Keeping your thermal hairstyling tool dirty not only compromises its performance, but it also can damage your hair. After all, styling product build-up will snag and pull at your tresses. Combined with regular exposure to heat, this will cause your hair to lose its healthy shine, even if you use only ceramic styling tools. Before you stash your curling iron or hair straightener back in the drawer, take a good look at it. If you never cleaned it or don’t remember the last time you did, perhaps you should start now.

Things You'll Need

Turn off and unplug your thermal styling tool. Set it down on a heat-resistant mat on top of your countertop instead of directly on the countertop, which might get singed upon contact with a hot curling iron or flat iron. Wait about five minutes before proceeding.

Wipe off your lukewarm curling iron or hair straightener with a damp paper towel. Any styling product that has just freshly adhered to the styling tool will come off effortlessly. Waiting any later than this to clean your curling iron or hair straightener will require a different procedure (Step 3).

Invest in a professional thermal hairstyling tool cleanser to safely and effectively remove old styling product residue on your curling or flat iron. Spray down your completely cooled down curling iron or hair straightener with the cleanser. This will break down and soften old residue, which you can now wipe away with a paper towel. Wipe down not only the barrel of the curling iron and the plates of the hair straightener, but also the other parts of your thermal styling tool. For crevices you cannot reach, use a cotton swab before wiping away the cleaning solution.


  • While it is best to avoid abrasive cleansers that might scratch your hairstyling tool, there are a few other solvents you can try if you are out of your regular thermal styling tool cleanser. Use either ammonia, nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol or spray-on oven cleaner. Saturate a cotton ball with the solution of your choice and rub it along the areas where residue has built up. Wipe the styling tool with a damp paper towel afterward to lift away remnants of the solvent. This prevents it from getting on your hair the next time you use your thermal styling tool.