How to Clean a Hair Straightener/Flat Iron


Mary-Lou asked: How can I clean a hair straightener. It has build up from hair spray and other hair products. Thank you.

Build up on your curling or flat irons can occur from styling products, residue from shampoos/conditioners and oils in your hair. Not only is it bad for your iron, it can snag your hair and cause breakage and split ends. Follow these simple steps to clean away the build up and maintain a clean iron.

You Will Need:

Steps to Clean the Iron:

  1. Begin by turning the iron off and unplugging it.
  2. While it is still warm, moisten a cloth with water. You want it to be wet, but not dripping.
  3. Rub the moist cloth over the surfaces to remove as much of the build up as possible. Use caution not to burn your hands. The heat will penetrate quickly through the wet cloth.
  4. To remove the remaining residue, spray the iron cleaner onto the surfaces.
  5. Wipe them clean with a clean, soft cloth.
  6. If no cleaner is available, moisten a soft cloth with rubbing alcohol.
  7. Rub the cloth over the surface.
  8. Follow this with a cloth moistened with water.
  9. Repeat as necessary. It may take several cleanings to remove severe build up.
  10. Allow the iron to dry completely before plugging it back in to use.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • The heated surfaces of irons are made from a variety of materials. Before applying any cleaning product, ensure that it is safe for your particular material.
  • For daily maintenance, wipe the iron down with a cloth moistened with water after each use. This will remove a majority of the oils and residue that collects on the surface. Then, give you iron a thorough cleaning as necessary.
  • A clean iron will “glide” through your hair as it is intended to do.
  • Never submerse an iron in water as it can cause permanent damage.
  • If there is any residue left on the iron after cleaning, it may result in minor odor/smoking when you turn the iron on again. This is normal and should dissipate within a few minutes.
  • If you are concerned about burning your hands while cleaning, the iron can be cleaned while cold. An oven mitt also works well to protect your hands from the heat.


  1. Two words. Magic. Eraser.

  2. When cleaning the plates, I got alcohol on the outside black plastic parts and the handle of my flat iron and now it feels all sticky. Did I ruin it?

Leave a Comment