How To Clean A Curling Iron: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you are someone that likes to style your hair at home, then one of your most-used tools will be the curling iron.

Why do you think it is difficult to get salon-quality results at home? Is it the experts or the tools that make the difference?

Of course, it’s not a straightforward answer!

We are used to seeing the pristine condition tools in salons and on the hands of our favorite hairstyling professionals. But with similarly expensive tools such as the curling iron, we don’t get the same results at home.

Why is that!

What makes it most difficult to get salon-quality hairstyles at home is the tools. We use a lot of styling products on our hair and the traces of these products are seen on our curling irons or other tools.

Think about every time you visit a salon; you are always treated with a tool that looks brand new. But you know they are not new; they are kept in excellent condition.

If you don’t clean your curling iron then the tints all over the curler will impact its performance. The dirt or residue could make its way on to your hair that will surely damage your look.

This is why, it is crucial that curling iron and other hair styling tools are cleaned frequently. Remnants of oil or haircare products, dirt, dust among other residue buildup in your curling iron is natural. But if that’s not cleaned properly, you will see the damage on your hair.

If you have never cleaned your curling iron before, then NOW would be a good time to start.

But how? You may ask.

In this post, we are going to tell you about, how to clean your curling iron quickly and effectively so that you too can get salon-quality results when styling your hair at home.

So, let’s get started!

Precautions & Safety Tips To Ensure You Are Safe When Cleaning A Curling Iron

Precautions & Safety Tips

Before we learn how best to clean a curling iron, it is advised to be wary of some safety precautions.

A curling iron is a hot tool and it is an electrical equipment, so sufficient care is needed when handling it, including when cleaning it. The following are some safety tips we should be aware of:

  • Make sure that the curling iron is not plugged in or recently been used
  • Wait for the curling iron to completely cool down, if it has been used recently before you begin to clean it
  • Be sure to make a routine of cleaning your curling iron at least once a month or based on the frequency of use
  • Don’t ever leave your curling iron plugged in when not in use
  • If you have babies or toddlers in the house, be sure to keep away from them when cleaning or using a curling iron

Instructions: How To Clean A Curling Iron

Instructions- How To Clean A Curling Iron

As we have covered, you must ensure the complete safety of yourself, your curling iron and your environment before you begin.

Then, you must gather all the cleaning materials you need. Things needed to clean your curling iron:

  • a cleaner – any all-purpose cleaner or designated curling iron cleaning solution or spray
  • a cloth or paper towel – any clean piece of cloth or paper towel, it will not be helpful to use a dirty piece of cloth to clean something
  • a tiny scrub brush – for getting the tough stains, or gunk out of your curling iron, you will need something a bit tougher for scrubbing

Now, let’s look move on to the main course of cleaning your curling iron.

A Quick & Safe 10-Step Guide For Cleaning A Curling Iron

A Quick & Safe 10-Step Guide For Cleaning A Curling Iron

  • Turn off the curling iron and make sure it has completely cooled down. You do not want to get burnt from touching the hot surface. And you definitely do not want to get electrocuted from touching a plugged-in electronic with any liquid solution. So, do this to prevent electric shocks or accidental burns.
  • Begin by giving your curling iron a good wipe using a dry, clean piece of cloth.
  • Then, start cleaning the curling iron using either water or cleaning alcohol or any other cleaner that you have selected. Do not dip your curling iron into a bucket of water or hold it under running water to avoid water damage. This may also cause severe electrical failures.
  • Make sure to use a scrubbing brush to clean any tough stains or gunk, especially in the plates.
  • It’s necessary to make sure to clean the grip and cord to prevent clenching a moist handle when you use it.
  • You want to thoroughly clean it using a brush in any part where the residue or build-up doesn’t easily come off with an easy wet cloth. You will find that using an appropriate cleaning solution will make your job much easier.
  • After that, you want to wipe or rinse off the cleaning solution with any leftover residue.
  • Wash your hands well by rinsing and using a disinfectant to get rid of anything on your hands. You should always use a paper towel or a napkin to dry off completely. In case you used alcohol or a stronger cleaning treatment, be sure to rinse the cloth used completely to prevent any accidental spread.
  • Finally, you want to makes that you dry off the curling iron completely. You can use a paper towel, cloth or handkerchief to dry it and always use it to wipe off any dust. You want to make sure that there is no water left on the iron and then leave it to be aired for some time before you use it again. Using it while wet is a risk of electrocution.
  • And that’s it!

So, finally, your curling iron will be completely clean and dried off. Ready to be used or stored safely until you need to use it next.

Bonus Step:

When storing it, prevent wrapping the cord of your curling iron on the handle because if you do this, it may result in wear and tear to the cord of your curling iron. You would be better off using a rubber band to make a ponytail with the cable and place it securely in a bag.

How To Clean A Curling Iron: Alternative Methods

Are you wondering if there are some other alternative methods to make your curling iron cleaner?

Well, we cannot guarantee an option to ensure the best clean, but we will give you a useful list of alternative options to get a good clean:

Alternative Method One: Cleaning a Curling Iron with Acetone

Acetone is a chemical that is very useful in breaking down rigid, tough, sticky gunk that is commonly found on curling irons, among other electrical tools. A safe acetone is your everyday nail polish solution that is found easily in most stores.

  1. Dip a clean cloth or wad of cotton into the acetone
  2. Use the acetone dipped cloth or cotton wad all over the dirty areas of the curling iron
  3. Give it a few seconds so that the acetone can break away the dirt
  4. Use a brush to scrub away the residue
  5. Use another clean cloth or paper towel to wipe it clean

Alternative Method Two: Cleaning a Curling Iron with Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a very commonly used material for cleaning. It is a chemical agent that breaks down residue easily. This is perfect for removing stains as well. You will get the best results when you use a solution that has 90% isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

  1. Pour rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth or cotton wad
  2. Rub the curling with the cloth or cotton in the stained or dirty areas
  3. Leave it for a few seconds for the rubbing alcohol to work its magic
  4. Use a brush to give it a gentle scrub to all visible stains or dirty areas
  5. Use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe it clean

Alternative Method Three: Cleaning a Curling Iron with Baking Soda

Baking soda is another commonly used all-rounder in the home remedy or DIY arena. Unsurprisingly, it is also great in cleaning your curling iron. It is actually very effective in removing residue on curling irons left from haircare products such as hairspray.

  1. Mix 1 part of baking soda with 2 parts of water into a solution
  2. Use a cleaning cloth or paper towel to wipe the solution on your curling iron, avoid direct contact
  3. The abrasive properties of baking soda will do its magic to remove stains and residue, don’t leave it sitting too long with the baking soda as it may damage the ceramic coating of your curling iron
  4. Use a brush for stubborn stains or build up on the iron
  5. Wipe off any remaining residue or solution for a clean looking curling iron

Alternative Method Four: Cleaning a Curling Iron with Ammonia

Ammonia is reputed from getting rid of grease and stains. It is commonly used in the kitchen to get rid cooking grease and other gunk from appliances. So, the common gunk in styling tools like curling irons are also safe to be cleaned using ammonia.

  1. Dip a cotton pad or cloth in ammonia and wipe it on your curling iron
  2. Let the ammonia sit for a few minutes to get the gunk or dirt to soften up
  3. You can use a brush for tough stains
  4. You can also dip the curling iron in ammonia if it has intense buildup of dirt, in that case let it sit in the solution for up to 10 minutes
  5. Once completed, you can wipe it clean and dry before use

Alternative Method Five: Cleaning a Curling Iron with a Professional Cleaner

Professional cleaning agents such as oven cleaner, Goo Gone, etc. are also effective in cleaning a curling iron. They are heavy-duty cleaners made for removing all sorts of stains, grease, etc. all of which are common on curling irons as well.

  1. Buy a professional cleaner
  2. Follow the set of instructions on the bottle
  3. Most cleaners are spray on, so spray it on your curling and let it sit
  4. Give it a good scrub and you will be left with a cleaner curling iron
  5. Be sure to pay attention to the strength of the chemical as it may damage the coating or the color of your curling iron

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following are some commonly asked questions about curling iron, especially when it comes to cleaning them safely and effectively:

How often should you clean a curling iron?

The answer depends on how often you use a curling iron. If you use it rarely, then it will not get as dirty. However, if you use it frequently, the chances of residue and gunk buildup is higher and you will need it to be cleaned more frequently.

So, this is decision you take based upon how clean or dirty it looks and how often you use it. However, a safe time is to make sure you clean it every other week if you use the curling iron daily.

Also, you should give it a good wipe before and after use to avoid severe buildup of residue.

Can I ruin my curling by cleaning it?

It is true that if you are not careful and not following the best practices, you may very well damage your curling iron while cleaning it. You may ruin the plates, the wire, or even do water damage to the electrical unit.

So, the following are some tips to avoid damaging your curling iron when cleaning it:

  • Always unplug the curling iron before cleaning it
  • Always wait for it to be completely cool before cleaning it
  • Never wash it directly under water
  • Always remember to completely dry it after cleaning
  • As a safety, use your curling day after you clean it OR clean it a day before you plan to use it

When do I know it is time to replace it and not just clean it?

The clearest answer to this is when you curling iron stops working.

However, if you notice that even after regular cleaning, and proper use the performance is dipping. Then it is best to replace your curling iron. As it will become riskier to use it in its last days and may also cause damage to your hair.

Also, if it is well past the manufacturer’s warranty, then you are better off buying a new curling iron instead of wasting your time and energy on cleaning the old one.


So, this was all about the complete ins and outs of how to clean your curling iron.

As we have guided you on the accurate steps to clean your curling iron, the tips and techniques and as well as the best practice, be sure to follow them for best results.

You may have understood that cleaning a curling iron is simple and most of the cleaners can be seen in your kitchen. You can rely on these common cleaning agents to effectively clean your curling iron. But be careful when using stronger things like acetone, ammonia and baking soda.

Let us know if our curling iron maintenance guide is helpful in getting your curling iron nice & clean.

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