Buying distilled water is sometimes laziness or a waste of money, and the quality of tap water leaves much to be desired. As a result, scale appears on our household appliances and dishes. This especially applies to irons with a steam generator, where water is constantly boiling. And pollution affects the quality of ironing, yellow stains appear on clothes. Let’s figure out how to clean the steam generator from scale simply and easily.

We will immediately state that the article is about cleaning an iron with a steam generator. If you are looking for how to clean an upright steamer or steam cleaner, this is the link for you. In principle, the cleaning methods are similar, but there are also nuances, since the design of the steam generator and vaporizer is different.

How to clean the steam generator from scale

It is important to know

Irons with a steam generator are a complex structure consisting of:

  • boiler, where water is heated,
  • hoses through which steam is supplied to the iron,
  • directly an iron with a perforated sole, through which steam under pressure is supplied to the outside.

Scale is formed as a result of boiling and settles on the walls of the boiler, less often on the sole of the iron – this indicates the use of dirty water or incorrect operation of the device. It is important that this does not happen, to use only distilled water. Even filtered tap water has impurities that turn into scum when boiled. Everything is the same as in the kettle.

You can understand that the iron is dirty by several signs. If you have the latest brand model, then most likely it is equipped with a special sensor that evaluates the degree of pollution. The device simply stops turning on if the scale has reached a certain volume. If there is no sensor, then over time you may notice that the steam pressure has become weaker or a strange smell has appeared, and this signals that it is time to clean the iron.

Preventive cleaning of the steam generator is mandatory once a month (if you use it regularly). Simple models with steam supply under its own pressure can be cleaned independently.

Models of irons equipped with a pump mechanism cannot be cleaned independently and it is better to take them to the service center once or twice a year.

how to choose a steam generator


An iron with a steam generator can be equipped with an automatic cleaning function. Check the manual for your device, maybe this is your case. Turn this mode on regularly. As a rule, the instructions are similar. It is better to perform all actions in the bathroom or over a large bowl:

  1. distilled water is added to the boiler of the steam generator up to the upper mark,
  2. the mode with the maximum temperature is set,
  3. the iron turns on, but do not use steam, just let the water boil in the boiler, automatic shutdown occurs,
  4. disconnect the steam generator from the mains,
  5. wait 1-2 hours until the water inside cools down,
  6. hold the device over a bath or bowl, shake well,
  7. according to the instructions, open the water drain plug or drain the water in another way provided for this steam generator model,
  8. close the valve
  9. repeat the procedure again 1-2 more times for high-quality washing from scale.

If the iron leaves white or brown marks when ironing, then it’s time to clean the soleplate. Check the manual to see if your steam generator has an automatic soleplate cleaning feature. It is enough to switch the device to the desired mode and iron something until the dirt disappears.


If you haven’t used automatic cleaning for a long time, and it no longer copes with the accumulated scale layer, then it’s time to resort to additional cleaning products. The same applies to devices that are not equipped with a cleaning function. You can clean the steam generator with special purchased means or take a risk, save money and use the advice of housewives.

  • Special anti-scale liquids Anti-scale, GREEN & CLEAN, Philips, Tefal, others. It is best to buy a product of the same brand as your iron with a steam generator. Use according to the instructions. This option is the most effective and safe for the device, and the cost of cleaning gels is low.
  • Citric acid is the most famous and simple remedy for scale. The amount of citric acid is 25 grams per 1 liter of steam generator capacity. First, dissolve a sachet of citric acid in a glass of hot water until it is completely dissolved. Pour the solution into the container of the steam generator and add distilled water to the upper mark. In no case do not pour the powder into the boiler dry, otherwise the crystals can scratch the case and only worsen the situation. Heat the steam generator, leave for 10-15 minutes. Turn on the iron to steam mode. At this time, you need to iron unnecessary fabric. Dirt and scale under the influence of citric acid will dissolve and leave the steam generator with steam. Drain the remaining water. Rinse with clean water.
  • Vinegar. The same effect as from citric acid. Pour a glass of vinegar into the steam generator and turn on the device, release steam. The disadvantage is a strong vinegar smell, which will continue to dissipate from the device and at home for a long time.
  • Mineral Water. Pour mineral water into the boiler, turn on the maximum temperature and wait until all the water boils. Under the influence of mineral salts, scale will move away from the walls of the container. Now pour distilled water and turn on automatic cleaning. A dubious method, since mineral water can, on the contrary, add its own plaque to the already existing scale.
How to clean the steam generator from scale