How to clean the sole plate of an electric iron

Updated February 21, 2017

The sole plate of an electric iron is the base that covers the entire bottom. When you push the sole plate over the clothes you're ironing, it picks up starch and other residue. Once enough gunk builds up on it, the iron doesn't glide across fabrics anymore; you'll feel it hang up. It may even stain or leave residue on the clothes. That's why you need to clean the sole plate from time to time. The more you use the iron, the more it needs to be cleaned.

Unplug the electric iron and set it in its upright position. Allow the sole plate to cool thoroughly.

Use cotton swabs to clean the residue out of the vents on the sole plate. Don't stick the swabs into the holes. Only clean the parts of the vents that you can see.

Sprinkle 2 tbsp baking soda into a bowl. Add just enough water to make a paste by stirring well with a spoon.

Dip a nonabrasive sponge into the baking-soda paste. Scrub the sole plate on the electric iron. Pay special attention to any stains or scorched areas. Re-dip the sponge as needed, covering the entire surface with the paste.

Rinse the sponge well with water. Wipe the sole plate clean. Rinse the sponge out whenever it becomes soiled.

Dry the sole plate well with a soft cloth.


To find out specific cleaning instructions for the sole plate on your iron, refer to the owner's manual.


Never use abrasive cleansers or scouring pads to clean the sole plate. These can scratch the surface. Never immerse the electric iron in water to clean it. Water can damage the unit.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton swabs
  • Small bowl
  • Baking soda
  • Spoon
  • Nonabrasive sponge
  • Soft cloth
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About the Author

Kayar Sprang has been a professional freelance writer and researcher since 1999. She has had articles published by clients like Kraft Foods, "Woman's Day" magazine and Mom Junction. Sprang specializes in subjects she has expertise in, including gardening and home improvement. She lives on and maintains a multi-acre farm.