How to remove burnt fabric from an iron

Updated February 21, 2017

The heat of an iron is great for making sharp creases in trousers or pressing wrinkles out of a cotton shirt, but not all fabric will stand up to a hot iron. Some synthetic fibres melt on contact with the heat, leaving you with an iron coated with sticky, burnt fabric. Before you can iron anything else, you need to remove this burnt fabric. Unplug the iron and let it cool, then prepare to clean up the mess.

Combine the vinegar and salt in the pan and heat until the solution begins to steam. Stir to dissolve all the salt. Remove the pan from the burner.

Allow the solution to cool until it is no longer hot but still warm. Dip the rag in the solution and wet thoroughly. Squeeze out any excess.

Cover the heat plate of the iron with the wet rag and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. This will help soften the burnt pieces and make them easier to remove.

Scrub the heat plate of the iron with the rag to remove all the burnt residue.

Dip a second rag in clean water and wipe the heat plate of the iron. Allow it to dry.

Burnish the sole plate with fine steel wool if any residue remains on the iron. Use a steady back-and-forth motion.


Always make sure the iron is cool and unplugged before you try to clean it.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • Small pan
  • Cloth rags
  • Fine steel wool pad
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About the Author

Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.