A sign that the steam holes on your steam iron needs cleaning is when you have brown spots imprinted on your cloth whenever you use the steam feature. The reason is simple. The water you pour into the reservoir, most likely not a distilled water, has mineral dissolved in it, which can be trapped in the steam holes and subsequently lead to rusting overtime.

Whenever steam is forced through the openings, it brushes against this trapped build thus transferring some of it over to your cloths. Then, when you heat up the iron and move its plate across the surface of the cloth, the rust is pressed onto the fabric and appear as brown spot.

A struggling steamer can also be identified by its sputter, and also white residue and flake build ups inside the holes. Whenever you have these, it’s time for cleanup. And what better way to clean the steam holes that using our expert guide below.

Go back to the owner’s manual.

Every quality pressing iron nowadays comes with an owner’s manual. And if the iron is a steamer, big chances are that there is a guide specifically published for cleaning the steaming holes.

As far as cleaning the steam holes is concerned, and even the iron in general, following that guide is your best bet. Any other guide online should only be takes as secondary advice, as some can greatly contrasts with the recommendations of the manufacturer. For example, the most popular way to descale an iron online uses equal parts of white vinegar and water poured inside the reservoir. This is advice that contrast with the advice advocated by some brands of iron like LINSAN that specifically warns against the use of white vinegar and other liquid cleaners inside the water tank.

When you can’t find owner’s manual.

If you can’t find the owner’s manual of your iron, you should try checking for the manual online. Just google the exact brand name and model number and if you’re lucky someone has been kind enough to post the manual online for you. If this method still doesn’t work, you can try out this procedure for steaming irons that have

  1. First, fill distilled water into the water tank and set the temperature selector to maximum position.
  2. Next, connect the iron into an appropriate power supply and the indicator light should be illuminated.
  3. Now set the variable steam button (the button used to set the degreed of steam hotness) to dry position then keep the iron vertical. If your iron doesn’t have a knob for controlling the hotness of steam, skip this step.
  4. Now let the iron heat up until the illuminated light goes off. If your indicator isn’t working, let the iron run for 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Hold the iron over the sink and set the variable steam button to self-clean position, typically opposite to the positioned you turned it earlier. This should flush out steam and boiling water alongside impurities and flakes from the soleplates.
  6. For those having irons that do not have the variable steam knob, press the steam button continuously to release steam and boiling water alongside impurities and flakes.
  7. When the water in the tank is exhausted, release the knob if you’re using the self-cleaning feature or stop pressing the steam button.
  8. Allow the iron to cool until warm.
  9. Inspect the holes for white residue and if there is, use a toothpick to pick the out. Then perform another steaming with small quantity of water and then wipe the iron plate with a soft microfiber cloth.
  10. Your iron should be ready for another two three months.

Use a commercial steam iron cleaning product

There are many steam iron cleaning products that also include procedures and tools for cleaning steam holes. But be wary of some of them as using them can void warranty, and not only that, some are actually harsh and could potentially damage the iron on the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my iron spitting out brown stuff?

Your iron is spitting out brown stuff because you have buildups resulting from dissolved minerals in the water which cause rusting in the holes. The dissolved minerals create deposits that can clog the steam holes, there by releasing brown stuff whenever you use the steam function.

You can get rid of the brown stuffs by picking out the holes manually using toothpicks and then using the steamer until the water inside finishes.

How do you remove lime scale from a steam iron?

To remove lime-scale from a steam iron, you need to remove buildups manually using toothpicks and then run the steamer to force out steam, impurities and flakes from the steamer. Make sure to use distilled water.

How to clean steam iron water tank

The procedure for cleaning the steam holes usually cleans the water tank. Most iron nowadays have an ant-clac feature that extract lime-scale from the reservoir. These are stored in cartridges and are often removable and replaceable. These do a god job at keeping the interior of the reservoir even clean, so there is really no need to do anything aside run a steaming session that typically cleanses the reservoir itself.

Final Verdict

Steam holes in irons can get build ups overtime, especially after a months of usage and consistent use of mineral water in the reservoir. While these buildups can prevent proper steaming of the iron and impart mineral spots and rusty water on perfectly washed cloths, the steam holes can be treated with distilled water to rid them off the residue preventing steam escape and causing brown spots.

For cleaning, make sure to start with an unplugged iron that is cool iron. Next, pour distilled water inside the water reservoir and then plug back the iron. Heat up for 5 minutes to create steam and then push the steam button consistently for 30 seconds (about 6 to 7) times until steam come out freely each time. At the end, you should have a reservoir that is completely emptied, if not, unplug the iron and empty the contents. Then, allow to cool and the use a toothpick to pick out buildups in the holes and use a cotton swap to wipe the plate off the residue.