The One Iron Cleaning Trick You Need To Know

If your clothes iron is sitting untouched somewhere, waiting for that special occasion — be it a job interview, wedding reception, or fancy first date — consider this your reminder to clean it now and not at the last minute before you're headed out the door. There's nothing worse than running late for an event or a big meeting, just to remember the giant spot of grime left behind from your last iron-worthy occasion.

According to Puracy, this is a common problem when you're ironing synthetic or starchy fabrics or you accidentally hit a button on a shirt that wasn't exactly iron-safe. The melted plastic and fabric build-up can get caked onto the iron soleplate, burning into the metal over time. Even worse? If it's not fully cleaned, the residue could transfer onto your clothes, leaving you with a stain far worse than any wrinkles.

For the folks who haven't converted to wrinkle release spray or the handy steam-your-clothes-while-you-shower hack, there's a handful of tricks that may save your ironing game and keep you looking significantly more put together than the competition. But one trick, in particular, is reserved for those worst-case scenarios. When black, burnt-on gunk threatens to ruin your crisp white dress shirt, look no further than your own salt shaker for a quick fix and a clean iron.

The secret to a sparkling iron is in the salt

You already have all you need to clean your iron at home. Expert Home Tips says this trick is possible with just some salt and your ironing board, but, to prevent any additional messes, grab a paper towel, too.

Simply sprinkle the salt over the paper towel — you'll want enough to cover the surface area of the stain — and get your iron up to high heat. Once it's warmed, all you have to do is iron over the salt like you would your clothes, moving it in a few directions until the grime is gone. Home Cult explains that the build-up will transfer onto the salt and leave behind a slightly discolored spot on your iron, but the risk of staining or damaging your clothes will be long gone. Depending on the severity of the iron's residue, you can swap the paper towel for something a little more heavy-duty, like newspaper, parchment paper, or even aluminum foil. 

Just think of salt as the last resort for iron cleaning, though, warns Home Cult. If you're working with a one-time stain that might respond to a less aggressive cleaning method, like ironing over baking soda or wiping it down with vinegar, start there to avoid damaging your iron with any additional grit from the salt.