Irons become dirty with use. It can be caused by using a heat setting too high or when crafting with sticky items. A dirty iron can ruin clothes with black marks and make ironing tedious when it sticks rather than glides over surfaces. Many irons have been thrown out because of a dirty sole (the flat surface). But with a few household items and a little effort, your iron can be cleaned for additional use.
Spray the washcloth with pre-wash solution. The entire cloth should be damp but not dripping. Do not spray the cleaner directly onto the sole--it could clog the steamer holes.
Choose a low to medium heat setting for the iron, and run the warm iron over the treated washcloth. Make sure the entire surface of the sole is coated by the pre wash solution. It might take several passes over the washcloth.
Moisten the clean cloth with water. It should not drip, either. Use the moist cloth to wipe the solution off the sole. Wear gloves to prevent burns.
Test your iron on a scrap piece of material before using it on clothing. If the iron still leaves marks or seems to stick to the material, repeat the cleaning process. Once the iron glides easily over the scrap material and leaves no marks, it is ready for use again.
Other methods of cleaning include wiping the sole with white vinegar or a paste of baking soda and water. There also are commercial cleaning solutions available at craft and fabric stores. Do not use metal scrubbing pads--they could scratch the sole. A scratched sole can cause snags on some materials when ironing.