How to Clean Iron’s Soleplate

I always tell my students, “The one thing that will make your projects go from looking like a home ec student made it look like something you would be proud to give as a gift or even sell is PRESSING!”  They usually look at me like I’m insane, and then ask what pressing is.  When they realize pressing requires an iron some of them claim right then and there that quilting isn’t for them.  Others (to my surprise) claim they don’t own an iron!  WOW!  I can’t believe that! Maybe I’m a weirdo but I ♥ ironing/pressing.  I iron (and starch the heck out of) my husband’s work clothes every night before I go to bed.  I press creases into his shirts and pants, etc.  I love it.
In my sewing room I’m one of those quilters that starches ALL her fabric before cutting and sewing.  I’ll even admit I will starch sometimes as I’m piecing blocks together if I feel they are budging a little more than I would like. I just enjoy having stiff pieces of fabric to sew through.  It’s easier and more precise.  
Remember when I talked about my irons in this post.  Well, I’ve since ordered a new Rowenta iron.  I was looking to upgrade from my old one (which still works) and found this baby.  

I bought her online for the low!  In my local Joann’s store I saw it for $95.99.  Crazy!  I love it.  It is pretty heavy for an iron but that is no problem for me and I like that it gets even the toughest creases out.  The steam is nice and strong and the precision tip really helps when I’m ironing my husband’s work shirts around the collar and all that jazz.
I’m going to assume that if you quilt and are reading this post you own an iron.  If you don’t… please tell me how you survive without one! 
My money saving tip #2 is for cleaning the sole plate of your iron!  Can you believe Rowenta sells their own soleplate cleaner for $15.99.  And its a little-bitty tube of paste at that.  I purchased the Dritz version of the cleaner for a fraction of that cost but it was hard to rub the hot sole plate all the time (because I use so much starch) and I almost burned myself a few times. Did I mention nasty, nasty fumes?! Ugh… so,  I was playing around with some different cleaning options and decided to try a wet Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and voila! Like butter and I didn’t even have to touch it. They are a lot less expensive than those cleaners and you can clean it multiple times with just one eraser.

Here is the how-to:
– wet your magic eraser enough so that it is wet all the way through
– place the magic eraser over a folded towel to protect your surface
– heat up your iron and swipe it over the magic eraser
– no fumes, no burns, and a clean iron!

Try it and let me know how it works for you!

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38 Responses to How to Clean Iron’s Soleplate

  1. Laurie September 8, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    Not have an iron?? That is crazy!! My quilt instructor says that an unpressed quilt is forever an unpressed quilt, because if you don’t press as you go, it will never be right! That new Rowenta is my dream iron! I love the one I have, but that one is a Cadillac! Enjoy!


  2. Betsy Lynn September 8, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    Silly me! That’s what I’ve been doing to clean my iron, I just never thought of posting about it!

  3. Crafty Gemini September 8, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    Laurie: That is exactly right!! It is a pretty nice iron. Got it on eBay for only $40 and that included the shipping! :o)

  4. Crafty Gemini September 8, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

    Betsy Lynn: I know exactly what you mean. My husband usually gives me ideas on what to blog about because it is second nature to me. I’ll often say people don’t want to know about that.. and it turns out they do! :o)

  5. Anonymous September 9, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    Um, AWESOME! And timely, too. Thank you!

  6. paulette September 9, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    THANK you so much for this tip!! I am going to try it right NOW!!

  7. rita September 9, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    wow! I love this idea! I had no idea how to clean my iron..hmmm tho…may just leave my old one dirty to show my dear husband that I “need” a new one so I can buy a new rowenta on ebay!! LOL!!

  8. Tiff September 9, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    OMG! what a life saver! I tried it this morning. Voila! it worked. Thanks so much for the tip!

  9. princess granola September 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    that’s good to know! and another iron cleaning tip that i use all the time… to get glue or anything sticky like hemming tape off an iron- warm the iron up and rub it down with a dryer sheet and the yuck comes right off.

    • Karen August 17, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

      Thank you! Both of these solutions worked for my iron !

  10. Emily September 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    Thank you for the tip! I’ve tried baking soda and vinegar but they didn’t do much for my plate. I will definitely try this as soon as I get a magic eraser. Thanks again!

  11. Charlene September 9, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    That makes me want to run right upstairs and burn something on my iron so I can try this tip to get it off!!

    I have a Rowenta, but it’s been dropped one too many times, and squirts water out the bottom each time I fill it up and let it heat up. Ugh. Hate it.

  12. Loralynn September 10, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    You are a genius! I can’t wait to us my Mr. Clean Pad to clean my iron! It needs a serious cleaning! Thanks!!!

  13. Diane September 10, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    As a retired H. Ec. teacher I find the comment irritating as I too told my students that pressing is what sets a project apart. I had six irons and ironing boards in a room of 24 students and would not let them proceed to the next step without pressing. Some people simply will not listen to good advice. I do, however, appreciate the cleaning tip.

  14. Crafty Gemini September 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Sorry, Diane! Didn’t mean to irritate you. I wish I would’ve had a home ec teacher like you. In my home ec class students got away with all kinds of poorly made assignments!

  15. Sara at Keeth Ink September 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    I am no professional, but I have sewed for many years and I tell people all the time: “half of sewing is ironing!” I may sometimes be a slapdash sewist, but the one thing I always do is iron as I go. It’s just not right otherwise. Thanks for the tip about the magic eraser – that’s something I usually have hanging around the house anyway, so I’ll give it a try.

  16. ~Dawn~ September 10, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    I’ve always used a fabric softener sheet and that works great too!

  17. Van September 15, 2010 at 4:50 am #

    Hi!, interesting tip.. well I use normally White Vinegar, common, easy and very cheap to get. I just wet a cotton cloth with vinegar, and do the same procedure you explain here. It might be a bit more rubbing, but also the iron plate ends quite clean. I’ve read somewhere that for those old spots of “hard” water, adding a mix of vinegar and baking soda, does wonders. Filling the iron with it instead of water, and after hot for some minutes, empty it and add water to rinse. (Same goes for the ironing plate). I gave it a try and indeed was wonderful (my iron was my husbands, that I guess was never deep-cleaned before I did hehe).. It works good and now keeps clean for longer.

  18. Kama September 16, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Good thought! Thanks for sharing. I usually end up rubbing soft scrub on my cold iron and then wiping it off. It works well and I’ve never had any problems with it. 🙂 Don’t know if it’s good for the iron…

  19. Mishka September 19, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Great idea Vanessa…hadn’t thought of it.

  20. Anonymous January 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    HOT DANG! I hate those Magic Erasers, but I’m gonna try it on my iron! Maybe it’s THE best use for it! Thanks so much for the tip…you’ve saved me from turning into an old grouch with a messy soleplate! Hugs! E. Hansen, Chester County, PA

  21. Anonymous January 5, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    Diane January 5 2014,12 midnight. Last week my OLD rowenta iron died and had to get another quick, unfortunately I had to pay $119.00 Plus Taxes. Ouch! not as lucky as you girls out there, but you have to do what you have to do ,right? And how can anyone sew or quilt without ironing? I will definitly use the Magic eraser to clean the sole plate when needed, because I love to starch and fuse on projects.

  22. starla November 18, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

    When I use my steam button it shoots out white chunks, any ideas on how to clean that out?

    • Cindy Bauer December 10, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

      try pouring white distilled vinegar into the iron instead of water, let if sit for 15-20 minutes (cold, not heated up), then dump the vinegar back out. It will clean out the mineral deposits in your iron, which is hat are the white chunks.

  23. Neer January 1, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

    I am so greatful for Pinterest & people like you all who share tips that are helpful to everyone! I can’t wait to get my eraser!

  24. Agnes February 22, 2016 at 10:04 am #

    It worked! Thank you so much, I get a lot of use out of my iron and now it’s as good as new!

  25. Anonymous January 3, 2017 at 9:59 pm #

    And thank you – it worked like a champ. It is much appreciated

  26. Margaret March 22, 2017 at 5:36 pm #

    Thank you for the tip! I worked awesome!!!!

  27. ashley marie May 7, 2017 at 11:48 pm #

    I dont iron much. Just my sons school uniform pants. But some how my iron has got real nasty looking. (I dont use any spray just straight iron). So decided to come on pintrest for ideas. Your idea seems like it would be the fastest and its not messy sounding. So looking forward to trying it. Plus I love the Mr Clean erasers!!! I have found MANY uses for them. But never would of thought of this. Will comment again with my results. Thank you so much for the idea 🙂

  28. E. Goralsky July 31, 2017 at 3:56 am #

    I found this post because I am a newbie to ironing and needed to know how to clean it. I was given a rowneta steam iron. Do you have good resources for learning how to iron? It seems so easy but tonight I could not for the life of me get the dryer wrinkles out of my cotton. Must appreciated for any resources! I think I’d enjoy ironing if I could more success.

    • Brenda February 11, 2018 at 4:03 pm #

      Steam helps with the hard to remove wrinkles

  29. Sue August 9, 2017 at 8:39 am #

    Thank you, thank you!! Was just about to go for the baking soda and water when I came across your hint. Another plus for the Magic Eraser.

  30. Karen Tuffs August 30, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    I just tried this and it worked like a charm! Thank you!

  31. Rita October 21, 2017 at 12:16 am #

    This worked great. Won’t put off cleaning the bottom of the iron anymore

  32. Lynda February 5, 2018 at 10:56 am #

    I couldn’t believe how dirty my iron was until I tried to iron something this morning and it would move!! I remember using this trick on my other iron several years ago and so glad I found your tutorial. it took quite awhile since it was pretty coated, but it’s clean now. Thanks.

  33. Mary E. Justice February 12, 2018 at 12:24 pm #

    I just tried this cleaning procedure and it worked great. It did not get the burnt stuff off the little holes where the steam comes out, but worked good on the flat service.


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