How To Clean A Curling Or Flat Iron

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Have a bit of hairspray and hair product buildup on your curling or flat iron? Here’s an easy way to clean that gunk off:


  • Make sure it’s unplugged and the barrel is cool to the touch.
  • Pour a bit of rubbing alcohol on a damp cloth or a cotton ball and rub the barrel clean, make sure to open the clamp so you can wipe underneath it too. If the buildup is really stubborn and won’t come off easily, try gently scrubbing with a toothbrush that was first dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  • After removing all of the buildup, take another clean cloth and wet it with a bit of water. Wipe off the iron to remove any residue.
  • Wait until the barrel is completely dry before plugging it in again.

Another tip: You can also try mixing 1/4 cup warm water and 1 TBS liquid fabric softener. Wash with a cloth, the hairspray and gunk should wipe right off. Use a q-tip for hard to get at spots.

If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol in the house, you can also use:

  • Household ammonia
  • Nail polish remover (acetone based)
  • Thick paste of baking soda and water

A good way to clean teflon coated barrels is to heat it up, unplug then wrap a damp cloth tightly around the barrel. After a few minutes you should be able to wipe the buildup off easily.


  • If you regularly wipe it down with a damp cloth after use (making sure the iron is unplugged first), this will prevent hair product buildup from happening.

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3 Comments to “How To Clean A Curling Or Flat Iron”
  1. kev says:

    Any suggestions on getting years of hairspray accumulation off a wall? We just bought a house and the previous owner’s 20-something daughter has spent the last 8 years lining her bathroom with a nice sticky layer of hairspray.

    Frankly, I don’t mind if I ruin the paint.

    • Michael Rich says:

      Try washing the walls with shampoo. The same formulae that takes hairspray and other build-up off your hair will usually work for walls. Try to avoid too much shampoo – you don’t want a sudsy mess.
      If that doesn’t work, and you really don’t care about the paint, you can try what professional painters do. With the room REALLY, REALLY, REALLY well ventelated (or wearing a respirator mask – but the room should still be well ventelated)wash the walls with lacquer thinner. This is a very strong and highly flammable solvent, so be careful. Unplug anything that might create a spark, make sure there are no live pilot lights (hot water heater, etc.) in the area. Start at the bottom of the wall and work upward. Change the rag frequently. When done with a rag, take it outside, spread it out, and let it air-dry before disposing. DON’T just toss them in a pile, or put them in a bag when they are still damp. They can spontaneously combust. Lacquer thinner is a pain to work with, but it will really do the job.

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