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sole plate of iron

clairezbo | Posted in General Discussion on

the plate on the bottom of my iron is covered with black gunk. I was working with upholstery material and the iron was properly too hot. How do I get the black off??? I have tried vinager and a very fine steel wool. It is better but still there. Any tips??? I seem to be having this problem alot with this rowenta Pro.


  1. sueb | | #1

    The last time I ironed the wrong side of some fusible interfacing somebody told me to run the hot iron over a used dryer sheet.  I did and it worked like a charm, took all the gunk right off.  I've also used some adhesiver remover which you can find at a hardware store.  It's a bit smelly but it works.

    1. User avater
      clairezbo | | #2

      thanks Sue, I will be sure to give that a try.

  2. cafms | | #3

    Prym-Dritz makes a product called Iron-off Hot Iron Cleaner that works really well for getting the fusible off the iron.  It might also work for the "gunk" too.  The iron does need to be hot when you use it.

  3. Megh | | #4

    If you do use the dryer sheet method, and it works very well, be sure to lay a thick pad of newspaper under the dryer sheet!!!  And don't do it ON your ironing board.  The heat from your iron will melt the resins in the dryer sheet and it will ruin your ironing board cover (believe me, I did this...).


    1. sueb | | #5

      When I did this, I used a used dryer sheet and didn't have any problem at all. 

      1. sarahkayla | | #6

        you need two factors to remove gunk from an iron...and a third helps move thngs along..


        you can need an abrasive, you need use a lubricant and heat helps move things along....you can have sea salt under paper, you can use candlewax heat and an abrasive, you can use steel wool and a commercial iron cleaner, you can run the warm iron over sandpaper. I find that the commercial stuff ans a bit of a nasty chemical smell.


        I often usea steel wool pad and old towels and scrub the iron while it is hot.


        good luck


        sarah in nyc

        1. tessainGabriola | | #7

          If you use a steel wool  pad don't you rub off the special non-stick/nonshine finish? My iron's instructions threaten the end of the world if the finish is scratched. Is the finish really effective?

          1. sarahkayla | | #8

            I don't own such a fancy iron..  ( just a black and decker )I hate teflon. the surface of my  is a brushed metal one.. the steel wool does not chage the look of the surface at all

          2. tessainGabriola | | #9

            Yes, I am beginning to decide that a Teflon coating is not needed. I used to think that the theory was good so I bought a teflon sole plate that you put on with springs. But then I had to set the iron's heat up so much higher that it was rediculous. So I went back to using a press cloth. It's more fussy that just putting your iron down on the fabric but the result are good. 

  4. caprilmae | | #10

    Let your iron cool off and use a "Mister Clean magic sponge". You can buy them in a grocery or drug stores. The sponge will easily clean the gunk off your iron. Just dampen the sponge and wipe off the gunk. Dry off the iron with a paper towel and you are ready to go. The sponge can be used many times over. Here's to clean irons and many sewing adventures

    1. ixs | | #11

      I am rather particular, so I clean my iron all the time with a commercial iron cleaner. I have a stainless steel soleplate. I fold several layers of muslin, and I do put it on the ironing board; no problem if you use many layers. But it does take a lot of passes over the material, if the "stuff" is really baked on.But, I would suggest an open window and long arms so the fumes don't go up your nose into your lungs......they are nasty.

      1. onequarter | | #12

        I too have nasty, gunky buildup on my iron bottom. I don't have teflon so I'm going to try the steel wool.
        I suspect that some of the gunk is from using cheapo laundry detergent. I'm willing to reform is anyone has any evidence that some brand of clothes detergent rinses out better so as to prevent the buildup on your iron.I have the little dryer sheets upstairs in my sewing room. I have a Rowenta, and I use it for sewing and for ironing my clothes.Does anyone think it is worthwhile to have a separate iron for projects and for general laundry?Thanks for your time.

        1. mygaley | | #15

          My neighbor suggested I switch from powdered to liquid detergent and the difference in my wash was amazing.  I use different brands, depending on what's on sale.  Also, I find some heavy duty fabric softeners are too much of a good thing and seem to leave a film on fabric and iron.  I use 1/2 fabric softener sheet.

        2. ixs | | #16

          Hi again,I don't use much fabric softener, as I heard that it would diminish the absorption of one's cotton towels. I used to use it in the winter very sparingly because of static electricity. And I only use the one iron, and it has to work well, because I do iron my linen clothes and expect them to look better than the cleaners.We travel, so have used many washers, but I am spoiled by my Neptune front loader at home. And I don't overload any washer, as I think that prevents effective washing and rinsing.

        3. Teaf5 | | #19

          It's more likely the gunk on your iron is from using too hot a setting for your fabrics, especially synthetics. If you get the iron really hot, you can usually soften the residue and iron it off onto an old towel in a scraping motion, but the commercial iron cleaners work well, too.Detergent residue is more likely to cause scorching on the fabrics rather than film on the iron, and you can reduce that by doing a second rinse. For allergy reasons, I use the "free" versions of powdered detergents and always set the machine for a second rinse.I use the same iron for laundry and sewing, but I iron only 100 cotton blouses and not very many of those, either! If a separate iron for sewing would simplify your life, it's probably a good idea--anything that takes frustration out of the process makes it much more rewarding overall!

  5. needle | | #13

    I believe that if you spray the cold iron, with WD 40, and keep wiping it with a paper towel, you will remove it.  It seems to be a miracle worker, and I had received an email some time ago, with 40 uses for WD 40, and they were miraculous. I am trying to find where I saved that email. Maybe WD 40 would help my memory!!LOL needle

    1. User avater
      clairezbo | | #14

      You know, I got that same email, but never thought of it on the sole plate. I am going to try it right now. I will let you know how it works out. I have been very curious about all those uses for WD40.

  6. offerocker | | #17

    Have you tried good ol' lighter fluid soaked into a cotton swab?  I use lighter fluid for many things, and it's a life saver.  Takes all sticky stuff off rather quickly.

  7. User avater
    maddog3 | | #18

    When I was an altar boy, I used a brown paper bag and table salt
    to clean my moms iron......but that was looong ago,

    and it was nothing special, unlike the new ones that have bottoms made from Unobtainium ......and need special cleaners

  8. user-66914 | | #20

    I have recently sent my Rowena to the repair business.  MY iron needed anew thermostat,which has nothing to do with black gunk.  However, I do remember that they will do all kinds of repairs.  I believe you can ship your iron from any state in the USA  (or call (781)396-0600).  I believe they will direct you to send your iron in to them....I paid only $15.00 + shg./hndlg.

    The above phone # is for customer service. 

  9. diday | | #21

    Non-abrasive cleaners such as baking soda or toothpaste will also clean iron soleplate (cool iron). Then run warm iron over wax paper.

  10. GorgeousThings | | #22

    I have a Consew gravity feed iron. When I had it in for service last week, the tech looked at it and said to another guy, "while you are at it, get some Easy Off and clean the soleplate." When they were done, it looked brand new. Now, that's an iron soleplate, so I don't know how it would work on a Rowenta. But it cleans hot surfaces without scratching, and it did a great job on my iron.


    1. User avater
      clairezbo | | #23

      well, I can't tell you how many different solutions I have got on How to clean the sole plate. But I can tell you this has got to be the best. And If you just stop and think about it, Easy Off would just do the trick. Thank you so much

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