently wipe it in a scrubbing motion. If there is any excess, remove it before moving on to the next step.

Repeat the Process

It might take more than one scrubbing to completely clean the base plate, so don’t be afraid to repeat the process as many times as you need to.

Make sure that you continuously scrub to remove buildup in a deliberate but soft manner. Since you are using an abrasive, you have to be careful not to damage the base plate by scratching it.

When you damage a non-stick surface like a steam iron’s base plate, it could result in rust and permanent discoloration.

Clean the Steam Holes

Pay close attention to the steam holes, especially when you are cleaning the base plate. Over time, the steam holes of your steam iron can become clogged with mineral deposits found in water.

If you cannot get your steam iron to produce steam, the likely culprit is limescale buildup.

Use a toothpick, a cotton swab, or any other small, soft object to remove the buildup.

Using an Iron Cleaner

If your steam iron base plate is not non-stick, you can use an iron cleaning solution purchased from a store.

Certain steam irons have sole plates or non-coated bases, and while these types of base plates can be cleaned using the vinegar and salt solution, using a commercial iron cleaner might provide an added benefit as well.

You can use an extremely-fine abrasive cleaner when all else fails, but this should only be used as a last resort.

Cleaning Your Steam Iron

Step 1: Clean Inside the Steam Iron

To do this, you will need to mix half a cup of distilled water with half a cup of distilled white vinegar. The vinegar-based cleaning solution can descale, deodorize, and disinfect your steam iron. It can also be the easiest way to get to areas of the iron that would otherwise be unreachable.

Step 2: Pour the Vinegar Cleaning Solution inside the Reservoir

Pour the vinegar mixture into the reservoir of your steam iron and turn it on. Set the iron to its highest setting. If the steam iron doesn’t come with a temperature dial, use the cotton option on the fabric temperature setting – this steam setting should work well.

Step 3: Flush the Cleaning Solution

Next, you want to flush the cleaning solution. The most effective way to do this is to press the steam vent bottom while the iron is hot. Remember to press the iron into a towel. Vent the steam in 25-second bursts for about 2 minutes.

Step 4: Pour Out the Cleaning Solution

This process involves emptying the remaining cleaning solution from the reservoir. The solution is still effective, so you shouldn’t throw it away. You may wish to store the remaining solution in a container and use it to clean something else.

Step 5: Add Fresh and Clean Water Into the Reservoir

Pour clean water, preferably distilled water, into the reservoir. Next, repeat the steaming process used in step 3. This will ensure that any leftover vinegar solution is completely removed. After venting the clean water for about 2 minutes, drain any water leftover from the steam iron’s reservoir.

women iron on shirt

Source: Pexels

How to Maintain Your Steam Iron

Getting the best steam iron on the market and learning how to clean it is only part of the equation. To keep the appliance working as it should, you need to learn a few maintenance tips.

Storing Your Steam Iron

You should properly store your steam iron. Storing the appliance on its back or side will create unwanted stress, and that’s something you should avoid when storing your steam iron.

Store the iron in an upright position where it can remain stable. Storing it this way is also a safety precaution. If the iron is plugged into a power source upright, it will get hot but won’t burn any cloth.

Pay Attention to the Power Cable

Frequently inspect your steam iron’s cable for frays, kinks, or any type of damage. A damaged power cable can become a fire hazard. Avoid using the steam iron if the power cable is damaged.

Type of Water to Use

If you live in an area with hard water, do not use that water source in your steam iron. Doing so can cause certain parts of the iron to have a buildup of residue.

Additionally, certain steam irons require certain types of water to preserve the durability of the internal parts. The most appropriate type of water is spring water, as it is perfectly balanced. Alternatively, you could use filtered tap water.

Dryer Sheets

You can use dryer sheets to ensure your steam iron smells nice and remains sparkling. To do this, run your hot iron over the dryer sheet first. Next, run it over a towel. Repeat the process a couple of times. This will help improve the luster of your steam iron by eradicating dust particles, scorched cloth, and oils.

Burnt Plastic Bits

You should always remove any melted plastic from the base of your steam iron. If there are plastic bits stuck to the iron, place the appliance in a bowl of cold water. This will cause the plastic to become hardened so you can easily remove it. Use a dull plastic knife, the edge of a credit card, or a plastic spatula to scrape off the plastic.


You have seen how to clean a steam iron steam holes. In addition, you’ve also learned a few maintenance tips.  It is time to put what you’ve learned into practice so your appliance will last for a long time.


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