Cleaning an Iron’s soleplate with baking soda works really well because the baking soda is a mild alkali. This means it has similar properties to soap and can break apart dirt and grime on a molecular level.
You’ll still need to apply some scrubbing, but this is one of the safest ways to clean a soleplate, without the risk of harming your soleplate.
It removes oil and plastic-based grime like melted fabric, but it won’t necessarily clean up rust and other more serious damage.
If you don’t have baking soda handy right now, see our mega article on how to clean an iron for some clever alternatives.
How to Clean an Iron Soleplate with Baking Soda
Do not use a rag or sponge that’s too coarse as it may leave permanent scratches on the soleplate. The softer side of a cleaning sponge will usually do just fine.
- Wet an old coarse cotton rag or towel and place it over a cutting board (or similar surface)
- You could also lay down a flat cleaning sponge (soft side facing up) for a little more abrasiveness
- Make sure the sponge and the cotton rag are both soaking wet
- Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of baking soda onto the sponge
- With your steam iron on maximum heat, iron over the baking soda
- Allow the coarse surface to help you “scrub” the soleplate with the baking soda as a cleaning agent
- Wipe the soleplate and check the progress
- You may need to add some water as the baking soda dries from the heat
- You can also lift the sponge and clean the clogged steam holes individually
- Once done, simply wipe down the entire iron and use as normal
This video explains the process really well.
Why it Works
Baking Soda has an alkaline base which reacts with the bonds holding together fatty compounds. The warm water and the heat from the iron assist in the break-down.
Combined with the abrasiveness or the cleaning sponge, the dirt is effortlessly “scoured” off the soleplate.
Be very careful to us a cleaning sponge with a coarse side facing up as the roughness can cause scratches on the soleplate. If you’re not sure, start with a softer cloth and work your way up to coarser surfaces.
The use of baking soda itself will not necessarily void your warranty, but most manufacturers insist that you only clean your iron the way they suggest. (This usually involves a dedicated soleplate cleaning kit)