Steamy Stuff

I’m sorry to disappoint you if you thought the steam in this post was going to be something sexy. How sexy can an iron be? Still, this post is about steam, or, to be more accurate, the lack of it. If you’re a man reading this, you may think this story will be of no interest to you, but you may be wrong. Read on. The “Mr. Fix-it”s among you may be amused (or horrified).

001This steam iron probably looks in fairly good shape, but for a long time, it hasn’t been as steamy as I would like it to be. Thirty years of well water have taken their toll and plugged the little steam outlets with mineral residue.

My husband is an excellent handyman, but he was busy with other things and I thought, “What could be so hard about taking an iron apart, scrubbing off the calcium and iron deposits and putting it back together again?”

I simply want to remove the bottom plate – the “iron” of the iron. I can see two screws holding the back of the housing on, so I take the tiny screwdriver that came with my sewing machine and unscrew them.

Hmm… only the back of the iron comes off but the main housing of the iron still hasn’t come undone.

Ahh! Two more screws inside, holding the main upper part to the bottom part. These are a bit different and have tiny washers, so I set them aside.

Hmm…the “iron” part of the iron isn’t coming away from the top part.

Ahh! Here’s another screw holding the tip of the iron housing on. Take that one off and what do we have?

Hmm…something is still holding the top to the bottom.

Ahh! Two MORE screws, hard to get at, are holding the back of the iron together, right near where all sorts of wires and little tubey things and scary electrical contraptions are squiggling around in a maze. I unscrew these, with difficulty. They are harder to undo and I have to bend the wiring back farther to get at them.

Hmm…I’m having a hard time with these screws and they’re way in there.

Ahh! Maybe I should be wearing my glasses…but I’m almost done.

Hmm…I hope I can remember which screws go where. A little heatwave of worry passes over me.

Ahh! I’ll just bend the top back far enough to see where the holes are plugged up and quickly clean it up.

Hmm… the holes don’t show at this level. There must be more to it. And where does the water go, and what are those little tubes for, and…?

Arrgghh!   I blow a bit of lint out of the iron and admit defeat. Maybe I should just get it back together.

Hmm…Now where do all these screws belong?

Ahh! Here’s a space for two, another space for two more, and one for the front.

Hmm…I hope I didn’t bend back the wiring and the little tubey things too far and wreck something in the intricate works. I plug the iron in and hope I can do that little bit of ironing.

As I wait for the iron to heat up, another heatwave of worry passes over me, and my mind flashes back to my university days and the last time I tried repairing my iron (different iron, many years ago). This one had a frayed electrical cord that was looking unsafe. I had seen my dad wrap electrician’s tape around cords so I knew what to do. I made a few quick wraps around the frayed part of the cord and plugged in the iron, feeling very proud of myself. I didn’t know that you couldn’t just tape the double wires of the cord together.

Just like today, I waited for the iron to heat up. Seconds into the warmup process, a flash of flame blasted out of the electrical outlet and my newly repaired cord was flung about two feet away from the wall. The scariest part (did I tell you I’m afraid of electrical things?) was that a piece of the plug and a few inches of cord were still in the wall.

These are the thoughts going through my mind as I wait for my much more modern iron to heat up. Thankfully it didn’t blow up, but I’ve run out of steam, and I’ve made up my mind to go shopping for a new iron.

28 thoughts on “Steamy Stuff

  1. unpackedwriter

    Fun post. Funny. And, you hooked me! I too am afraid of electrical things and am oft left to repair things–or attempt to, on my own. This was a hoot. A steamy, keep-you-reading kind of hoot! – Renee


  2. Carol Balawyder

    You are brave and this was a very funny post. You know, Anneli, just before reading this post I was thinking that I’d like to add more humor in my posts. Humor is really hard to do. You did a good job, maybe not with the iron but in this piece 🙂


    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Thanks, Carol. I never really thought about humour being hard to do, I kind of grew up with it. My mom always had us laughing at life, no matter how bad things were, so humour is a big part of who I am. Life is easier if you see the funny side of it. I think everyone’s life is full of funny stories, but maybe we don’t always see them that way ourselves. I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog.


  3. shoreacres

    Here you go.
    Put a towel on a heat-safe surface. Put a cookie rack on the towel. Fill the reservoir of your iron with white vinegar, set it on medium steam and put it “face down” on the cookie rack. Keep an eye on it, but let it steam until the vinegar’s all gone. Do it again, and maybe again, until no more white mineral deposits are coming out. Then, run a couple of reservoirs of plain water through it.

    Let the iron cool, then clean off the deposits around the holes with a little brush. Put down some newspaper or brown paper sack, and sprinkle about a quarter cup of salt on it. Rub the cooled iron over the salt until it’s clean. Wipe it off with a damp cloth.

    Then, if you have some waxed paper in the house, tear off a strip about 18″ long and run the iron over it a few times. That will slick it up and make it glide over whatever you’re ironing.



    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I’ll have to give it a try. What have I got to lose? A cup of vinegar maybe. That’s as long as I don’t burn the house down. 😉
      Thanks for taking the time to write this all down!


  4. bulldog

    I clicked post comment by mistake… I enjoyed the humour here and must admit I was waiting for an explosion which never happened… here Irons are fairly cheap .. it is easier to replace than to fix…


    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I think I may try the vinegar just so I can say I tried, but to be honest, I’m worried about the bending I did with the parts.A new iron isn’t all that much…. I’ll have to think about it. That explosion may still happen when I’m not expecting it.


  5. Luanne

    That was hilarious. I loved the “heatwave of worry.” Is that a new way of saying “pricklings of panic”? It so conjured up that feeling I get when I first get ready to panic about something dumb I’ve done (and I’ve done several dumb things this week, so I know).


    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Nice to have company. I kept thinking it was like a hot flash, but I don’t like to put that kind of stuff in my writing (unless I’m writing about menopause, which I don’t do). The old-fashioned part of me hates to see that kind of stuff aired, even though I know times are changing. Sure it’s there, but do we have to shout it from the roof? So I was trying to come up with something that feels about the same. I hadn’t heard the expression, “pricklings of panic,” but I like that one!


  6. Gladys

    I wouldn’t even attempt at taking an iron apart. You almost made it sound like fun. Shoreacres gave a priceless recipe which I will copy into my “Information” folder. Thanks for your story.



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