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Many of you have asked for help finding a non-toxic steam iron. The main concern with steam irons is that several models have non-stick coatings such as Teflon, the best-known brand name for polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). When PTFEs are heated to high temperatures they break down and release toxic chemicals. Some non-stick coatings may be free of PTFEs, but it is very difficult to find out which chemicals the coatings do contain.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to find a safer iron. Most irons have one of three types of soleplates. The soleplate is the bottom of the iron that comes into contact with your clothes. The most common types of soleplates are stainless steel, ceramic, and titanium. Stainless steel soleplates are the preferred type because they do not have non-stick coatings.

Many top-rated steam irons have stainless steel plates but there are pros and cons of using them. The advantages are durability, good heat conduction, even heat distributions and ease of maintenance. The main complaint with stainless steel soleplates is that they can cause sticking of glue or decals on their surface. Additionally, they can melt silk or other lightweight fabrics when used on a high setting.

The following stainless steel irons are highly rated on Amazon. Don’t be confused if some manufacturers refer to their stainless steel soleplates as non-stick. This does not mean that it has a chemical coating. It simply refers to the inherent non-stick property of the metal surface. I confirmed with each of the manufacturers below that they do not use non-stick coatings on their stainless steel models.

Rowenta DW5080 1700-Watt Micro Steam Iron 
Look for the model made in Germany.  Readers report leaking from the model made in China.
Pur Steam Professional Grade 1700-Watt Steam Iron .
Hamilton Beach Steam Iron with Retractable Cord (14881)
Maytag M400 Steam Iron 
Sunbeam Steam Master 

Ironing board covers can also be treated with PTFEs. Here is an untreated, 100% cotton cover.

Unfortunately, none of these options will make ironing more fun…just healthier!

Sources:
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency 2018, Are you cooking with these? Cookware considerations., accessed 29 July 2019, http://www.pca.state.mn.us/featured/are-you-cooking-these-cookware-considerations.
IronsExpert 2017, Clothing Iron’s Sole Plate Types — Ceramic vs Stainless vs Titanium, accessed 29 July 2019, http://medium.com/@ironsexpert/steam-iron-soleplate-types-ceramic-stainless-titanium-62c60efefe7c.

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