How to Clean Your Flat Iron

A great flat iron is an essential part of your beauty arsenal.  A good quality flat iron is going to cost you anywhere between $100 and $200 and will last for many years if properly cared for.  It's an investment you want to protect and maintain so it can operate at optimal performance for as long as possible - decreasing your costs in the long run.  Proper care and cleaning of your flat iron isn't hard, but it does require a small time commitment each week.  The longer you go between cleanings and the more product you allow to build up on your iron, the harder it is going to be to clean - and the more time it's going to take.

Another important note before we get into the details of cleaning your flat iron - Take care not to drop it!  I've ruined more than one flat iron this way.  Dropping the iron can jar loose the small parts inside or even crack the plates if they smack together when they hit the floor.


  1. While your flat iron is unplugged but STILL WARM, spray the plates with a product specifically designed for cleaning flat irons, such as Hot Tools Styling Iron Cleaner.  A bottle is only $6, but if you don't want to buy a special cleaner, I've heard that plain rubbing alcohol or Windex works well.  (However, I have NOT tried this myself and CANNOT guarantee it won't ruin your iron.  If you've tried either of these methods, please let us know how it turned out in the comments section!)
  2. For heavy buildup, let the product sit on the plates for up to 10 minutes. 
  3. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.  For heavy buildup you can scrub the plates with a soft brush before wiping clean (a firm bristle toothbrush works well). 
  4. Wipe again with a clean rag damp with plain water to remove any remaining residue and cleaner.  This will prevent the iron from becoming sticky when dry.
  5. Wipe the handles of the iron down with a damp cloth.
  6. For many months of heavy buildup, it may take several cleanings to get the plates completely clean.
  7. Feel how smooth your plates are and be amazed at how much better your iron slides through your hair.  Make a mental note to clean your flat iron more often than once a year (and then probably forget).
Ideally, you should clean your iron at least once a week (or even after every use), but realistically I clean mine about once a month.  You can also use this method to clean your curling irons or styling wands.  Not only do they perform better when clean, they also don't damage your hair as much (added bonus!).  When there is buildup on your iron, it tugs at your hair and doesn't slide through smoothly, causing more damage to your hair - and who wants that?!
If you missed it, check out this article on my new Irresistible Me dual voltage flat iron that I'm OBSESSED with, as well as 3 tips for stronger, healthier hair.  And the flat iron is ON SALE now for only $104!  This is the Cadillac of flat irons - and it will last you a VERY long time, especially since you're now an expert on keeping your flat iron clean and well-maintained ;)