If you’re back to wearing real work clothes on a regular basis, it may be time to bust out the iron. But before you attack any wrinkles, you’ll want to make sure the metal plate is clean and free of any burns, which can leave stains on your clothes. And if you do accidentally melt anything directly onto your iron, it’s helpful to tackle it right away. Here’s how to clean a scorched iron.
First, peel off any remaining fabric
With your iron unplugged and completely cooled, use a pair of tweezers to pick away any pieces of fabric or material stuck to the plate. Again, obviously, don’t do it while your iron is still hot.
If, for some reason, there’s melted plastic on the plate, unplug your iron and let it cool, then place it metal-side down in a pan with ice cubes. Once the plastic has hardened (skip the ice if the plastic has been there for a while), use a plastic knife to scrape it off. Wipe the plate with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.
Clean your iron with acetaminophen (really)
One weird but effective method for cleaning iron scorch marks is to scrape them with an acetaminophen (Tylenol) tablet. You want the iron to be hot but unplugged, so heat it up if the burn is old. Then take the pill and gently rub it over the scorched area, taking care not to burn your fingers. You could even wear an oven mitt or glove for extra protection. Then take a damp cloth and wipe the area down. Repeat until the burn is gone.
Other methods for cleaning your iron
If you don’t have any Tylenol handy, there are a few other options for tackling iron scorch marks:
- Baking soda: A paste of baking soda and water (2:1 ratio) can be effective for cleaning your iron plate. However, you want to avoid getting any baking soda in the iron steam holes. Lime juice and vinegar can sub in for water.
- Vinegar or hydrogen peroxide: Soak a cloth in vinegar or hydrogen peroxide and place your iron on it, face down. Leave it for at least a half hour and then wipe the plate off.
- Nail polish remover: Soak a cotton ball in acetone polish remover and carefully rub it over the plate while it’s warm.
- Laundry detergent or dish soap: Combine warm water and soap and apply to the iron plate. Wipe clean and dry.
- Wax: Heat your iron, then unplug it and rub a wax candle over the scorched area. Use it to iron a damp, clean cloth, which will remove any residue.