Steam Iron Works Poorly

Problem: Clogged spray openings, clogged steam vents, or sputtering prevent proper operation.

Background: Lint can collect in an iron’s steam vents and spray openings, and steam vents can become quickly clogged with minerals in your tap water. Sputtering may occur if the water storage tank has been filled to the overflow vent; if the thermostat setting is too low, allowing water to run through with out being turned into steam; or if the setting is too high, causing the water to flow through the steam passages so fast that it comes out as drops.

What to do: Using distilled or de mineralized water helps keep spray openings and steam vents from clogging. Most manufacturer’s instructions discourage the use of steam iron cleaners. To clean slightly clogged vents, use a mixture of equal parts of distilled white vine gar and distilled water. Then fill the water chamber and set the iron on the rayon setting for a half hour. Cool the iron and then flush it through with distilled water. Some irons can be taken apart for cleaning. On other models, lint and loose mineral deposits are automatically flushed out with bursts of steam.

Special advice: Although you should avoid using tap water in steam irons, a new iron can be seasoned by using tap water for the first 4 or 5 ironings. Minerals in the tap water will lightly coat the metal and pre vent distilled or demineralized water from etching the metal.

Helpful hint: The bottom of the iron (soleplate) can be cleaned with detergent and water, baking soda, whiting, a soap-filled steel wool pad, or fine-grade sandpaper. After cleaning the iron, run waxed paper over it and polish it with a cloth.


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