To avoid getting your clothes dirty during ironing and to keep your iron in good working order, it is advisable to descale it regularly
Because you use water when ironing – sometimes even tap water – limescale builds up in the iron. It can clog the holes in the soleplate and make ironing very difficult. The iron can be descaled with ready-to-use descalers or by using home-made descalers.
Home methods for descaling the iron
This simple operation can be performed with just two ingredients, which can probably be found in everyone’s home. Remember, however, that some models of newer irons are recommended to descale only using special preparations.
- Vinegar + water
One of the well-known and effective ways to descale an iron is to use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water. If there is still dirt in the holes, you can remove it with a cotton bud or a cotton swab after moistening them in the same solution. The water container in the iron also needs to be descaled. Just pour some vinegar inside, then heat up the iron on the highest setting and turn on the steam function. To clean the reservoir, iron a natural cloth or any unnecessary heat-resistant material – this is where the residue will accumulate during the first ironing after descaling. This should be repeated several times with water to get rid of the vinegar smell and limescale residue.
- Citric acid + water
Another homemade way to descale the iron is to use citric acid. Pour two teaspoons of citric acid into a glass of boiled water. Do the same as described above for vinegar and water
- Salt + newspaper
Another simple way to descale the iron is to use salt and newspaper. However, beware that this method is only suitable for models with a metal soleplate – Teflon irons can be scratched by salt as Teflon is a more delicate material. How to do a salt cleaning? Prepare a piece of newspaper (one made of traditional newsprint, not glossy paper), sprinkle salt on it, and then iron that surface with a hot iron until the iron no longer leaves stains. Then wipe the iron’s foot with a cloth dampened with warm water.
Special descaling agents for irons
If you prefer to rely on ready-made detergents, there are plenty of descalers on the market. Some models of irons are only recommended to be descaled using special formulations, so before doing so, it is best to read the instructions supplied with the equipment, as well as the instructions for using the ready-made detergent
With steam irons, it is best to use a special anti-scale agent, which should be dissolved in water and then passed through the device. Newer generation steam irons or those with a steam generator have a self-cleaning function. To descale these irons, simply activate the appropriate function and follow the instructions included with the iron – this may vary from model to model.
Can I avoid limescale build-up?
Limescale is a natural process, especially if you use tap water for ironing, as tap water is usually hard and contains calcium and magnesium particles, which then form deposits in your iron. We can reduce the amount of scale build-up by using distilled or demineralised water. With newer steam irons, like the steam generator irons mentioned above, you don’t have to use special water – these irons are technologically advanced and equipped with features that minimize scale build-up.