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You already know about cleaning your makeup brushes and makeup blenders, but have you ever taken out your curling iron or blow-dryer, only to notice that they're coated in dust and caked-on hair products? Yes, your hot tools need regular cleaning, too! Not only will a good cleaning help keep your hot tools looking their best, but it will also help them work their best. But, how on earth do you clean a blow-dryer or a flat iron? Don’t worry if this a beauty lesson you’re in desperate need of, just keep reading to learn how to clean your hot tools and how often you should be doing so.
Have you ever noticed hair product build-up on the metal plates of your flat iron? Not only is it icky, but it will also prevent the flat iron from working at its highest capacity. The more hair styling product build-up, the less effective your flat iron will be. Before you even think about cleaning your flat iron, first make sure it’s turned off, unplugged, and completely cool to the touch.
Okay, now you can actually clean your hair straightener. You have two methods to try here; you can use warm water and gentle soap, or, if that’s not enough to remove pesky build-up, try rubbing alcohol. Saturate a washcloth with the warm, soapy water or put rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad, then rub either the cloth or cotton pad slowly over the plates of your flat iron until all the product is completely removed. Take care not to rub too harshly, as this could potentially cause damage to the metal plates. Once your flat iron is completely clean, don’t rush to use it. You’ll want to give the straightener time to dry before letting it near your strands again.
Editor’s note: This is your gentle reminder not to let product build-up scare you away from using product on your hair before straightening. In some cases, it’s completely necessary—like in the case of heat protectant. So, keep spritzing your strands with the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray before styling!
Unlike flat irons and curling irons, your blow-dryer won’t be riddled with built-up product, but it often develops a different issue: dust! Quick beauty tip: Just like your other hot tools, when your blow-dryer gets too dusty, it simply doesn’t work as well as it should. And it already takes long enough to blow-dry your hair at home, you don’t need it to take even longer! If you’ve noticed your blow-dryer overheating (more than normal) or not pumping out as much air as it used to, chances are the fan is clogged up with too much dust and lint.
Unfortunately, cleaning the dust out of your blow-dryer’s fan isn’t as easy as letting it accumulate, which can actually happen pretty fast, but it's totally doable. Here’s how to do it: First things first, make sure your blow-dryer is unplugged, completely dry, and cold to the touch. To clean out that pesky built-up dust in the grid of the fan, you’ll need a pair of tweezers. Use your tweezers to pull out as much of the dust as you can, then wipe along the face of the grid with a damp washcloth. Like we said, it’s not the quickest or easiest cleaning process, but it will certainly get the job done and help keep your blow-dryer running just like new. Alternatively, you might find that some hair-dryers have a back panel that can easily pop or twist off. In this case, remove it for an easier cleaning process.
Because most of us need to use hair spray or hair gel to help make sure that our curled hair stays that way, curling irons are often the hot tool with the most old product left on them. If the product build-up on the barrel of your curling iron isn’t too severe, you can use rubbing alcohol—similar to how you would clean your flat iron. However, since curling irons often have the most gunk on them, you may find that you need a stronger cleaning method. If this is the case, baking soda is another popular cleaning method. Just be careful not to be too harsh, as you don’t want to damage what’s underneath all that build up—and don’t forget to also clean the underside of the clamp! If you use a curling wand instead of a clamped curling iron, the same cleaning process will work.
If your hair rollers are of the pronged variety, you’ll need to clean them similarly to how you would a standard hair brush: Use a small comb to pull out the lingering hairs from each curler, then cleanse them with a mild shampoo and rinse thoroughly. If you use ceramic hot rollers that have built-up product on them, clean them with a bit of rubbing alcohol just like you would a ceramic flat iron.
We’ve covered how to properly clean your hot tools, but how frequently should you really be doing it? Just like your makeup blenders and brushes, the answer will depend on how often you use them! If you’re heat styling your hair a few days a week, it’s typically recommended that you clean your tools once a month. If you use them less often, you may be able to get away with cleaning your tools every month or even every few months.
Speaking of cleaning, next it’s time for a little spring cleaning. That’s right, you’re going to (finally) ditch those old, crusty tubes of mascara and your dried up foundation! Here’s How to Spring Clean Your Makeup Collection.