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How to descale a steam generator iron

Updated February 21, 2017

Limescale is a chalky, white substance that builds up over time whenever water is evaporated. These mineral deposits are the result of high calcium levels in water. Aside from being unsightly, limescale can affect the performance of your steam-generator iron clogging the vents and leaving stains on clothes. There are chemicals you can buy to descale your iron but you can easily remove it with a few household items.

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  1. Pour out any water left in the iron. Make sure the iron is unplugged.

  2. Mix two tablespoons baking soda with one tablespoon of distilled water. Stir the mixture together until it becomes a paste.

  3. Apply the baking soda and water paste to the iron's plate.

  4. Dampen a clean cloth with distilled water and wipe the paste off of the plate.

  5. Wet a cotton swab with distilled water. Insert the wet swab into the steam vents.

  6. Pour 177 ml (3/4 cup) of distilled water and 59 ml (1/4 cup) of white vinegar into the iron's water reservoir.

  7. Plug in the iron and turn it on to the highest steam setting. Place a clean cloth on a flat surface and steam-clean it with the iron for a few minutes.

  8. Turn off and unplug the iron. Pour out the water and vinegar mix.

  9. Pour clean distilled water into the iron reservoir and steam-clean a clean cloth for a few minutes.

  10. Turn off and unplug the iron. Pour out the remaining water.

  11. Tip

    Always pour out any remaining water after ironing to prevent future limescale build-up.

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Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Distilled water
  • Three clean cloths
  • Cotton swabs
  • White vinegar

About the Author

After accidentally stumbling into a journalism class at University of North Texas, Abby Vaun has been writing ever since. She honed her skills writing for "The Dallas Morning News" and as a copy editor for Earle Palmer Brown in New York City. From Dallas to New York to L.A., she has enjoyed freelancing for 10 years and expanding her knowledge through her profession.

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