Tragically, Not Every Day is Pi Day!


Dear Mary: Thanks so much for including the San Francisco Exploratorium in a recent column! We have changed our schedule of free days and are no longer free to the public on the first Wednesday of every month. However, the Exploratorium is free to everyone five days every year. Our Free Access Program includes these upcoming free days:

  • Mother’s Day (May 11, 2014)
  • Engineering Day (September 28, 2014)
  • Founder’s Day (October 12, 2014)
  • Groundhog Day (February 2, 2015)
  • Pi Day (March 14, 2015)

- Thanks! Jenny Slafkosky, Communications Manager


Dear Jenny: Thanks for the update. You had me going there for a few minutes with “Pi Day.” I was kinda’ hoping for cherry or apple, but then connected the date 3.14 with the mathematical pi. Now that is clever and a new bit of trivia I’m going to file away. As for “Founder’s Day,” should we assume that our buddy Christopher Columbus has been demoted to anonymous founder?

Dear Mary: I’m sure you must have an easy way to clean the soleplate of my iron.

I ironed a dark colored article of clothing with too hot of an iron, I guess, and the soleplate now has dark sticky junk stuck on tight. I tried cleaning it with white vinegar and that didn’t help at all.  I also tried rubbing it with with a damp cloth and baking powder. Didn’t do it either. Please help! Thanks much. Kathy M.

Dear Kathy: It sounds to me as if you may have ironed a synthetic fabric like polyester that turned into molten plastic upon contact with that way-too-hot iron! To remove it you’re going to need some kind of abrasive. Try this: Dampen a towel you don’t mind sacrificing for the job. Now sprinkle a good bit of table salt on that damp cloth. Turn the iron up to the highest temperature (no steam) and go to work “ironing” the salted towel. That should loosen the gunk without damaging the soleplate so that you can wipe it off and then buff the soleplate with a clean cloth. If that doesn’t work, don’t despair. you’ll need to purchase a commercial iron cleaner like Faultless Hot Iron Cleaner. It’s a miraculous cleaner for more challenging situations like you describe, but I also use it to maintain the smooth glide of my iron.  If you don’t want to get it online, you should be able to find it in larger fabric stores.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • janet

    Mary, I’ve had great success cleaning the soleplate of my iron with one of those eraser cleaning pads.

  • Bevjmo

    Mary,I work in a fabric shop & I got some fusible web on my iron recently – tough stuff!! i useddryer sheets to remove it.. Holy cow, it worked so well! Turn your iron to cotton setting and when hot – iron, iron, iron pressing down hard. It all came off! Once I was out of dryer sheets and poured some liquid fab softener on a damp paper towel – that worked, also! No abrasives needed. Seriously, give it a try!!! Love you and your tips, Mary!