The means of cleaning the bottom of a steam iron depend on the type of residue stuck on the sole plate or the inside of the iron. Using soapy water and a nylon mesh net or rubbing salt on a damp cloth can remove grimes and dirt. For stubborn starch stains, or hardened or sticky substances, white vinegar mixed with baking soda and water can help soften and remove the stain.
Rust and dust particles can accumulate outside of the sole plate and into the steam vents over time. Washing it off with soapy water on a damp cloth can help remove dust particles and eliminate rust. Rust hardened on the surface may be removed through a nylon mesh net. Try using softened or dissolved salt or baking soda as less abrasive cleaning agents. Do not use an abrasive material to prevent scratching and damaging the surface of the iron plate.
Mix baking soda with vinegar to remove hard stains. Dissolved salt may also be added to remove starch build ups. If a sticky substance, such as wax or burnt cloth, is stuck on the bottom plate, heat the iron first and then press and run it over onto a newspaper. Wait for the iron to cool down before cleaning.
Combine equal parts of vinegar and water and fill the steam iron tank with the solution to soften and remove mineral deposits inside the steam iron. This is also helpful in cleaning out the vents and disinfecting the iron.