how to descale steam generator iron

How to Descale a Steam Generator Iron

To keep your iron operating at its best, you need to learn how to descale a steam generator iron the quick and easy way. It only takes a couple of minutes, but it improves your iron’s performance and helps to prolong its life.

Using pressurised steam from a steam generator iron is the fastest way to remove the most stubborn wrinkles from all types of fabric, ensuring your ironing chore is over in no time. But as the steam is emitted, it leaves behind traces of minerals that if left untreated, can damage the steam generator’s mechanism.

Descaling a Steam Generator Iron

Once you’ve mastered the art of how to descale a steam generator iron by following these easy steps, it’s a routine you should perform regularly to prevent your iron from accumulating limescale deposits and keep your ironing sessions running smoothly.

the model used in this cleaning guide is the Philips GC9630 PerfectCare Elite which includes a De-Calc indicator to remind you that it’s time to descale.

How to descale a Steam Generator Iron

  1. The iron needs to be completely cold, so if you’ve just unplugged it, you’ll have to wait a couple of hours before starting the descaling process.
  2. Sit the iron near the end of the ironing board and position a small bowl beneath the knob marked Easy De-Calc.
  3. Turn the knob anti-clockwise to allow the water and any debris to run into the bowl.
  4. Once the chamber is empty, replace the knob and make sure it’s secure.
  5. Carry on ironing!

When to descale a Steam Generator Iron

In general, descaling should take place at no more than twelve-week intervals. However, if you’re in a hard water area where mineral deposits are much higher or you can’t resist ironing frequently, try to descale every four to six weeks.

If you leave descaling for more than three months, limescale deposits usually harden and make removal even more difficult.

Why descaling is needed

Natural mineral deposits such as calcium and limescale become part of our water supply after rain has run through the landscape and into the reservoirs.

Some counties of the UK such as East Anglia, Lincolnshire and the East Midlands have particularly hard water, a term used to describe a high concentration of mineral deposits.

The soft water of the north and the west usually contains fewer minerals. Limescale appears as a chalky residue and if it’s allowed to build up inside your steam generator iron, it forms a hard coating that is difficult to remove.

It can be particularly troublesome if it attaches itself to the holes where steam is released, resulting in a loss of performance and visible staining on items of clothing when you try to iron.

Steam generator cleaning tips

It’s not just limescale that’s your iron’s worst enemy, but hazards such as brown stains on the soleplate and green algae flourishing in the water tank. Here are some useful tips on how to keep your steam generator iron clean and in good working order.

  1. Prevent green algae – Empty the water tank after use and store the iron out of sunlight, preferably in a cupboard.
  2. Clean steam vents – Dip a cotton bud in a water and vinegar solution and use it to clean the holes.
  3. Eliminate brown stains – Mix a paste from equal parts of salt and vinegar, then use it to clean sticky patches from the soleplate.
  4. Remove accumulated limescale – Half fill the water reservoir with vinegar, then use a medium heat setting until it has evaporated. Rinse thoroughly.

Steam Generator Iron Cleaning FAQ

Can I use normal tap water in my steam generator iron?

Philips recommends using normal tap water with this steam generator iron, just ensure you follow the simple descaling steps above – within the recommended period.

Why is brown water leaking from the vents of my iron?

It can be through a build-up of rusty iron deposits in the water.

Will using ironing water/perfume water be beneficial to my steam generator iron?

The use of perfumed ironing water or fabric softener in the water tank is not recommended as the chemicals they contain can adhere to the iron and damage it.

Why is the light still flashing after my iron has been descaled?

If it’s issuing another alert, it means the descaling process needs to be repeated.

Summing up

A steam generator iron is a great help in tackling large piles of crumpled clothes quickly and efficiently. However, an irritating side effect is the accumulation of minerals that can hinder the effectiveness of your iron unless they are regularly removed.

By following our useful tips on descaling, it should be easy to keep your steam generator iron clean, allowing it to provide many years of good service.

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