Why Does My Steam Iron Smell? (& How To Stop It)

Imagine this: It’s a Sunday morning, and you’re ironing your favorite shirt for a brunch outing. Suddenly, an unpleasant odor wafts up, leaving you wrinkling your nose. No, it’s not the shirt; it’s the iron!

If you’ve ever wondered, “Why does my iron smell?” you’re not alone. This mystery has bugged many an iron-wielding individual. Let’s dive into the heart of this issue and see if we can get to the bottom of it.

The Usual Suspects:

Why does my iron smell?
  1. Water Quality: Often, the water you fill in the iron’s reservoir might be the culprit. Tap water contains minerals, and over time, these minerals can build up, leading to a metallic or musty odor.
  2. Starch and Fabric Softeners: If you’re using starch or fabric softeners, remnants can stick to the iron’s plate. When heated, these remnants can produce a slightly burnt or off-putting smell.
  3. Mold and Mildew: If water is left in the iron for extended periods, it can lead to mold or mildew growth, which has a distinct unpleasant smell.
  4. Burnt Fabric: Accidentally setting the iron temperature too high and scorching a piece of clothing can leave burnt residue on the iron plate, causing a smoky odor the next time you use it.

Quick Solutions to Try:

  • Regular Cleaning: Just as you’d clean other appliances, your iron needs some TLC too. Regularly clean the plate with a mixture of white vinegar and salt or a commercial iron cleaner.
  • Use Distilled Water: Instead of tap water, fill your iron with distilled water. This can significantly reduce mineral build-up.
  • Empty After Use: Always empty the water reservoir after ironing to prevent mold and mildew.
  • Check Temperature Settings: Ensure you’re using the right temperature for the fabric to avoid burning and subsequent smelly aftermaths.

It’s not just about the smell; a clean iron also ensures smooth gliding and better performance. So, next time you catch a whiff of something odd while ironing, don’t just grimace and bear it. Investigate, clean, and ensure your ironing sessions remain a breath of fresh air.

< class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/>

Exploring the Top Culprits: From New Iron Smells to That Pesky Burning Scent

We’ve all been there. You’re humming along to your favorite tune, iron in hand, when suddenly an all-too-familiar burnt aroma fills the air. You’re left sniffing and inspecting your precious clothes, praying they haven’t been ruined.

But what’s behind this burnt scent that seems to haunt our ironing sessions? Let’s decode this olfactory puzzle.

Exploring the Top Culprits: From New Iron Smells to That Pesky Burning Scent

The Key Offenders:

  1. New Iron Syndrome: Yep, new irons can have a specific “new” smell. It’s often due to manufacturing residues or protective coatings applied to the iron. This smell usually dissipates after a few uses.
  2. Synthetic Fibers: Materials like polyester can easily melt if the iron’s temperature is set too high. This not only damages the fabric but also leaves a lingering burnt plastic smell.
  3. Old Water Residue: If you’re someone who doesn’t empty the iron’s reservoir after each use, old water can heat up and produce a burnt aroma, even if it doesn’t have mold or mildew.
  4. Dirt and Dust: Sometimes, the culprit is as simple as accumulated dirt or dust on the iron’s plate. When heated, it can produce an acrid smell.
  5. Starchy Remnants: Just like our smelly iron mystery, starch can leave behind residue. When this residue gets too hot, hello burnt aroma!

Tried and Tested Fixes:

  • First-Time Use: If your iron is new, consider ironing some scrap fabric first. This helps get rid of the “new iron” smell faster.
  • Fabric Care: Always check the fabric’s care label and adjust the iron’s temperature accordingly. This ensures you don’t accidentally melt those synthetic fibers.
  • Regular Maintenance: Clean the iron’s plate with a mixture of baking soda and water to remove dirt, dust, or any burnt remnants.
  • Stay Alert: Pay attention while ironing. It sounds simple, but sometimes we get distracted, and before we know it, there’s a burnt patch on our favorite shirt.

Deciphering the cause behind that burnt aroma can save not only your nostrils but also your cherished wardrobe pieces. An ounce of prevention, or in this case, a moment of attention, can make all the difference.

< class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/>

Reasons Behind the Odd Fish-Like Odor

Picture this: You’re in the middle of a peaceful ironing session when suddenly, your nostrils are assaulted by a smell that can only be described as…fishy. It’s enough to make you wonder if your cat dragged in a surprise or if someone’s cooking seafood in the kitchen. But no, it’s coming from your steam iron. Bizarre, right? Well, let’s dive into this fishy mystery.

Reasons Behind the Odd Fish-Like Odor

The Usual Suspects:

  1. Water Quality: If your tap water is rich in minerals or has impurities, it can sometimes produce a fishy smell when heated. Sulphur compounds in water are often the culprits.
  2. Cast Iron Elements: Some steam irons use cast iron as a part of their internal components. Under specific conditions, these can produce a seafood-like scent, especially if they react with certain minerals in the water.
  3. Residue from Clothes: Sometimes, residues from certain detergents, fabric softeners, or even clothes that had contact with seafood can leave behind that fishy aroma.
  4. Mold and Mildew: Let’s face it, damp environments are a breeding ground for mold and mildew. If your iron’s reservoir isn’t emptied and dried after use, these pesky fungi can grow and produce a fishy or musty odor.

The Cast Iron and Seafood Connection:

Cast iron, being a naturally reactive metal, can sometimes interact with sulphur compounds or other minerals in water. This reaction can produce a range of scents, with the fishy aroma being one of the more surprising outcomes. It’s a quirk of chemistry and not something most of us would associate with our trusty steam iron.

Quick Solutions:

  • Use Distilled Water: By using distilled or demineralized water, you reduce the chances of any fishy smells emanating from your iron.
  • Regular Cleaning: A mixture of white vinegar and water can be used to clean the iron’s reservoir, helping to eliminate any mold, mildew, or residue.
  • Check Your Detergents: If you’ve recently switched laundry products, consider testing another brand to see if the smell persists.
  • Ventilation: Ensure that your ironing area is well-ventilated. This helps disperse any odd odors more quickly.

In the end, a fishy smelling iron is more of an oddity than a calamity. With a little knowledge and some proactive measures, you can ensure your ironing sessions remain a breath of fresh air. Keep on ironing, and remember: if it smells fishy, it’s time for a little detective work!

< class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/>

Iron Smells Like Mildew: Causes and Fixes

Oh boy! Nothing t ows off your ironing groove like a sudden waft of that musty, basement-like scent. You’re probably wondering how your trusty steam iron, a tool of cleanliness, can produce such an unpleasant odor. Don’t fret; you’re not alone in this smelly conundrum.

Iron Smells Like Mildew: Causes and Fixes

Why It Happens:

  1. Leftover Water: If you’re not emptying the water reservoir after each use, stagnant water can become a playground for mold and mildew, leading to that all-too-familiar musty scent.
  2. Fabric Residue: Leftover starches, fabric softeners, or even previously ironed damp clothing can contribute to the growth of mold and mildew inside the iron.
  3. Infrequent Cleaning: If you’re not regularly cleaning the inside of your iron, those unwanted guests (mold and mildew) will happily set up shop.

Handy Fixes:

  • Regular Emptying: Always empty the water reservoir after each ironing session. It’s a small habit that can make a big difference.
  • White Vinegar Solution: Fill the iron with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Set it to steam and let it run until half the solution is gone. Empty and rinse with distilled water.
  • Store Properly: Ensure your iron is completely dry before storing it. This helps prevent any moisture build-up.
  • Consider a Commercial Cleaner: There are several iron-cleaning products available that can help in removing mildew and other residues.

With maintenance and care, you can keep your steam iron smelling fresh and ready for action! So, next time you catch a whiff of something off, you’ll know just what to do.

< class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/>

The Art of Cleaning a Clogged Steam Iron Inside

Ah, the steam iron. A trusty tool, until it starts spitting out dirty water and odd smells. Here’s how to give its insides a thorough clean.

The Art of Cleaning a Clogged Steam Iron Inside

The Culprits:

  1. Hard Water Deposits: If you’re using tap water, mineral deposits can build up inside, causing clogs.
  2. Starch Residue: Regularly ironing starchy clothes can leave a residue that builds up over time.

Clean It Up:

  • Vinegar Magic: Fill the reservoir with equal parts white vinegar and water. Turn on the steam setting and let it steam away half the mixture. Empty, rinse with distilled water, and you’re good to go!
  • Store Upright: To avoid any leftover water from sitting and causing issues, always store your iron in an upright position.
< class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/>

Proper Care to Prevent Iron Odor in the First Place

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? Here’s how to keep those odors at bay from the get-go.

Proper Care to Prevent Iron Odor in the First Place

Also see: Introducing Braun’s Carestyle 7 Pro: The Ultimate Ironing Solution

Stay Proactive:

  • Empty After Use: Always empty the water reservoir of your steam iron after each use.
  • Use Distilled Water: Avoid mineral buildup by using distilled or purified water in your steam iron.
  • Regular Checks: Every once in a while, inspect your iron and cast iron skillet for any signs of rust or wear. Addressing small issues early can prevent bigger problems down the road.

So there you have it! With a bit of routine care and the right cleaning techniques, you can keep your irons (both the cooking and clothing kind) in tip-top shape and smelling fresh.

< class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/>

Using Scented Water for Steam Irons: Dos and Don’ts

Alright, pal, let’s talk scented water. Who doesn’t want their freshly ironed clothes to smell like a field of lavender or a tropical paradise? But before you dive in, here’s the scoop on the dos and don’ts.

Using Scented Water for Steam Irons: Dos and Don'ts

Also see: Ironing Chinos: The Great Debate – To Iron or Not to Iron


  1. Opt for Natural Scents: Always go for naturally derived scents to avoid any chemical reactions with your iron or clothes.
  2. Test a Small Area First: Before going all out, test a small, hidden area of your garment to ensure there’s no discoloration or reaction.


  • Skip Essential Oils: These might seem like a good idea, but they can cause build-up in your iron and even stain clothes.
  • Avoid Strong Scents: Overpowering fragrances can linger and clash with your personal perfume or cologne.
< class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/>

Steam Iron Fragrance Liquid: A New Trend?

Move over, plain water! Fragrance liquids designed specifically for steam irons are making waves. They’re crafted to be safe for irons, clothes, and they give your garments a delightful whiff.

Dive In:

  • What’s in it?: These liquids often contain distilled water and a light fragrance, ensuring no mineral build-up or damage to your iron.
  • Where to Find: Most home goods or appliance stores will have a section dedicated to these. Just look for “Steam Iron Fragrance” or something similar.
< class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/>

Can You Put Perfume in Your Iron? Exploring Myths and Facts

Okay, so maybe you’ve heard your friend’s cousin’s neighbor say they put their favorite perfume in their iron. But is it a good idea?

Can You Put Perfume in Your Iron? Exploring Myths and Facts

The Myth:

  • “It Makes Clothes Smell Amazing!”: While this might be true initially, the alcohol and other compounds in perfumes can damage both your iron and clothes over time.

The Facts:

  • Alcohol and Heat: The alcohol in perfume can react adversely with the high heat of an iron, leading to potential garment damage.
  • Clogged Iron: Perfumes aren’t designed for iron reservoirs, and using them can lead to clogging and malfunction.

So, while it’s tempting to smell like your signature scent straight off the ironing board, it’s best to spray your perfume directly on your skin or clothes after ironing.

< class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/>

Tips to Make Ironing Smell Nice

Ironing doesn’t just have to be about getting those wrinkles out. Imagine your clothes not only looking fresh but smelling divine too! So, buddy, let’s dive into some cool ways to make your ironing session a fragrant affair.

Tips to Make Ironing Smell Nice

Freshen Up with Dryer Sheets:

  • How?: Place a dryer sheet under your garment while ironing. The heat will release the scent, leaving your clothes smelling fresh.

Use DIY Scented Water:

  • How?: Mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil (like lavender or eucalyptus) with distilled water. Pour it into a spray bottle and spritz lightly on your clothes before ironing.

Store with Care:

  • How?: Once ironed, store your clothes with sachets filled with dried flowers or herbs. This not only keeps them smelling lovely but also keeps those pesky moths away.
< class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/>

Scented Ironing Water: A Luxurious Touch or a Necessity?

Alright, let’s talk about the latest craze in the ironing world – scented ironing water. Is it just a fancy add-on or something you genuinely need? Let’s break it down.

Scented Ironing Water: A Luxurious Touch or a Necessity?

The Luxe Factor:

  • A Spa for Your Clothes: Using scented ironing water feels like you’re giving your clothes a spa treatment. It’s that luxurious touch that makes ironing feel less like a chore.
  • Diverse Scents: From rose to lemon to sandalwood, there’s a scent for every mood. So, you can switch it up depending on how you feel!

The Necessity Angle:

  • Long-Lasting Freshness: Unlike regular water, scented ironing water can leave your clothes smelling fresh for days.
  • Safe for Clothes and Iron: These waters are often formulated to be safe for both your garments and your iron, ensuring longevity for both.
  • Mood Booster: Believe it or not, scents can influence our mood. Ironing with a calming lavender or an energizing citrus can make the task more enjoyable.

To wrap it up, whether you’re looking for that luxurious touch or a practical solution to keep your clothes smelling lovely, there’s a steamy solution out there for you.

< class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/>

FAQ Corner: Ironing Out Your Queries

Let’s dive into some of the most burning (pun intended!) questions about ironing and steam cleaning. Grab your iron, and let’s get those queries flattened out!

FAQ Corner: Ironing Out Your Queries

1. Does Steam Cleaning Clothes Remove Odor?

Answer: Absolutely! Steam cleaning can be a real game-changer when it comes to getting rid of odors. The hot steam helps to kill bacteria that cause bad smells. So, if your clothes have a slight funk to them, steam cleaning is like giving them a mini spa day. Just remember, steam cleaning won’t replace a good ol’ wash for heavily soiled items.

2. Can I Put Fabric Softener in My Steam Iron?

Answer: Hold up there, partner! It’s a big no-no. Fabric softeners can clog the steam vents and leave a sticky residue on the iron plate. If you’re aiming for softer clothes, use the softener during your wash cycle. For a nice scent while ironing, consider scented ironing water or a DIY solution with essential oils.

3. How to Clean Iron Plate with Salt?

Answer: You’re onto a nifty trick! Cleaning an iron plate with salt is like giving your iron a mini facial. Here’s a quick step-by-step:

  • Step 1: Warm up the iron on its lowest setting.
  • Step 2: Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on a piece of parchment paper or a cotton cloth.
  • Step 3: Gently rub the warm iron over the salt. The salt will act as a gentle abrasive, helping to lift any residue or gunk.
  • Step 4: Wipe the iron plate clean with a soft cloth. Voilà! Your iron is ready for action.

Best In Footwear.

Hey Don't Forget About Your Feet! Click the image above - for an entire resource dedicated to the best footwear finds and advice!