When I received my weekly Snippets newsletter from Colette Patterns (highly recommend it) and it contained some suggestions for cleaning your iron plate I thought it was time to do mine.
How did it get so bad you ask? Well I use a lot of stray starch, iron on interfacings, pellons etc and they all can create this mess.
After taking into account the Snippet suggestions and doing some googling, here's the three most suggested home remedies.
1. Mixing baking soda and water into a paste.
Using a clean cloth and rubbing quite hard, the baking soda did remove the thickest of the gunk.
2. Using vinegar straight onto a cloth
As you can see, this didn't really do very much. May have worked a little better had the scorchings not been as bad! Many recommend adding vinegar to the steam water for a good clean out (but don't iron your clothes until you have emptied out the remainder)
3. Steel Wool
I had called into Spotlight to purchase a commercial iron cleaner (which they don't have) but both ladies I spoke to said to use steel wool. In the end this was by far the easiest & quickest option. I have a teflon plate so it didn't scratch - you would need to check if your plate is suitable for this sort of abrasive material.
After any plate cleaning you will need to unclog the steam holes so set your iron to hot & high steam, place down an old towel, lay iron flat but an inch or two off the towel and press your steam button. Some irons have a calc-clean button which releases a large shot of steam cleaning out any gunk.