How To Get Rid of Algae in Your Steam Iron? (& Mold)

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How Can I Get Rid of Algae in My Steam Iron?

Cleaning is an integral part of maintaining our possessions. For example, if you have a steam iron, you may have noticed brown stuff on it or coming out of it, and now you want to know how to get rid of it. Well, look no further; the answers are here!

To remove algae from your steam iron, mix distilled vinegar 50/50 with distilled water and scrub out the iron reservoir and surface. Another option includes mixing baking soda, lemon juice, salt, and vinegar and scrubbing to remove corrosion. 

The rest of this article will detail other topics related to this subject in great detail, including how to clean your steam iron and whether or not you can descale a steam generator iron.

How Do You Clean Mold Out of a Steam Iron?

Steam irons are the best for terminating wrinkles, and the gentle spray applied to fabrics makes them easy to use. However, if you fail to properly clean and maintain the water reservoir in your steam iron, mold, mildew, and algae can grow.

To clean mold out of a steam iron, mix vinegar with distilled water in a 1:1 ratio and use this solution to fill your iron’s reservoir. Scrub the outside of the iron using a soft cloth diluted with vinegar solution.   

Mold, algae, and hard mineral scale from tap water can be a recurring problem in places with lots of water exposure, such as your steam iron.  Thus, consistent cleaning is key to maintaining the longevity and integrity of this tool.

If you notice mold or anything else that looks suspicious growing either in your steam iron reservoir or on the iron’s surface, follow the steps outlined below to eradicate the problem:

  1. Gather your supplies. You’ll need your steam iron, distilled white vinegar, a soft, clean, dry cloth. You’ll also need filtered water. While you can use tap water, I prefer distilled water for my steam iron because distilled water won’t leave hard mineral deposits like tap water can. Unfortunately, hard mineral deposits also have the potential to clog your iron.
  2. Mix your cleaning solution. Once you’ve gathered the necessary supplies, you’ll want to make your vinegar mix. First, pour equal parts white vinegar with equal parts distilled water. Then, pour the solution into your iron’s reservoir.
  3. Steam out the solution. Now that your iron is filled with the vinegar solution, set it upright and turn it on. You want to let the iron produce steam for about 5 minutes. The vinegar will go through the steam pores, killing mold on the inside of the iron.
  4. Remove the liquid. After the 5 minutes pass, let the iron cool entirely and drain all the vinegar water out of the reservoir. Some bits of gunk may come out with the water, which is a sign that this method is working.
  5. Wipe the exterior. Then, using leftover vinegar solution or making more, you’ll want to dip your clean cloth into the mixture and use it to clean the outside surface of your iron. You want to clear away dirt, grime, and anything else that might make a lovely home for mold. Remember to wait for this step until the iron is completely cool to prevent burning yourself.
  6. Rinse the iron reservoir. After you have scrubbed all the debris off of the iron’s surface, you’ll want to refill the reservoir with regular distilled water, set it upright, and turn it on for another 5 minutes or so. This will rinse out the vinegar from your iron so that it’s clean and ready for future use!

After the 5 minutes goes by, drain the reservoir again. The last step in the cleaning process is optional and depends on what type of iron you have.

Some steam irons have filters. If yours is one of them, you’ll want to replace the filter after a bout of mold. If you don’t, the pesky fungus will only come back again.

Remember to clean your iron regularly to prevent this buildup from accumulating in the future.  Some irons have special cleaning instructions that come with the device. If yours does, follow the prescribed instructions.

If you’re not sure how to perform regular maintenance on your iron, check out this YouTube video to see a tutorial.

Why Is Brown Stuff Coming Out of My Steam Iron?

Brown isn’t a color that reminds you of cleanliness, especially when brown gunk comes out of your steam iron. Sometimes it seems like this gri8me comes out of nowhere, primarily if you use your steam iron frequently.

The brown stuff coming out of your steam iron is typically caused by iron deposits or organic material in the hard water used to fill the reservoir. If this is occurring with your steam iron, you need to deeply clean the device and stop using tap water to fill it. 

While brown liquid seeping out of your steam iron and deposits don’t always mean that hard water and iron buildup are the cause, they’re the most likely culprits.

If you iron regularly, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that occasionally all steam irons spit and leak water from the steam vents. The worst thing, though, is when the water they leak is brown and ruins freshly laundered clothes.

This spitting and leaking is usually a result of mineral deposits in the water that you use to fill the reservoir. The minerals build up inside the iron and clog the steam pores. This accumulation of hard minerals will prevent an even stream of steam from coming out of the iron.

The mineral buildup typically occurs when you use the wrong kind of water to fill your iron.  Remember in the previous section of this article when I advised you not to use tap water in your iron? Yup, this is why. Tap water isn’t great for irons because it causes these issues.

Read my section above to clean your iron if this happens to you. Equal parts vinegar and distilled water should do the trick to remove the corrosion!

If you can, you should always use distilled or bottled water for your iron. It helps keep it running well and avoids gross buildups. Check out this article from Hunker for more maintenance tips.


Steam irons are great for removing stubborn wrinkles from your clothes, but a dirty iron can be unsightly and stain your clothes with mineral deposits, mold, and algae.

Remember that the best type of water to use in your steamer is free of minerals. So, I use distilled water to prevent clogs and buildups of mold, iron, and minerals.

If you need to clean out the mold, algae, or other corrosive materials from your iron, use equally distilled white vinegar and filtered water to get the job done!


You may also be interested in… Is Rowenta A Good Brand For Steam Irons and Is Beautural A Good Brand (Steam Iron, Fabric Steamer & Shavers)