Why is my iron not heating up?


A cold iron is no use at all. It can be easier just to buy a replacement, but in some cases the problem can be easily fixed. Follow the guide below to see if you can get it working again.

Check the iron's settings


Most irons come with an adjustable temperature gauge - this is so that you can use hotter settings for 'Linen' and 'Cotton' items, than for pressing synthetic materials or delicate fabrics.

  • Consult the iron's manual - does your iron have an 'auto-off' safety setting? Make sure the iron hasn't turned off
  • Move the temperature dial up to the warmest setting; it may be turned down too low
  • Wait for a few moments and then try ironing the garment again

Plug the iron into a different socket


  • Your electrical socket may have blown. Try plugging the iron into a different outlet
  • Check your household fuse box, to see if a fuse has blown
  • If your iron is still cold, check the iron's on/off light - is this illuminated? If the power socket works but the iron's light doesn't, the heating element has burnt out. Heating elements aren't worth fixing - if this has shorted then you will need a replacement iron
  • Using an extension cable? Try plugging the iron directly into the wall socket - the extension cord may have malfunctioned

Check for an empty reservoir


Irons use steam to remove creases and kinks. If the water tank is empty, the iron won't work properly.

  • Switch the iron off and leave it to cool down
  • Switch it back on again, top up the water level, and try again

Clean the iron's water reservoir


  • Empty the reservoir and fill it at least a quarter full with white vinegar. Plug the iron into the mains and set it to 'steam' mode. Once hot, run the iron over a clean cloth until the iron's metal surface is clean of deposits. This needs to be done regularly to keep the iron in good working condition - especially if you live in a hard water area.
  • Not sure if you live in a hard water area? Contact your water supplier to be sure!

Check for limescale deposits on the soleplate


The soleplate is the iron's flat, metal surface. If the soleplate vents become clogged with limescale, the iron won't heat or produce steam properly.

  • Switch off the iron at the plug, and leave it to cool down
  • Once cool, turn the iron over and inspect the soleplate. Look for crusty deposits covering the soleplate vents
  • If the deposits are covering the steam vents, this may account for your ironing problem. Wipe the soleplate using a cool, damp cloth which has been dipped in a pot of white vinegar

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