It doesn't take much to know when you've scorched your iron, because the burned fabric smell is hideous. Fortunately, scorched irons can be cleaned fairly easily. If you learn how to clean stained sole plates, it's possible to salvage an iron that has been scorched.
How to Clean a Scorched Iron
When you burn the bottom of your iron, the first thing you want to do is unplug it. If you can't remove the scorched fabric from the bottom of the iron in one piece, then use a pair of tweezers or wooden chopsticks to lift small bits of melted material from the sole plate after the iron has cooled completely. If you don't remove all the burned fabric from the iron, the appliance will not work well. Take care to remove all the material and then clean the scorched iron with one of the following techniques.
If the scorched marks are really bad, you will need to be more aggressive in your cleaning efforts. Instead of salt, heat up some white vinegar and dip a soft cloth in it. Next, gently wipe the cloth on the scorched sole plate until the marks are gone. Finish by wiping the bottom of the iron with a cloth dampened with clean water.
If vinegar alone does not erase the marks, then you will need to mix a few teaspoons of table salt or baking soda with the hot white vinegar. Stir the mixture until the salt or baking soda dissolves. Soak a clean cloth in the cleaning solution and then wipe the iron's sole plate. Continue wiping until the stains are gone, and then clean the bottom of the iron with a clean, damp towel before storing.
If your iron has a nonstick sole plate, then you have the option of cleaning the marks with a little liquid laundry detergent. Simply add a drop or two of detergent in a small bowl with warm water. Next, dip a clean cloth into the solution and scrub the sole plate. Finally, dry the bottom of the iron with a towel before using the appliance again.
There are times when scorch marks cover iron vents. To clean this type of mess, combine water and some gentle dish soap, such as Ivory, to create a soapy mixture. Dip cotton swabs into the cleaning solution and rub on the scorched sole plate and in the dirty vents. Once the stains are gone, use a clean cloth to dry the iron.
A simple way to clean a scorched iron is to soak a rag into hydrogen peroxide, place it on an ironing board and iron over it until the stains lift.
If you scorched an iron that does not have a coated iron plate, then you can salvage it by applying a few drops of metal polish solution on it. Rub the polish on the scorch marks with a rag until they disappear, then get a clean cloth and wipe off any damp spots.
Prior to experimenting with any of the aforementioned cleaning techniques, it is a good idea to read the iron's owners manual first. The manufacturer may have additional tips on how to remove scorch marks. In addition, the instructions may also feature a list of cleaning solutions that are not recommended for use on your iron.
Prevention Is Key
One of the best ways to avoid deep cleaning your iron is to never turn it on and leave it unattended. Not realizing how hot an iron is when you press clothes, linens or other materials is a sure fire way to accidentally scorch a sole plate. Also, to keep your iron in tip-top shape, be sure to clean it on a regular basis to prevent materials from building up and clogging vents. Don't use abrasive cleaners or scrub brushes to clean a scorched iron as you can easily damage it further in the process.