How To Clean a Flat Iron

How To Clean a Flat Iron Properly!

Learn how to clean a flat iron properly! Find the best techniques for removing product build-up and more to maintaining efficient styling.

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Cleaning a flat iron can be a bit tricky because you are dealing with various materials that the flat iron is made of. There is ceramic, titanium, various plastics for enclosures… To make things a bit more complicated, it depends if you have simple stains or if you have burned-in stains. Each will require a different product. In this article you will separate cleaning into three different methods on how to clean a flat iron properly.

Why Should You Clean a Flat Iron?

Cleaning a flat iron is crucial not so much for the longevity of the device but for its performance. One of the few ways you could damage the flat iron is if it has water damage, otherwise it is pretty sturdy. I know what you are going to say, then why do they break? The longevity of the flat iron has more to do more with the way they were manufactured than the cleaning habits. However, there is a more important reason to keep them clean.

Over time, product build-up on the plates can cause uneven heat distribution, leading to hot spots. These hot spots can significantly increase the risk of heat damage to your hair. Further, a clean flat iron, the plates and the plastic enclosure, ensures a smoother glide and more consistent heat application, resulting in healthier and more beautifully styled hair. The health of hair depends on a clean iron.

What Creates the Stains?

Stains on flat irons are primarily caused by hair products such as hairsprays, heat protectants, hair treatments, and styling products. These products can accumulate over time, especially when used at high temperatures, leading to residue build-up and staining. It can get worse when strains get burned-in. if you have ever tried to get rid of those, they are not simple to get rid of.

The Best Cleaning Product for Various Stains

Let’s geek out about cleaning products a bit. When it comes to cleaning a flat iron, the choice of cleaning agent is crucial for effectiveness. The most common and effective cleaning products for removing stains from flat irons are solvents like isopropyl alcohol and ethanol. These solvents are particularly effective due to their properties:

  1. Isopropyl Alcohol – Rubbing Alcohol @ 70%
    • Efficiency: Isopropyl alcohol is excellent at dissolving oils, hairspray, and other styling product residues without damaging the flat iron’s surface.
    • Evaporation: It evaporates quickly, reducing the risk of moisture damage to the iron’s electrical components.
    • Availability: Easily available at most drugstores and relatively inexpensive.
    • Safety: Please use all the safety precautions that are mentioned on the product.
  2. 90% or higher Isopropyl Alcohol
    • Efficiency: This is a more concentrated alcohol (with less water), which is more effective at dissolving stains.
    • Evaporation: It evaporates quicker than 70% Alcohol, which is great because it is more safe on electronics.
    • Availability: Easily available at most drugstores and relatively inexpensive.
  3. Ethanol (Grain Alcohol):
    • Strong Solvent: Ethanol can be used for more stubborn stains. It’s a stronger solvent than isopropyl alcohol and can break down even tough, burned-in residues. However, make sure you are careful around stamped logos and/or paint jobs, there is a possibility it can dissolve those.
    • Safety Note: Ethanol is also a fast-evaporating substance, making it safe for use on electronic devices like flat irons. However, it’s essential to ensure the iron is completely cool and unplugged before application.
    • Available: Available on Amazon and many retailers.
  4. Alternative Cleaners:
    • Baking Soda and Vinegar: For those preferring a more natural approach, a paste made from baking soda and vinegar can be effective, especially for lighter stains. This mixture can act as a mild abrasive, helping to gently scrub away residues. Make sure you are careful on the plastic enclosures and around painted surfaces, you can scratch those.
    • Commercial Cleaners: There are also commercial cleaners designed specifically for flat irons and other styling tools (they are predominately made of isopropyl alcohol). These products are formulated to effectively clean without damaging the plates.

Considerations When Choosing Cleaning Products:

  • Plate and Enclosure Materials: Be aware of the material of your flat iron’s plates. Most metal allow plates should be fine with isopropyl and ethanol, it’s the paint on enclosures that you have to worry about (some of the amazon products have logos and such stamped on and will rub off easily, if you care about it that is ). Even baking soda will take those off.
  • Application Method: Apply the cleaning agent to a cloth rather than directly on the iron to avoid any potential damage to electrical parts. However, the stubborn stains may need to be soaked a bit. You will have to make sure the cleaners had time to evaporate before use!
  • Health: If you have respiratory issue please take caution with these product, they can irritate and more. Please read the labels before use.

By understanding the properties and uses of these cleaning products, users can effectively choose the best option for their specific needs. Whether it’s a routine clean-up or tackling tough, burned-in stains, the right solvent can make the task much easier.

Materials Needed

  • Required Materials: Rubbing alcohol, clean lint-free cloth is preferred.
  • Optional Materials: Ethanol, Baking soda, Vinegar, Bowl, Warm water.

Step-by-Step: Cleaning Flat Iron

  1. Understand what kind of stain you have:
    • Regular build up – visible or tacky stains on the iron
    • Burned-in Stain – these are stubborn stains, or you can see baked-in product on the iron
    • Maintenance cleaning – invisible stains, cleaning to prevent built-up.
  2. Chose the right product:
    • Regular maintenance – a quick sprits of rubbing alcohol or vinegar will suffice.
    • For built up stains – use Rubbing alcohol.
    • For burned-in stains – use 90% isopropyl alcohol or ethanol for really stubborn stains. (It is rare that you would need ethanol)
  3. Unplug and Cool: Ensure the flat iron is unplugged and completely cool. There is no need to have the flat iron warm if you use the right cleaning product. I noticed other sites recommend a warm iron. Please don’t! It’s a big safety concern.
  4. Apply Proper Cleaning Product: Moisten the cloth and gently wipe the plates and enclosure. Don’t forget the enclosure, especially is you use the iron to curls your hair. You want it to be smooth to curl hair easier. For quick maintenance a quick sprits on the cloth will do the job.
  5. Wipe Clean: Use a dry part of the cloth to remove any residue.
  6. Dry Thoroughly: Ensure the iron is completely dry before its next use. You have to make sure all the fumes had time to dissipate before use. Fumes are flammable, but they do dissipate quickly (a minute or so) in open space.

How Often To Clean Your Flat Iron?

  • Regular Use: Clean lightly after every use and evaluate if you need a deep clean every couple of month.
  • Heavy Product Use: Clean more frequently if you use heavy or sticky hair products.

How to Clean an Iron Without Alcohol?

  1. Create a Paste: Mix baking soda with vinegar to form a paste.
  2. Apply the Paste: Gently scrub the cool plates with the paste.
  3. Rinse and Dry: Wipe off with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly.

Safest Straightener For Hair

If you are curious about which flat iron is the safest, check these out – Article.


Regular cleaning of your flat iron is essential for optimal performance and maintaining healthy hair. By understanding the types of stains and using the appropriate cleaning methods, you can ensure your flat iron remains in top oppressing condition. I hope this article is helpful for your beauty routine.

Edited by MILABU

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