How to Clean an Iron with Toothpaste

Toothpaste works surprisingly well for cleaning a steam iron’s soleplate because it contains the necessary cleaning agents as well as tiny abrasives required to clean our teeth.

You can use regular or teeth-whitening toothpaste and even denture paste will work. It’s completely safe and won’t damage your iron because it’s designed to be gentle enough for your teeth and gums. It’ll remove dirt and grime very easily without causing any scratches on your soleplate.

The bad news is that, if your iron has burn marks or rust, you may need much more than toothpaste to get the job done right. If you’ve tried toothpaste and it hasn’t worked, check out our other ways to clean an iron soleplate.

How to Clean an Iron’s Soleplate With Toothpaste

  1. Unplug the Iron
  2. Empty the water tank
  3. Make sure the soleplate is cooled down completely
  4. Squeeze half an inch of toothpaste directly onto the dirty area (teeth-whitening toothpaste works best)
  5. Add a tiny amount of water
  6. Gently scrub the area with an old toothbrush (use a circular motion as this gently “drags” the bristles over the plate)
  7. You can add some pressure if needed, but don’t let the plastic brush handle scratch the soleplate
  8. Regularly wipe away the toothpaste to assess if the results are improving
  9. If it hasn’t cleaned the plate 100%, you may need to try some stronger methods
  10. Once you’re done, rinse the iron under a small stream of running water and wipe it down completely
  11. Fill the iron and set it too high heat as you press the steam burst button several times to ensure all the steam holes are cleared of any toothpaste residue
  12. One last wipe to remove any debris and you’re done!

Why Does it Work?

I read this study so you don’t have to.

Basically, toothpaste contains something called chemical “chelants” which reacts with the dirt on a molecular level. It also has tiny particulate abrasives like precipitated silica (basically rock powder) and other ingredients, which are designed to gently “scrub” your teeth clean. Teeth whitening toothpaste has a slightly more abrasive and works really well.


The toothpaste will inadvertently and unavoidably enter the steam holes. Because of the silica that could build-up and clog the steam holes during brushing, be sure to eject several bursts of steam when done to remove every possible bit of toothpaste out of them.

Another problem is that you could void your manufacturer’s warranty. Most specifically state that your iron must be cleaned or descaled in accordance with their instructions… this does not include toothpaste.

But, if you’re not overly concerned with warranties and other “legal” issues, the process is 100% safe and works like a charm. Good luck!