How to clean hair straighteners: Easy tips to make the most out of your tool

Keep hair straighteners free from product build-up to ensure box-fresh results time and time again

hair straighteners
(Image credit: Getty)

A good cleansing routine is a beauty cornerstone. From our skincare routine to our makeup brushes, we all have the steps that work best for us, but what about for our heated styling tools?

For many of us, they often fall through the cracks, which could be a major mistake – especially if we’ve spent time and money investing in the best hair straighteners for our hair type (because, let’s be honest, they’re not exactly cheap). Not only will keeping them in tip-top condition help them to work better, but it could be better for the condition of our lengths in the long run, too. 

Why is it important to clean them? Much like our hairbrushes, they can be magnets for product build-up (think serums, creams and root cover-ups), skin cells, natural oils, grime, dust, dirt and bacteria. When this accumulates, it spells bad news for the plates – it can prevent them from gliding through hair smoothly, resulting in a greater likelihood of snags and heat damage by having to repeatedly go back over the same section of hair in order to achieve the kind of results that we used to get when they were brand new and residue-free. 

Everything you need to know about how to clean hair straighteners

How often should I clean my hair straighteners?

“I would recommend cleaning them about every third time you straighten your hair,” says Paul Edmonds, award-winning hair stylist and founder of Paul Edmonds London.

This will prevent build-up from getting overly ingrained in the plates, which can be trickier to remove. 

How should I clean my hair straighteners?

The golden rule to how to clean hair straighteners is to be as gentle as possible – scrubbing and using abrasive cleansers on plates could end up scratching and damaging them. 

Here’s your step-by-step guide to getting rid of residue without causing damage:

  1. Always ensure that the straighteners are unplugged and completely cool by popping them on a heat-resistant surface or mat after use.
  2. Wet a soft cloth with lukewarm water and ring out the excess. Never submerge your straighteners in water.
  3. With your finger, use the cloth to gently rub over the surface of the plates. Patience is key. If needed, Paul recommends using a very small amount of shampoo and wiping it off with a damp clean cloth.
  4. Allow the hair straighteners to completely dry before using them.
  5. Is the residue proving particularly stubborn to remove? “If there is a lot of styling-product build-up, it’s best to use rubbing alcohol,” says Paul. “Put a small amount on to a piece of cotton wool and rub it on to the plates and around the edges, as this is where it tends to build up the most. Then wipe over them again with a damp (not wet!) clean cloth and leave to fully dry before using again.” He advises avoiding baby wipes as they can often leave an oily film behind.