My iron has never been so dirty! I am not sure what I did to cause such a brown build-up on the surface and in the grooves of my iron. I think it may be that I recently made a series of miniature quilts with hundreds of little pieces, which I of course pressed in exactly the same spot on my ironing board. There is a corresponding brownish area on it as well. I do use Mary Ellen’s Best Press spray, but have never had problem with it—in fact, it works great for pressing as I piece. I still think the problem resulted from a crazy amount of pressing in one concentrated area.
So, as a result of trying to clean my iron, I tried the three iron cleaners we carry on the CT website (see below).
The following is my experience with the three products, plus an informal survey of the staff’s favorites. I will provide some pros and cons I discovered as well. This is by no means a thorough review—I just wanted a clean iron!
Bo-Nash Iron Clean
The Iron Clean sheet was the first thing I tried. It easily cleaned the brown residue on the surface of the iron but did not clean out the grooves. In the above photo of the iron, the surface was already cleaned, but the grooves remained dirty. I have used these Iron Clean sheets for years with good results – usually when I have a bit of fusible web stuck to my iron. They look and feel like dryer sheets.
It turns out I wasn’t even following the directions—and they still worked well! I just laid one on my ironing board, ironed on it with a hot iron, and continued pressing my fabric. The correct way, according to the instructions, is to lay a cleaning sheet on a paper towel on the edge of the ironing board. Using medium-high heat, rub the iron on the sheet on the edge of the ironing board and then clean the iron with a paper towel.
I like the convenience of the sheets, but Deb (the head of our sewing center) says she has had a problem with the sheets leaving a residue on the ironing board. This should be prevented by having a paper towel under it. Karen thought it left a residue on the iron today when she tried it on another iron, but she had not wiped the iron off with a paper towel after cleaning as directed.
I borrowed some Iron-Off from our sewing center and followed the directions to squeeze some paste on a scrap of fabric and clean the hot iron by moving it repeatedly over the product on the fabric. It didn’t really help because the Iron Clean had already cleaned the surface. This product has been around for years and is the favorite of a few staff members. I was told it always works and “will clean off anything”. Judy said she squeezes some Iron-Off on a thick cloth and rubs it in while the ironing is sitting upright. I did not try this, but she thought it would have cleaned in the grooves as well. Her only complaint was that she dislikes the smell—but Mari, another long-time user, says she actually likes the smell! Laraine says it is the only cleaner she ever uses but the holes in the metal plate can get clogged up with the paste and have to be cleaned out.
Clover Iron Shine Cleaning Pen
The Iron Shine Cleaning Pen is a newer product I tried for the first time today; most of the other staff were unfamiliar with it as well. It is used on a cold iron for light grime and a low-heat iron for heavy grime. When new, you press on the applicator a few times to get the liquid into the tip. The sole of the iron is wiped clean by pressing gently with the applicator. If you press too hard, extra fluid can leak out. It is the most expensive of the three products.
I was able to remove the brown build-up in the grooves of my cool iron with the Iron Shine Cleaning Pen. Thanks to Karen for kindly acting as my hand model!
Finally, the iron was clean!
Based on my experience and others’ input, I would recommend any of the products. They all seemed to clean well on the iron’s surface – but some creativity may be required to get the product into the grooves to clean them.
What else did I learn? Well, perhaps it is best to avoid ironing in one concentrated spot all the time. My iron tends to get very hot and has heavy steam; perhaps the temperature was too high. If a lot of pressing and/or spray will be used, put a pressing sheet underneath to protect the ironing board or on top to protect the iron. The Clover Iron Safe cover can keep the iron cleaner as well. I use it whenever I want to protect my iron and/or fabric; no pressing cloth is needed.
We would like to hear from you as well! Please let know about your experience cleaning irons or any helpful hints.