How to Clean Sticky Iron: 6 Awesome Ways

Pressing iron is an important appliance in the home. Nobody wants to step out of the house in rumpled clothes, as such, the pressing iron, especially steam iron, is a must-have in a home and know how to clean sticky iron form starch and water residues is very important.

How to Clean Sticky Iron

Why Is My Iron Sticking To The Garment

Temperature Is Too High

If the iron is too hot, it could be the reason why your iron gets sticky and cannot glide smoothly across the garment. The usual recommendation is to start at a low setting for more delicate clothing and work your way up to the hotter setting needed for cotton and linen in your laundry pile. The reason for this is that steam irons tend to heat up faster than it cools down. So, it makes more sense to start at a lower temperature.

Basically, you have to adjust your fabric or temperature set correctly on your iron. Just be aware that if the soleplate is too hot, it will stick to the garment that you are ironing. If you have a blended fabric, choose the setting that is lower for the different fabric type.

Starch Usage

If you use starch for your clothes, it could be another reason why your iron gets sticky. If you want to use it, the right way is to spray it on the reverse side of the clothes that you are going to iron. This is to avoid direct contact of the soleplate with the starch which will cause the stickiness.

Residue Build-Ups

Residue over time builds upon the soleplate of an iron. The soleplate is the metal bottom of an iron that heats up. Residue can be a variety of substances from adhesives to burnt fabrics or even starch. Apart from starch, there may be other residue build-ups such as synthetic fibers on the soleplate of the iron as you use it over time. Rubber prints of fabrics may also get stuck onto the soleplate although you should always iron on the reverse side of the prints.

To regain the smoothness, you would have to clean the soleplate and get rid of the starch and other residues.


If your iron soleplate is scratched, it may contribute to the stickiness. Take care of your iron by not ironing directly onto zippers, buttons and other metallic items that could be attached to your clothes. Some irons also have a layer of nonstick coating on the soleplate. If that layer is destroyed, the iron may not have the same smoothness as before.

How to Clean Sticky Iron

There are multiple ways you can remove sticky residue from your iron. Start with the gentlest technique first, and move on to a different method if that doesn’t work. Plain water or paper are the gentlest techniques, followed by a soap solution or baby powder, and finally vinegar and/or salt.

Ironing paper is one of the fastest ways to get the stickiness off your iron in a pinch. Heating vinegar and salt to clean your iron is one of the most thorough. If you’re having trouble getting gunk out of the vent holes, try using a soft toothbrush, cotton swab, or a pipe cleaner with the soap or vinegar solution.

Below are the methods of Cleaning a sticky Iron

1. Baking Soda Solution

Your iron can be gotten back into the full working state after being stained with any sticky substance by simply using water and baking soda. A dirty iron can cause a huge lot of problems especially when you have a large laundry to take care of. Also, over time, water can leave behind mineral deposits especially if you make use of spray starch or other products, it can leave gunk behind on the plate of the iron. The baking soda solution is easy to carry out and it does not consume much energy;

  • Create a mixture in a bowl, of warm water and baking soda to get a slurry mixture.
  • Rub in the mixture of baking soda on the soleplate and ensure the tool used effectively applies it to the iron plate. Good home tools are a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Acting as an abrasive, the mixture of baking soda eliminates the stick residue by utilizing friction. This is done by wiping the mixture with clean fabric.
  • Reapply the mixture again on the soleplate to remove all remaining adhesives on the iron. Keep wiping till the plate is completely clean
  • Get a cotton swab and dip into the baking soda mixture and wipe the vent holes. Remove the mixture using distilled water and a fresh cotton swab.
  • Pour out water from the iron’s reservoir and refill it with distilled water. Turn the settings of the iron to the highest and push the steam button. Every remaining mixture will be removed from the vents. Ensure the water reservoir is emptied

2. Salt and Paper

  • Heat your iron. Turn your iron on the highest setting. Make sure the steam is turned off.
  • Run the iron over paper. Lay down a sheet of newspaper or paper towels. Slide the hot iron across the paper until it’s free of residue.This works particularly well for waxy substances stuck to your iron.
  • Sprinkle a little salt on the paper, run the hot iron over the salt back and forth like you’re ironing the paper, it won’t remove all the stain but it would take the stickiness away, comes in handy when you’re in a hurry and still got more ironing to do.
  • Alternately, you can sprinkle the salt on a dry cotton towel.

3. Lemon juice and Baking Soda

  • Take one tablespoon of baking soda, squeeze out one medium sized lemon in a bowl.
  • Mix thoroughly and apply with a brush or fingers on the stained iron surface.
  • Wipe with a wet cotton cloth.
  • You can apply two or three times to get a more shinny look.

4. Vinegar and Salt solution

This is also a strong cleaning solution. However, you should read your iron’s instruction manual to make sure that it will tolerate vinegar.

  • Heat vinegar and salt in a saucepan. Use equal parts salt and white vinegar.
  • Set the burner to medium-high. Let the solution heat until bubbles start slowly rising, before the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Crack a window if the smell of vinegar bothers you.
  • Keep your iron turned off and unplugged.
  • Scrub the soleplate with the solution. Wear gloves to protect your hands.
  • Wet a clean cloth or non-metal scouring pad in the solution by dipping the end into the pot. Use the rag or pad to clean the soleplate in a scrubbing motion: try circular, up and down, and side to side scrubbing until the soleplate is clean. Don’t submerge your hand in the hot vinegar.
  • A metal pad can scratch the soleplate of your iron. Scrub the soleplate with a damp cloth.
  • Once you’re finished cleaning the iron with the vinegar-saturated cloth, wet a fresh cloth with distilled water. Wipe down the iron to rinse it.
  • Allow the iron to air dry, or wipe it dry.

5. Toothpaste

How to Clean Sticky Iron using toothpaste

As funny as it may sound, a bit of toothpaste directly to the surface of your iron will relieve it of that sticky look.

All you need to do is,

  • Apply some toothpaste directly onto a cool iron plate, being sure to hit trouble areas.
  • Rub the toothpaste off with a clean cloth. Steam a cloth for five minutes and watch the sticky surface become clean as new.
  • Apply some toothpaste directly onto a cool iron plate, being sure to hit trouble areas.
  • Rub the toothpaste off with a clean cloth.

6. Wiping the Iron with a Soap Solution

Rub your iron with a rag dampened with water first, if desired. If the stickiness on your iron is minimal, opt for this gentle method first.

  • Heat your iron slightly on a low setting.
  • Wet a rag with water so that it’s damp, not dripping.
  • Unplug the iron before scrubbing it with the rag.
  • Bunch up the damp rag a bit and make sure not to touch the iron directly with your hand.

Mix a soap and water solution.

  • If plain water doesn’t do the trick, allow your unplugged iron to cool until it’s at room temperature.
  • Put a squirt of liquid dish soap in the bottom of a bowl. Fill the bowl with warm water.
  • Rub off the buildup. Dip a sponge or rag into the soap solution. Squeeze out any excess water so that the sponge or rag is damp, not dripping. Scrub the soleplate of the cool, dry iron. Use a dry rag to wipe away the moisture. For stubborn gunk, try using a nylon mesh pad.

For Light Stickiness

  • Heat a water-filled teakettle on the stove. Remove the kettle from the heat as it begins to whistle.
  • Place two tea bags into your bowl, and pour a cup of water from the kettle into the bowl. Allow the heated water to brew the tea leaves in the bag; this process takes several minutes.
  • Cool the water by adding a cupful of ice. Soak your napkin in the cooled black tea for five minutes. Remove the napkin from the liquid.
  • Wipe the soleplate of your iron against the tea-soaked napkin. Dry the plate with a clean rag.

For Tough, Sticky Residue

  • Moisten your old toothbrush. Mix up a thick paste of about 1 tbsp. each of water and baking soda, and dip your brush’s bristles in the paste.
  • Scrub the soleplate of your iron with the toothbrush’s paste-covered bristles. Use vigorous pressure. If you’re not making obvious progress, stop and allow the paste to stand for a few minutes.
  • Moisten your toothbrush’s bristles again before returning to scrubbing the soleplate. Wipe away the baking soda residue with a clean, damp rag.

NB: Avoid Using abrasive cleaners and scouring pad for cleaning purposes. Also, ensure that the iron is unplugged before cleaning. Generally, you can just wipe the soleplate with a soft damp cloth or sponge. Try doing it while it is still slightly warm. At most, use a sudsy cloth and then wipe it dry.


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