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Hi All

Does anyone know please what causes the black sticky gunk on the soleplate of irons? Our current iron seems to be particularly prone to the build up.

My wife believes it's because it's a cheap iron. I bought it for her a few months ago at Morrisons to replace one where the wire had worn through to the metal, sparking a bit, and which she considered "dangerous". The fact that she is now complaining that the iron is "cheap" smacks of ingratitude, frankly.

So, is a more expensive iron going to be less prone to build-up? If so I have an idea. It's Mrs Manks birthday in two weeks, I can buy her a really expensive iron instead of jewellery / perfume etc. It might deliver the twin benefits of gunge-free ironing and stimulating a bit more gratitude in the future.

Manks
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t's Mrs Manks birthday in two weeks, I can buy her a really expensive iron instead of jewellery / perfume etc

Just don't Manks, you'll regret it...

It might deliver the twin benefits of gunge-free ironing and stimulating a bit more gratitude in the future.

I think you live on a different planet! A neighbour bought his wife a frying pan for christmas about 6 years ago... she is still cross!
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Does anyone know please what causes the black sticky gunk on the soleplate of irons? Our current iron seems to be particularly prone to the build up.

As far as I know, this is caused by ironing man made stuff at too high a temperature. To get rid of it, a recemmended way apparently is to set the iron to maximum (I think) and then rub on cotton, the idea being to wipe it off.

Although it's along time since I had to do it, I've used mechanical means in the past, wire brush in drill chuck. This is only mentioned as to what I have done. I want no comebacks as it will make a mess of the soleplate, ie lots of scratches, especially if aluminium.

Regards,

ten0rman
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You can get an "iron cleaning stick", probably in the supermarket for a couple of quid. Just rub it on the soleplate when hot.

It'll probably come in a box about the size of a small perfume bottle...

Scott.
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Assuming you want a sensible answer, buy something like a Philip's Elance 3100 which has a non-stick plate and came out top in the Good Housekeeping tests a couple of years ago (but NOT as a birthday present).
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Buy a decent quality iron with a non-stick plate. A good iron will offer more reliable combinations of heat level and steam making it easier to successfully iron the sort of fabric which leaves a black deposit on the base of the iron. If you must wear clothes containing artificial fibres the quality of the iron becomes critical as they can be remarkably difficult to get smooth without using a heat level which causes some melting of the material onto the iron.

You should also take over the ironing yourself as a week or two of struggling with the various fabrics will remove all your reluctance to spend money on buying a decent iron, in fact you'll probably stop ironing during the first session to rush out and buy a good iron.

Your wife does not want an iron nor a tea towel nor anything similar for her birthday. The best birthday present would be the idea above i.e. send her a card promising to all the ironing for the next twelve months : - )
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You can get an "iron cleaning stick", probably in the supermarket for a couple of quid. Just rub it on the soleplate when hot

These work well, but they can STINK to high heaven, so be prepared! If you can't find them at the Supermarket Robert Dyas usually have them in.

I have (very carefully) scraped my (cold) iron's soleplate with a knife to get rid of residue in the past, and it is still working fine, non stick etc. It is a cheap/basic range iron which I got about 13 years ago and is still doing what it is meant to!

Sats
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Midnightcatprowl

So we do need to invest in something better then, if it's the fibres adhering to the iron.

Your wife does not want an iron nor a tea towel nor anything similar for her birthday.

I was only kidding obviously, I wouldn't dream of buying her an iron. No, I'm still undecided between a Black and Decker circular saw and a lawnmower.

Manks
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No, I'm still undecided between a Black and Decker circular saw and a lawnmower.

Don't mock, I've received both a jigsaw (not the table puzzle kind) and a ride-on mower as gifts from my hubby in the past. Not big on jewellery and perfume, me.

kodokan
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So we do need to invest in something better then, if it's the fibres adhering to the iron.

What a funny thread. IME black sticky stuff mostly comes from catching the applied logos/images on kids' T-shirts and adults sports shirts (all the ones that say "do not iron over..."), into which fluff sticks. Plus the odd swipe made at something manmade with the heat setting on cotton.

Sticky stuff remover gets it off, although you then need to scrub the effing remover tuff out of the steam holes.

IME any iron purchased by Him Outdoors is going to be twice as heavy as the one selected by Her Indoors, and also probably twice as expensive. If you are going to spend three hours a week shoving the darn thing over clothes some road testing by the end-user is advisable, or else you risk sore wrists (it is a fact men have stronger wrists for some reason)

SarahStrat
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Does anyone know please what causes the black sticky gunk on the soleplate of irons? Our current iron seems to be particularly prone to the build up.


No idea



My wife believes it's because it's a cheap iron.


She may be right. A few years ago, I bought three irons in about two weeks because the first two were, simply, crap. It might be worth asking on here who can recommend a good one.



I bought it for her a few months ago at Morrisons to replace one where the wire had worn through to the metal, sparking a bit, and which she considered "dangerous". The fact that she is now complaining that the iron is "cheap" smacks of ingratitude, frankly.


Agreed, I would suggest its time for a new model. Are there any pretty young things in the accounts department?



So, is a more expensive iron going to be less prone to build-up?

Probably


If so I have an idea. It's Mrs Manks birthday in two weeks, I can buy her a really expensive iron instead of jewellery / perfume etc. It might deliver the twin benefits of gunge-free ironing and stimulating a bit more gratitude in the future.


I think it might stimulate a headache due to an iron shaped depression in your skull....
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I would really like an answer to this too. I had an expensive iron. I am on the altar guild of our church and iron linens. All the sudden I got this dark residue on my iron that would not come off and would ruin these expensive linens. I threw it out and got another pricey iron. Same thing happened. Could it be maybe someone is using starch and it's burning? HELP!!!
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Hi rascalsfan, welcome to TMF.

However, you may not receive much of a response as you're posting in response to a thread dating from January 2010.
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Could it be maybe someone is using starch and it's burning?

Yes it could well be starch, or fabric conditioner, both of which can burn on and form sticky residues.
It is also possible that it is un-rinsed detergent, or even melted synthetic fibres.

Turn down the temperature, clean off the sole plate on a coarse cotton tea towel and/or use a proprietary sole-plate cleaner.
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Depends on the iron's plate surface, personally we have older irons that are plain chromed (?) or otherwise plated steel and respond well to being cleaned when cold with a very mild Brasso type cream cleaner solution, after removing the gunk clean with a soapy solution & rinse to remove any cleaning residue.

If you are ironing fabrics of worth do so through a thin cotton sheet, cut to size old sheet sheet. I do my silk ties this way.
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