Descaling the iron – practical tips and instructions


You iron your favorite dark blouse, and suddenly small, white spots appear on the fabric. To blame – the iron. Or more precisely, the lime that is deposited inside. Your favorite blouse usually ends up in the laundry again, and the iron has to be descaled.


Descaling agent or not?

There are basically three approaches to decalcifying the iron. Most of the more modern models have their own descaling function and do not require any additional agents. Other devices need a descaler. Many swear by vinegar as a tried and tested home remedy because it reliably dissolves the lime. Some manufacturers advise against it, however, as the acid it contains can attack components inside the iron. It is advisable to take a look at the instructions for use, as descaling with vinegar may void the guarantee.

Citric acid is a popular household remedy for descaling, but it is completely unsuitable for the iron. It combines with the lime due to heat and can clog the pipes from the inside. In the worst case, the iron ends up in the trash. If you use a chemical descaler from the drugstore, it should not be based on citric acid. Here, too, lumps that are difficult to dissolve can form. Apart from that, universal decalcifying agents from the trade reliably remove the deposits. However, to be on the safe side, take a look at the instructions for use. We strongly advise against using any decalcifying solution, especially for irons with a modern descaling function.


Regular descaling is gentle on the iron

White lime stains on the ironed laundry are the clearest sign that the appliance needs descaling. Even if it no longer steams properly, the lime can be to blame. However, it is better not to let it get that far. Some manufacturers recommend descaling after 15 ironing operations. But this is only a guideline. How quickly the device calcifies depends on the hardness of the water  together. If you live in an area with hard water, the iron needs to be softened much more often than in areas with soft water. Deposits are also formed when using distilled water. Regular descaling also extends the service life of the iron here.

Modern devices usually have a descaling lamp. This reports when too much lime has already deposited.


Descale the steam iron – this is how it works

A normal iron without a descaling function can be descaled in a few simple steps. Allow at least 45 to 60 minutes for the process.


Iron with descaling function

Most common models today have a descaling function. You can find out exactly how this works in the instructions for use for the iron. In principle, however, the process is similar for all devices:


Descale the steam ironing station

Steam iron stations often contain a limescale collector or cartridge. Collectors just have to be removed and cleaned. Both a bath with a home remedy and a chemical descaler are suitable for this. Lime cartridges usually have to be replaced. Not sure how to descale your steam generator iron? The instructions for use will certainly provide information and can probably also be found online.


Ways to prevent lime scale

Every iron sooner or later calcifies. However, there are a few tricks that can be used to delay limescale deposits.

Softened or filtered water

Use a water softener in the household  or a water filter, the tap water causes significantly fewer deposits in all devices. Some iron manufacturers also offer special filter jugs. These should produce an optimal ironing water.

Distilled water

Many use only distilled water for ironing. This is demineralized and therefore leads to less limescale deposits. However, some manufacturers advise against using distilled water, as it has a low pH value and can therefore attack the metallic sole of the iron.

Ironing water

This is usually distilled water with a laundry scent. In theory a good way to kill two birds with one stone. However, some manufacturers warn that the fragrances could be bad for the device.

Water from the dryer

Do you have a dryer that requires you to empty the condensation by hand? Perfect! This is good for ironing. On the one hand, it leads to less limescale deposits, on the other hand, it gives the laundry an additional smell. However, there is often lint residue in the dryer water. So that these cannot clog the iron, the water is filtered with a simple coffee filter. This water should expressly not be used in steam stations.