All household irons have a tendency to accrue various minerals on their metal components, so to combat this, you need a steam iron cleaner. Many steam irons are advertised as being self cleaning. Others feature anti-calcification filters or systems. Regardless, with most models, it is only a matter of time and frequent use before deposits, known as scale, build up on an iron. Not only can it cause certain metals to stain, scale can also clog up the steam pores found along an iron's soleplate.
Home and Commercial Cleaners
To decalcify a metal iron's soleplate, some homeowners choose to use a mixture of vinegar and/or baking soda and water to scrub down the surface. While this may work, tough scale stains and clogged soleplate pores may resist such home remedies. Commercial products, such as Whink steam iron cleaner, use a combination of chemicals and acids to remove the toughest scale buildup. Very affordable, a bottle of steam iron cleaner usually costs no more than $5 and need only be used every few months.
Uses and Safety
Cleaners help to unclog the soleplate pores on steam irons by removing calcified water that has hardened on the surface and within the steam ports. A periodic cleaning can increase the life of an iron as well as improve its steaming action. Acidic cleaners should not be used on Teflon-coated irons and should only be used with the necessary safety gear such as gloves and eye-protective glasses.