Think Twice About Using Vinegar In Your Iron

On deep cleaning days, you might aim to tackle those places that are often neglected and downright forgotten. This may include cleaning the inside of your steam iron. If you have hard water, you know that limescale can build up in the openings of appliances and other items that require you to pour water inside. It might be tempting to use vinegar inside your iron to clean limescale and other residue out. Unfortunately, this can damage the materials within your iron and prevent it from working properly.

Since clothing irons typically plug into the wall and operate with the help of electricity, you do not want to cause any damage that may create a fire hazard. Avoid reaching for vinegar right away and evaluate whether this is safe for your particular appliance first. You may have seen one of the many online recommendations to clean steam irons with vinegar. It is best to rely on the usage manual that came with your appliance rather than following this advice blindly. Unfortunately, vinegar is simply too acidic to use in many steam irons without breaking down certain materials.

How vinegar damages irons

The internal components of many steam irons consist of some combination of rubber, plastic or metal. Vinegar can damage rubber over time, just as it does when used in a dishwasher in place of detergent. If your iron contains plastic, you should know that this material may be susceptible to damage caused by vinegar as well. Certain types of plastic cannot handle the cleaning product. This is especially true when vinegar is heated to high temperatures, as it may be within a steam iron. Finally, you should think twice about cleaning any metal parts with vinegar as it can lead to corrosion.

Although you should avoid pouring vinegar into some irons, you can easily them through other methods. Before you begin any new iron cleaning routine, check the user manual that came with the item. You should be able to find guidelines on what products are safe to use in the appliance. You might find that your iron does not contain any materials that can become damaged by using vinegar. Recommendations will vary depending on which iron you own, so it is important to complete this step prior to moving forward.

Clean your iron safely

To clean your iron safely, follow the routine recommended by your manufacturer. If you are able to confirm that you can use vinegar in your appliance without issue, start out by unplugging it. Pour 1/4 cup white vinegar and 3/4 cup distilled water into your iron where you would normally pour water. Once your iron heats up, press the steam button a few times. As the steam makes its way out of the holes in the bottom of your iron, the acidic vinegar and water mixture should help break down any limescale or other residue.

Now that any build-up is loosened by the hot steam, you can use a cotton swab and cotton pads to remove stubborn residue spots. They should wipe away easily. After your iron is cleaned to your liking, unplug it and pour out the vinegar and water solution. This routine will help your appliance run smoothly and eliminate stains that could have ruined your clothes. Do not forget to only use this routine on irons that can be safely cleaned with vinegar.