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How To Clean A Curling Iron: 3 Easy Ways To Do It Yourself

Clean Curling Iron

No need to worry if your curling irons are pretty dirty or have never even been cleaned – it’s a fairly easy task to restore them to nearly-new condition. Having a clean curling iron will help you avoid hair oils, grime and residue from products that build up over time on your hot tools and ensure they last longer.

You certainly don’t want to breathe in the strange scent that results from burning residue and traces of items that have accumulated over time, since not only are there chemicals swirling around, but the stench can also get on your hair. Routinely cleaning your curling iron will help you maintain the health and cleanliness of your hair.

How To Clean A Curling Iron

When cleaning a curling iron, there are a few things to know.

  1. Make sure your curling iron is unplugged and has finished cooling. This will avoid the risk of electrocution or burning your hands as you spray liquid cleaning on it and enable you to scrub and wipe with a better grip.
  2. You might only need to wipe your curling iron clean with water or a general household cleaner, depending on how bad the residue is.
  3. If there is a little more buildup, grab some soft cloth, and if you believe you’ll need to use some force, a little brush, like an old toothbrush (do not use steel wool).

Things You’ll Need To Clean A Curling Iron

The majority of bacteria that are present on your curling iron are killed by the high temperatures of the curling iron, so your scrubbing will concentrate on ridding your curling tool of any product buildup and debris.

Your curling iron will last longer and continue to produce beautiful barrel curls if you give it a thorough cleaning at least once a week. You can try to quickly clean your curling iron with household items you already have on hand.

You’ll need:

  • Cleaning cloths
  • Old toothbrush
  • Rubbing alcohol or wipe
  • Baking soda
  • Small bowl
  • A spoon

We advise against using anything too abrasive to clean a curling iron. Hair damage can result if the surface of your iron becomes scratched since this might lead to inconsistent heat and perhaps hot patches.

1. Water

Water For Cleaning Iron

Sometimes the most basic and easiest things can lead to the desired results. Before trying anything else, we recommend using water as a simple cleaning method. Unplug the iron while it’s still hot, wrap a wet towel around it and press and wipe the towel across the surface.

You can remove many organic and synthetic polymers without difficulty while the iron is still hot. These polymers can form a hard covering resembling thin plastic once they have cooled. Just grab a cleaning or microfiber cloth and clean your curling iron with it after dipping it in water.

To reduce the possibility of any mineral residue, which is common in homes with hard water, start with filtered water if you can. 

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an effective cleaning method for a nice clean curling iron. Did you know that the buildup from heat protectants and hairsprays can make your curling wand, styling iron and flat iron extremely sticky? It can also burn your hair and result in split ends. To prevent that, you can use rubbing alcohol to remove anything that plain water can’t.

Dip a soft towel in some rubbing alcohol, and gently scrub and clean a curling iron of any material. You should perform a thorough cleaning of all the areas with the most stains to rid your iron of gunk. Depending on how much stain is on the iron, this could take a while. 

Use a toothbrush to clean a curling iron if the previous cleaning method doesn’t work or if it is severely discolored. Look for places with more stains and concentrate your cleaning there. Continue to scrub with rubbing alcohol until the hairspray or stains are removed. It will be more difficult to remove the old, stubborn film of hairspray or other hair products that have been left on the iron for several weeks or months.

This cleaning solution is a fantastic method to clean ceramic hot tools.

3. Baking Soda

Baking Soda

In a small bowl, combine baking soda and water in a 3/1 ratio, mix everything together using a spoon and add more baking soda if the mixture is too runny. Gently rub the paste into the grip and cool barrel of the curling iron until coated. Using a cotton pad, dip in the solution and gently scrub the baking soda paste onto the curling iron.

To avoid damaging the ceramic coating finish, use a toothbrush in a soft, gentle motion. Apply a soft, damp rag to the leftover residue and gently scrape any sticky places with the edge of your fingernail. Clean up the barrel and handle by wiping them down and use a paper towel or a soft, dry washcloth to dry.

If this method doesn’t work, you can apply rubbing alcohol to a toothbrush before being dipped in baking soda. Then, clean your curler with the toothbrush. 

Now all that’s left for you is to make those fabulous curls. Check out our curling iron reviews and read our tips on how to use a curling iron and how to use a spiral curling iron (here).


A styling iron must be clean to get polished results, and extend its life. The tool will remain in excellent condition if the barrel or plates are regularly washed to eliminate residue from silicon-based hair products, hairsprays and heat sprays. Fortunately, you can use our easy tips on how to get a clean curling iron. If the first method doesn’t help, be sure that one of the other two should do the job.