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Is it time to clean your iron?

In this house we have two irons…one for general ironing plus I have a little one for sewing. I’ll be honest though, the little one doesn’t get used often for sewing as there are just not enough plugs in this place and they seem to be especially far from my sewing space! This is why I tend to use the ‘main iron’ for my sewing.

The issue with the main iron is that it gets really dirty. I am not 100% sure how this happens, but I am pretty sure that it is from ironing all of the non-iron school uniform that definitely needs ironing. If I sent the children in with un ironed non-iron shirts they would look like they had slept in them! This is despite the fact that I am very careful about how they are hung up out of the washing machine. Maybe the shirts would look better out of a tumble dryer, but we don’t have one of those and the way energy prices are going then I’m not sure that is necessarily a bad thing! Whether it’s these shirts or not I don’t know, but what I do know is that the sole plate gets super dirty and it frequently needs a clean.

My husband will happily continue using the iron when it is dirty but when it comes to using the iron for my sewing there is just no risking getting a dirty mark on my work. I just know that it will be fine as I go along, but I’ll get to a final press and all of a sudden there will be a big nasty mark left in the middle of something! Having a dirty iron is just not worth the risk!


This is what my iron looked like before I gave it a clean. Not horrific, but not great either. When my iron gets to this stage I know it needs a good clean. Even with a pressing cloth it catches on things and that makes me nervous! The last thing you want is a grubby mark on all your hard work.

How to Clean Your Iron

Once upon a time I bought an iron cleaner, but I wasn’t terribly happy with it. It was quite expensive, melted far too quickly, didn’t really remove the muck, but worst of all, it was super smelly! I am sure I still have it somewhere but it’s in the depths of my sewing room and I’m not sure exactly where. You will therefore have to imagine what it looked like!

I was therefore delighted when I learned that you could clean the sole plate of your iron with humble paracetamol. What an absolute revelation!

So, in order to clean your iron you need the following:

  • a dirty iron (of course)
  • plug socket
  • paracetamol (cheap unbranded is fine…just make sure they are uncoated)
  • pair of tweezers
  • clean cloth

Cleaning your iron is really quite simple and really doesn’t take too long.

First up, plug your iron in at the wall and turn it up to the high setting. Just make sure that you have turned up the steam function. The last thing you want is a shot of hot steam whilst you’re trying to clean it.

Get yourself a paracetamol tablet. I go for the non-branded ones as they are super cheap but I guess it doesn’t matter which ones you choose, as long as they are not the coated type.

Grab the tablet between the tweezers (to make sure your fingers don’t get burned) and gently rub against the iron. It will melt pretty quickly and when it gets smaller it will be a bit tricky to grasp with the tweezers. When this happens just grab another tablet.

Periodically wipe the iron with a clean soft cloth. It’s as simple as that!

I made a little film to show you how I clean my iron. It’s not a full on tutorial, but is plenty to show you how simple and effective the process is!

(I have no idea why only part of the video is showing on the page…if you click the View Profile I think it will open up…heeeeelp!)

It’s not a serious in depth tutorial, but I am sure that it’s enough to give you an idea of what you need to do. The main point to note is DO NOT BURN YOUR FINGERS the tweezers are a bit of a faff, but they are essential!


Here’s how my iron looked after that little clean. It is not perfect by any means but it was definitely worth 5 minutes of my time (and a couple of tabs of paracetamol). I could have spent more time cleaning out all of those little steam vents, but sometimes time is not on my side and I just need a ‘fairly clean’ iron to get on!

How about you, have you tried using paracetamol to clean your iron? How did you get on? Have you got any other tips to share for cleaning your iron?

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