I can't tell you how many projects I have ruined or almost ruined because of a dirty iron. The ONLY thing I have found to clean them is Iron-off. You put about a 1/2 teaspoon (in a line) on an old dish towel. Then rub your hot iron on the goo - for quite awhile, back and forth really hard. You will be surprised how much dirt comes off the iron and onto the towel!