Caring for your iron

A dirty iron can transfer dirt onto your clothes. If you have a model with a nonstick surface, all you need to do is wipe it with a damp cloth or sponge. Otherwise, rub it lightly with a detergent solution, then wipe it dry. Never use abrasive pads or cleansers that can scratch the iron's surface. Clogged steam vents are another problem. If your iron has an automatic cleaning function, try that first. If the clogging is severe, try clearing them by inserting a paper clip into the holes. If that doesn't work, fill the iron with a half-and-half solution of vinegar and water. Hold it horizontally and let it steam until it's empty. Do this over the sink to prevent spills. You might have to repeat the process, if necessary. Your iron's instruction manual may say that it's okay to use tap water, but that simply means that the iron is designed to resist impurities in the water. By using distilled water, the impurities never get into your iron in the first place. To save money, you can even store a jar of rain water for ironing. Don't forget to keep your ironing board cover clean, too. If it's washable, put it back on the board while it's still damp. It'll fit more snugly that way.

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