Repair and maintenance. Caution: Unplug an iron and let it cool before repairing or cleaning it.
If an iron doesn’t heat, check first for a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker. An iron uses a lot of power and can easily overload a circuit. Unplug all other appliances on the circuit and reset the breaker or replace the fuse.
A damaged cord can also cause an iron not to heat-or to heat slowly. Check the cord for fraying and loose plug prongs. If bare wire shows, it may be the cause of a short circuit that blew a fuse or tripped a breaker.
Replace the cord only with one that has the same power-carrying capacity, preferably a manufacturer’s replacement. On most irons you can reach the cord connections by removing the screw or screws on the rear of the iron and lifting off the back section.
If an iron’s steam vents become clogged, first clean out the residue in the holes with a stiff wire or a straightened paper clip. Then fill the iron with a solution containing equal parts water and white vinegar. Set the iron on a rack over a broiling pan. Operate it on Steam until it stops steaming; then run it on the highest temperature for a half hour more. To prevent deposit buildups, use only distilled or filtered water in your iron.
To clean an iron’s bottom plate, use a damp sponge with a mild liquid detergent or baking soda. On a metal plate with fine scratches and burrs that catch on delicate fabrics, buff the surface with an automobile polishing compound. If necessary, use very fine steel wool first. Clean well to remove all polish and steel wool residues. Do not use these abrasive materials on a nonstick surface.