Ironing is one of those tasks that just has to be done, no matter how much we try to avoid it. You can even invest in the best steam iron you can find to make the job easier but from time to time you will find that your iron needs to be maintained. Descaling an iron is a crucial task that helps to keep your appliance working correctly and ensures that it lasts longer.
Descaling is removing limescale buildup from the steam vents and other parts of the iron that come into contact with water. Limescale is a complex, chalky deposit that accumulates in areas with hard water. In this article we explain how often you should descale, the best descalers for irons, and why you should do it regularly.
How to descale an iron with liquid descaler
The Care+Protect Universal Iron Descaler removes limescale and keeps the performance of your steam iron at maximum level. For the best results, follow the steps below:
- Unplug the iron
- Put 125ml of product in 350ml of hot water;
- Pour the solution into the tank;
- Connect the iron and select steam;
- Empty completely and rinse well;
- Dry the plate with a cloth;
- Refill with water, connect the iron and let the steam out.
How often do you descale an iron?
The frequency at which you should descale your iron depends on several factors, including the hardness of your water and how often you use your iron. In general, it is recommended that you descale your iron once every three months. If you use your iron regularly, more than three times a week you may need to descale it more often, perhaps once a month. However, if you use your iron infrequently, you may only need to descale it every six months. Steam Generator irons may need to be descaled more often and there is often a warning light that will start to show after 1 - 3 months of regular use, telling you to descale steam generator iron.
What is the best way to descale an iron?
There are several methods to descale an iron, but the most common is to use a liquid iron descaler. These solutions are specially formulated to break down limescale deposits and are available in most hardware or home stores. To descale your iron using a liquid solution, follow these simple steps:
- Ensure the iron is unplugged and cool.
- Fill the iron's water tank with the descaling solution, and then top it up with water.
- Turn the iron on and wait for it to heat up.
- Once the iron has heated up, hold it over a sink and press the steam button until all the solution has been expelled.
- Refill the water tank with water and rinse the iron by holding it over the sink and pressing the steam button until all the water has been expelled.
- Wipe the soleplate with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.
Alternatively, you can also use vinegar to descale an iron. Mix equal vinegar and water and pour the mixture into the water tank. Please turn on the iron and let it heat up before pressing the steam button to expel the solution. Rinse the iron with water and wipe it clean. This can work well but you should still use a specially made descaling solution wherever possible.
It is important to note that you should never use abrasive materials to clean your iron, as this can damage the soleplate.
Why should you descale your iron regularly?
Regularly descaling your iron is essential to maintain its performance and ensure it lasts longer. Limescale buildup can cause blockages in the steam vents, reducing the steam output and making it harder to iron your clothes. It can also cause the soleplate to become sticky, which can damage delicate fabrics. Descaling your iron regularly will prevent these issues from occurring and keep your iron in good condition.
If you notice that your iron is taking longer to press your clothes well or is not removing creases as efficiently as it used to then it’s highly likely that it needs to be descaled.
Good quality irons can last around 10 years if they are well cared for so regular descaling is important to keep your iron in good condition.
What happens if you never descale your iron?
If you never descale your iron, it can lead to a multitude of issues affecting both the appliance's efficiency and the quality of its performance. Over time, mineral deposits from tap water accumulate inside the iron, leading to what is commonly termed as "scale." These hardened mineral deposits can clog the iron's steam holes, resulting in uneven steam distribution or even preventing the steam function altogether. As scale builds up, it may also cause the iron to spit out brownish water or mineral flakes, potentially staining and damaging your clothes. Furthermore, the accumulated scale can cause the iron's internal thermostat to malfunction, preventing it from reaching the desired temperature. Ultimately, failure to descale can drastically reduce the lifespan of the iron and compromise its functionality, leading to inefficient ironing sessions and potential damage to fabrics.
How long does it take to descale your iron?
The time it takes to descale a steam iron largely depends on the extent of the mineral buildup and the method used for descaling. On average, using a commercial descaler or a homemade solution like a mixture of water and white vinegar or lemon juice, the process can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. This typically involves filling the iron's water reservoir with the descaling solution, allowing it to heat up, and then pressing the steam button to release the solution through the iron's steam vents. The iron might need to be rinsed with clean water and the process repeated if the scale buildup is particularly heavy. Additionally, allowing the solution to sit in the iron for a few minutes before steaming can be beneficial for loosening stubborn deposits. After steaming, the iron should be emptied and left to dry thoroughly. It's essential to consult the iron's manufacturer guidelines, as some models might have specific descaling recommendations.