After my post yesterday, one of our readers, David, emailed with a helpful note saying any good iron should have a self-cleaning setting. You should use the feature about once a month. Another reader, JT, noted that some irons, like the Rowenta I pictured, should not be used with distilled water. I Googled the manual and apparently the company recommends bottled spring water. Probably always best to check your own users’ manual.
Jesse also sent me this link, which covers almost anything and everything you’d want to know about ironing, including how to clean your machines. It’s from a book that he’s recommended before, and after reading a few pages, I’m convinced that I need to get my own copy. Seriously, take a look at the link he sent - the section alone on ironing is probably enough to make you a world’s expert on the subject. DealOz shows a bunch of sites that will sell you a copy for about $10.