The Care of a Steam Generator Iron

Updated July 12, 2018

A steam generator iron offers several benefits over a traditional steam iron. This type of iron typically has a larger water reservoir, which transfers water “on demand” to a heating chamber to maintain a constant level of pressurised steam. The moisture quickly permeates fabric to remove wrinkles without the need to apply a lot of pressure. Knowing how to take care of a steam generator iron will increase its lifespan and protect your investment.

Steam Generator Iron Care Tips

Keep the face of the iron in good condition. This part of the iron, known as the soleplate, contains large holes to allow steam to escape and small holes to help the surface glide smoothly over fabrics. However, dust, dirt or other build-up can adversely affect the function of both, no matter how much moisture is generated from the steam. So, wipe the soleplate with a dry cloth after each use, taking care to unplug it and allow it to cool completely. If there’s a good deal of build-up, you can soak the iron face down in a shallow container containing equal amounts of white vinegar and warm water for 30 minutes. Just make sure that only the soleplate is emerged.

Keep iron vents clear. If the soleplate is clean, but there appears to be an accumulation of dirt and debris in the holes, clean them out with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or ammonia.

Clean up accidents. Sometimes, an unexpected material can find its way onto a hot iron, whether picked up by a stain residue left in the laundry or by accidental introduction. Oil-based substances, like lipstick, can be removed by wiping the iron (cool) with a cloth moistened with a bit of rubbing alcohol or ammonia. Wax can be removed by ironing a sheet of newspaper with the iron on high heat.

Descale the water reservoir periodically. Tap water, and particularly well water, contains minerals that can accumulate and form deposits in the reservoir and prevent water from reaching the heating chamber. If you notice a decrease or lack of steam coming from the iron, this is the likely cause. To remedy this situation, fill the reservoir with equal parts white vinegar and water and lay the iron down on its soleplate for several hours, or overnight. Then turn the iron on to its maximum setting and turn on the self-cleaning function. Note that it may be necessary to repeat this process, depending on the amount of minerals in your water and the build-up accumulated in your iron.

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About the Author

Karyn Maier is a seasoned columnist and feature writer. Since 1992, her work has appeared in Mother Earth News, The Herb Quarterly, Better Nutrition and in many other print and digital publications. She is also the author of five books, and is published in six languages.