If you use your curling iron often, you may not even notice that it’s building up gunk and grime. Curling irons pick up oils and dirt from your hair, as well as gunk from hairspray and gels. Try to quickly clean your curling iron at least once a week with simple products you have around your home. If your curling iron has layer of grime on it, opt for something slightly more abrasive, such as baking soda or a melamine sponge.
Rub the barrel with a paste of baking soda and water for a natural cleaner. In a small bowl, mix together 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Stir the mixture together with a spoon, then use a rag or paper towel to scrub down the barrel. This will provide a light abrasive action. Always use a clean, damp cloth to remove the solution at the end.
- The measurements don’t need to be precise; you just need a thick paste.
Scrub the barrel down with a clean toothbrush. If a rag or paper towel isn’t providing enough friction, you can use a toothbrush. Dip it in your preferred cleaning solution, then run it over the barrel in small circular motions to help take the gunk off.
- Make sure you don’t use the toothbrush for anything else!
Apply acetone for 10 minutes to remove harder-to-clean gunk. Rub down the barrel with a rag dampened in acetone. Leave the acetone on for 10 minutes so it can dissolve the gunk. Try not to leave it on longer, as it might damage the surface.
Try a melamine sponge or steel wool for gunk that won’t come off. Pick a melamine sponge for nonstick surfaces or steel wool for other surfaces. Dip it in the cleaning solution of your choice or even just water, and scrub the barrel, moving from one end to the other. Use a circular motion to help take off the gunk, concentrating a bit more on the grimiest areas. Don’t forget to work on the handle, too, and to get under the clamp if yours has one.
- Melamine works on a micro level to remove the grime, but it usually won’t scratch the surface. Steel wool provides a more powerful abrasion, but it can scratch nonstick surfaces.
Dry your iron completely before use. A damp curling iron can be dangerous. Besides the fact the electronics and water don’t mix, it could spit off hot water at you, which no one wants! Dry it thoroughly with a towel before you use it.
Cleaning a Smelly Curling Iron
Wipe the iron down with rubbing alcohol for an easy cleaning solution. Dip a paper towel or cotton pad in rubbing alcohol. Don’t soak the cloth completely; just dampen it. Run the towel over the barrel, making sure to go over and under the clamp, as well. The rubbing alcohol will help take hair products and other dirt off your curling iron.
- You may need to go over the barrel several times. Don’t forget to clean the handle, too.
Wrap the iron in a lemon-juice soaked rag for 15 minutes for a hands-off solution. You can use bottled lemon juice if you prefer. Either way, lemon juice is acidic, and it can cut through the gunk and smell. Make sure the rag is well-soaked enough to be damp and wrap the whole barrel in the rag.
- If you don’t have lemon juice, try vinegar instead.
Wipe the barrel clean once you’re done applying the cleaning solution. Unwrap the barrel and set it down. Rinse out the rag thoroughly or get a clean one and dampen it with water. Wipe the lemon juice, vinegar, acetone, or rubbing alcohol off the barrel with the damp rag.
- Never put the barrel under running water. You could get water in places you don’t want it, causing your curling iron to malfunction.
Keeping Your Iron Clean
Clean the iron once a week. That will prevent hairspray and other products from caking onto the iron, which could be a hazard. Plus, the curling iron will perform better if you keep it as clean as possible!
Keep your curling iron in a drawer when it’s not in use. That way, you won’t splash your curling iron with products or assault it with makeup, which would lead to more gunk. Put it in a drawer without leaking toothpaste tubes and other products that could get on the iron.
- Alternatively, hang the iron by the clamp on a set of metal shelves.
Keep the curling iron unplugged when it’s not in use. It’s not enough to just flip the power switch off (if yours even has one), especially when you’re cleaning it. Since you’re going to be applying liquid to the curling iron, you need to unplug it completely. Electricity and liquid don’t mix!
Let the curling iron cool completely before storing it or cleaning it. While some tips suggesting cleaning a warm iron, it’s best to let it cool completely. You don’t risk burning yourself, and using cleaners on a warm iron could affect the surface, particularly if yours has a non-stick coating.
- Hold your hand near the iron to see if it’s warm. Don’t try to touch it if you don’t know if it’s still hot.
Replace your curling iron when it starts showing signs of wear and tear. If you notice fraying cords or a burnt odor (that’s not your hair!), it’s definitely time to get a new iron. Similarly, if the plates start getting dented or scratched, you may want to hit the stores. Finally, if your iron isn’t heating the same as it did, either getting too hot or not hot enough, you may want to opt for a new one.
- If you can’t get the gunk off your old iron, you may also want a new one.