Buying a new one whenever some dirt builds up would not only be extremely wasteful money-wise, but also very impractical. But do you know how to properly maintain your favorite hair straightener without causing any damage to the plates or electrical components?
As a hairstylist, I’ve often been face to face with a lot of dirt and buildup from the hair care products we use on our customers’ hair and natural oil that everybody’s hair naturally has.
Since most of modern, either professional hair irons or those for personal use can get as hot as 460 degrees F, the buildup can really get “baked” into the plates or body of the hair iron. It can sometimes make the dial or buttons (whichever your hair straightener has) really difficult to operate because they get stuck due to all the dirt and residue.
There is, of course, professional solution to this problem, which tends to be pricey; but lucky for you I know a very easy DIY way to do it properly.
Before we go any further, let’s see what we’ll need:
Hair straightener cleaner or just regular rubbing alcohol
Soft paper towels or a clean, unused cleaning cloth
Clean toothbrush/toothpick and/or q-tips
Once you make sure you have all the unnecessary equipment, we can proceed with the steps to restoring your flat iron to its former glory.
Don’t worry about any heat inefficiency or hot spots your hair iron developed over the course of time; it might only be due to the buildup on the plates. If nothing else, you don’t want all that yucky stuff on your clean hair, right?
Make sure you have turned off your flat iron and unplugged it before you begin cleaning it. Also, make sure that it’s not still warm from previous use. Any kind of liquid and plugged in appliances don’t mix well – this is common sense, but let it be said.
Before getting out the tools take a cloth/paper towel and dip it in warm water just to remove any big chunks of buildup and dirt. The cloth/towel should be wet, but never dripping!
If you bought some, this would be the perfect time to use some flat iron cleaner. After using warm water, just spray some on the cloth and rub it gently on the plates.
Since none of the previous steps guarantee that you will get the worst buildup that is caught between the body of the hair straightener and the plates, it’s time for us to get our tools. Take a toothpick and pick the dirt out gently; afterwards, remove what you dug up with a toothbrush or a q-tip. Remember, be very gentle as not to damage or loosen the plates!
Time for some finishing touches
Now that you got all visible dirt out, you really want to remove all the bacteria from your flat iron. You will do so by getting some rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth and cleaning the plates with it. Damp one q-tip with alcohol as well and try to reach the space between the plates; remember, don’t get either the cloth or the q-tip dripping wet!
Afterwards, clean with a wet cloth (water) to get any remaining cleaner/alcohol off as it can lead to an unpleasant odor when you turn your unit back on.
Repeat if necessary
If you still feel that your flat iron is not as clean as it could be, simply repeat until it’s squeaky clean!
Before you use your iron again
Make sure that you’ve rubbed your flat iron dry and left it for at least 3 hours in a clean, dry place before you plug it in and turn it on again. Any drop of water in the wrong place at the wrong time can cause some serious damage to the iron if you’re not careful.
Clean hair means longer lifespan for your hair
I’m sure you are aware how big of a role your daily showers play in the looks and health of your hair. But did you know that smoothness, softness and general hair health actually depends on the water you shower with as much as proper use and maintenance of hair straighteners? And because of that best shower filters for hair can make all the difference and are something you hair and skin desperately needs.
Plus, never ever dip your iron into a bowl of water as it will almost certainly cause permanent damage to your unit.
Before you even begin cleaning, bear in mind that different materials can be trickier to clean. Just be thorough, gentle and arm yourself with patience. After you are done with the plates, you can use the same materials to clean your buttons or your dial.
And if you do not want to go through all this trouble every 6 months or so, simply wipe your hair straightener with a wet cloth after every use and then with a dry one. This will prevent the buildup of natural hair oils and most of the hair products.
After you have followed through all the steps (congratulations), you will now use your hair straightener the way it was supposed to be used. It will once again glide super smoothly through your hair, and it will most definitely eliminate snagging or pulling to the buildup.
By cleaning your hair iron on a regular basis, you will not only get consistent and best results, but you will also improve the longevity of your unit. Just follow through this few simple steps, and there should be no room for mistakes.
You are now ready to begin with taking care of the products that take care of your hair and your look for so long on a daily basis. You will also save a lot of money in the long run by improving performance and restoring your flat iron to your original state, which should eliminate any need for a new unit.
What are you waiting for? Get down to it and good luck!
I was a hair styling competition judge for more than 7 years. I now have my own hair styling salon. I consider it art and it's just my life-long passion. I blog about these things and from time to time I also write reviews on hair straighteners and hair styling products.