Cleaning your iron with salt should only be used in extreme situations where you’re iron’s soleplate is severely damaged and other alternatives are not possible.
The coarse texture of the salt works by “sanding” down the soleplate and removing any burns, scorch marks and other unwanted built-up. Definitely DO NOT apply this technique to a coated soleplate or an iron still under warranty.
How to Clean an Iron’s Soleplate with Salt
- Set up your ironing board
- Lay down a paper towel
- Sprinkle a layer of Salt over the foil
- Heat the iron to its maximum temperature
- Iron over the salt, gently “sanding” away any grime or marks
- Keep checking the soleplate for progress
- Particles of dirt, grime or burnt iron will appear in the salt
- Continue until you stop seeing improvement
- You may be left with a cloudy stain on the soleplate (this is usually fine for ironing)
- Wait for the iron to cool down
- Wipe it down with a damp cloth and remove any remaining salt
For much tougher stains, you can also use aluminum foil instead of a paper towel which increases the firmness of the surface and thus increases the “sanding” effect.
Adding ammonia to the damp cloth also helps clean the soleplate. Simply add a small amount to the cloth and wipe the soleplate down. You can add as much pressure as you’d like without damaging the plate.
Why It Works
Salt has a coarse, crystallized texture, similar to sandpaper which “sands” away any marks or particles that are stuck to the surface of the soleplate. Fortunately, salt is also softer than actual sandpaper and won’t damage the surface of your iron as easily.
You’ll actually begin to notice the dark particles falling off the soleplate and into the white salt. This serves as an additional confirmation that it’s working.
By the way… salt melts at around 1,474 degrees Fahrenheit (801 Celsius) and a steam iron heats to around 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 Celsius) so there is no risk of the salt itself melting and sticking to the iron.
Salt can still do significant damage to your soleplate and must only be used of you’ve tried the other, safer techniques first.
You will lose any manufacturer warranty and, even though the surface will be perfectly clean, it will still show some marks and never look 100% again shiny.
Absolutely do not use salt if your iron has a Ceramic, Teflon or other non-stick coating.