I have spent a large chunk of this morning attempting to clean my workroom iron. Even though it's nearly 4 years old, I still think of it as my 'new' iron, and can well remember the frisson of excitement when I first bought it.
Indeed I was so excited I wrote a blog post about it. If you are even remotely interested in a blog post about a new iron (and why wouldn't you be?) you can read it HERE.
So anyway, my workroom iron has to cope with a lot..... glue, iron-on Vilene, Bondaweb, and a bewildering array of fabrics, from pure silks through to organdie ribbon. Most materials I use are extremely fine and delicate, and therefore require a very low temperature. However, occasionally I have to whack up the heat in order to smooth out a particularly obstinate piece of fabric, and it was while I was doing just that, that the non-stick pad which is wrapped around my square ironing board, melted completely onto the non-stick surface of my iron.
I'm no expert on non-stick surfaces. I don't know what they're made of or what complicated molecular polymer chains are needed to give them the requisite properties. However, I do know that I expect them to be non-stick.
Just to clarify.....my definition of 'non-stick' is that it doesn't stick to anything and nothing sticks to it.
I'm tending to give the benefit of the doubt to the iron. Despite the fact that it was instrumental in causing the initial gooey, sticky mess which the non-stick ironing pad transformed into, with just one light touch. It's an iron. It's meant to get hot.
My full wrath was reserved for the ironing pad. It surely should be capable of withstanding the heat of a hot iron. Nowhere on the original packaging did it say "Only suitable for extremely low temperature ironing". It's an ironing board cover. It's meant to be ironed on.
Not only did it melt onto the soleplate of my iron, it also stuck thoroughly onto the board, necessitating me going at it with a screwdriver and Stanley knife to get the rock-hard stuff off.
After that I couldn't face tackling the iron, so left it to cool down completely before assessing the damage. At first, some of the melted pad did peel off quite easily, but my initial delight soon turned to frustration as most of it seemed to have transmogrified into a completely new-to-science material which had apparently melded itself INTO the metal.
I started off gently, with a non-scratch sponge scourer and a minuscule amount of non-scratch cream cleaner which made not a jot of difference. I then graduated to a wire scourer and a more generous application of cream cleaner. Finally I took to hacking at the hardened, blackened gunge with a selection of tools which were most definitely NOT non-scratch.... scalpel blades, pokey needle tool thing, screwdrivers, even coarse sandpaper.
After over an hour I have eventually managed to chip off the worst of it, but the iron will probably never be the same again.
I've accepted that I may have to replace the iron, depending on how it performs with some fine silk ribbon later. However I most definitely need to replace the ironing pad, preferably one made with a non-melting, properly non-stick, fit for purpose fabric.