How to Clean Your Flat Iron: My Quick and Easy Routine

Hi, my name is Kathy and I am a flat iron addict. I use my flat iron a LOT. And after a while it gets pretty dirty. You won’t see it immediately, but trust me: it gets grimy. So to not gross myself out, and to make sure my hair styles work, I have trained myself a simple cleaning routine. It does not take much time, and after a while becomes second nature.


Yours Gets Dirty Too

If you don’t use your flat iron that often, it still needs to be cleaned. Cleaning will lengthen its usability, and ensures your next hairdo is as fab as the previous one. You will save yourself money by not having to buy a new flat iron too soon. 

So How Does Your Flat Iron Get Dirty?

If you use the iron, you often also use resources such as a protective spray, serum or hairspray. These products remain in your hair and as you go through your hair with a hot straightener, the remains linger the behind the plate.

You could remedy this by showering every time before styling your hair. However, I do not recommend this, because the flat iron might damage your hair. You should always use a protective spray to shield your hair from the heat.

When there is a buildup of products on my flat iron, I notice it when I turn it on. It will start to smell and the heat is not evenly distributed over the plates. Before, I always thought “Oh, I need a new hair straightener again!”. But now I know better.

What You Should NOT Do 

You should not use any aggressive and/or chemical cleaners. The coating can get seriously damaged and therefore may decrease the effectiveness of the straightener.

Furthermore, you should not use an abrasive sponge or other rough products because of possible damage.

How Do You Clean Your Hair Straightener?

You do not need much to clean your straightener. All you need are cotton pads and a bottle of alcohol (70%). And not a bottle of Vodka (would be a waste!) but denatured alcohol. Toothpicks are also convenient for extra cleaning. 

Make sure your flat iron is turned off. Dab a little alcohol on the cotton pad and rub over the plates of your rod. You’ll immediately see the dirt disappear. Not just rub the plates but also clean the sides thoroughly. Here is often a lot of filth. You can use the toothpick and the cotton pads to clean between the plates and the sides. Some people even use old tooth brushes!

How Often?

If you want your iron to stay clean, clean it once a week. I actually clean it after every couple of uses, because I’ve noticed it really helps to style with a super clean flat iron.

Two Non-Alcoholic Alternatives

If you do not want to work with alcohol or are afraid that this it’s harmful, there are other alternatives that work just as well. I stick to my alcohol trick, because it is the easiest:

  • You can buy a cleaning stick made specially for irons. You warm up your straightener on the lowest (!) setting and rub the iron parts gently with the stick all over. Do not be alarmed, this product will melt a little on your rod. After that you wipe your rod with a piece of paper or towel to remove the remainder of the product.
  • Mix some baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to a paste. Rub the paste with your fingers over the dirty areas, and wipe clean with a cloth or paper towel.

Here’s a great video demonstrating another flat iron cleaning method that combines baking soda and alcohol:


Last Tip: Keep Them Covered 

If you want to store your flat iron, do this in a protective bag. The irons that I don’t use every day, I keep in a box, so dust does not reach them.

So this is my go-to method for cleaning my styling tools, let me know if it works for you, and if you know of any other methods that work better! I am always eager to learn from other flat iron addicts 🙂