How To Clean Your Flat Iron

flat-ironThis post is brought to you by Amazon where you can get deals on beauty products!

Once again I am subjecting myself to humiliation for the sake of homemaking science by showing you another nasty appliance in my house.

This time it’s my CHI flat iron.

Why is it so gross you ask?  Well, let me tell you. :-)

I suffer from a serious condition called “poufy bangs” (sad but true) combined with a wicked cowlick.
Unless I straighten them everyday…(sometimes twice a day)…they just look ridiculous.

Problem is…I also use a fair amount of  HAIRSPRAY on them and when I use the flat iron on my hairsprayed hair…this is what ends up happening.
A serious case of “gunk build-up”.

The things we do for vanity. :-)

In the past I would wait until it got REALLY, REALLY bad and then throw it away and get a new one….because I couldn’t find anything that would take it off. One day I was whining about my flat iron follies to my friend Danielle and she suggested I use the edge of a pair of scissors to scrape the gunk off. Afterall, the straightener is made out of CERAMIC. It actually worked quite well and didn’t do TOO much damage to the iron. The slight scarring it did was worth it though, because I didn’t have to buy a new one!  An expensive proposition when a CHI retails for $120.00 at WALMART.  Of course I didn’t pay that much…thanks to a deal that was posted on Sweet Deals By Jillee!  (how’s that for a shameless plug?).

As you can see from the pictures…the “gunk build-up” was approaching a serious level of gross and I was about to attack it with the scissors again when I decided to give my miracle cleaner a try.


Turns out this was hardly even a challenge for the “miracle cleaner”. :-)  I made my usual paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and started rubbing it in with my fingers.  It immediately took all but the thickest parts of gunk off with hardly any effort at all.  You can see from the pictures how the paste becomes discolored as it starts to “soak up” the dirt.  It took some “elbow grease” to get the tough spots off…but eventually I did.

This is what it looked like “AFTER”.

The main difference cleaning this small appliance vs. other things I’ve cleaned with the “miracle cleaner” was making sure I didn’t get any cleaner or water inside the iron that would mess up the electrical stuff.

So I was careful to keep the cleaning mixture just on the plates themselves and then I used a wet rag to wipe it all off when I was done instead of rinsing it.  It’s still working like a champ at taming my unruly poufy bangs, so I must have done OK.

If you look close, you can still see where my previous attempts with the scissors did their damage. I point this out so you won’t think the “miracle cleaner” did that.  Nope, it was dopey me. But despite the unfortunate scissor scars….my CHI looks and feels like new!


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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    I NEVER would have tried dryer sheets until I read a post from above. I have used the peroxide & baking soda but its messy. I ran the dryer sheet through my flat iron once & IMMEDIATELY it was spotless!! Sticking to that trick from now on! Thank you!

  2. Anonymous says

    What happened to,..if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all?? JS,..neway thanks for all the tips,..I will try each one and see which works best for me. Thank you and God Bless

  3. beexm says

    I've used magic erasers in the past and they've worked great, but we usually don't keep them around unless it's spring cleaning time…These are all great tips for when I desperately need to clean my flat iron and can't run to the store, and so much more cost-effective! Thanks so much for sharing!:)

  4. Anonymous says

    I am an educator for farouk systems the company that makes chi and its a wonderful iron but just to add to the cleanliness of the iron if you use the chi products u will rarely have the gross hair spray build up .
    thanks for sharing

  5. Anonymous says

    as soon as I start to get this on the edges, I turn my flat iron on and immediately use a baby wipe to get it off. just be careful you don't burn yourself. the heat helps to soften the 'gunk.'

  6. Melissa says

    I used rubbing alcohol to get my gunk off, it worked wonderfully. Mine wasn’t nearly as caked on as that because I rarely use it, but it was still disturbingly dirty to a clean freak. :)

  7. Melissa says

    Also, it isn’t advised to use a sharp straight edge on the ceramic because it can scrape it!! like you said. I though using a razor blade (think: used for cleaning ceramic cook top0 but after I realized it was taking off finish I stopped doing that.

  8. Zeva says

    My flat iron look the same, scissor nicks and all! I ran across your blog from pintrest.
    Heading to the store after work to pick up some “supplies”. I think I have found 101 uses for baking soda and vinager!

  9. Sara says

    I’m a stylist and all my appliances, including my flat iron, get a ton of gunk build up. The best, and least harmful, way to clean a flat iron is to use a soft steel wool and some alcohol. It won’t leave any scaring and all of the gunk will come off. :)

  10. April says

    I have a chi flat iron that also contained build up and I tried rubbing alcohol with a cotton ball which didn’t work so I was desperate and used a brillo pad cleaning lightly and it worked removing all the build up and leaving no scratches on the plates just a tip!

  11. Renee says

    The best way I have found to clean hair spray build up from my curling iron is oven cleaner. Just spray on, let sit for awhile, and the gunk wipes right off like magic! Haven’t tried it on a flat iron, but I suppose it would work the same.

  12. Robin says

    I have always just heated up my iron…then when hot, I unplug it, then I carefully put a wet washcloth between the two sides hold it a few seconds then rub the irons down with it and the gunk comes off. No cost, just an old wash cloth and water.

  13. allison says

    Hey Jill – I had some leftover peroxide/baking soda solution after trying this on my flat iron. I put the solution in the sink with warm water and dropped in my hair product-covered round brush and comb and gunk floated to the top of the water almost immediately. I’ve never seen that brush clean up so quickly and easily. Thanks for the “miracle cleaner.” :)

  14. Sheri says

    The easiest way I have found to clean my flat iron was to pour a bit of rubbing alcohol on a cloth and wipe everything clean- handle, plates, cord all of it!! Give it a try. No elbow grease required ;)

  15. Michelle says

    Thanks for all these wonderful tips. I have a flat iron that has build up and have been trying to figure out how to get it cleaned. I have used the wet wash cloth and the baby wipe, but still ended up with build up! Cant wait to go and try these tips now. Thanks!

  16. Jordan says

    I have been using the same Chi, for a little over 2 years and I have never had any “Gunk” on my straightener. Though I do have a different hair styler I use and I will try the dryer sheet trick.

  17. k says

    This didn’t work for me. :( I then tried the nail polish remover, and I do NOT suggest that. I think it damaged my Chi. It turned the plate I used it on a different color and seems like it was rubbing the ceramic or something off. I then tried alcohol and had a bit more luck, but still didn’t get all the build up off.

    Good thing is, I didn’t let the baking soda/peroxide mix go to waste. I brushed my teeth with the remaining. It makes a great teeth whitener. :)

  18. Kimberly says

    Spray Windex on your irons and leave it for a couple of minutes. Everything will wipe right off with no effort at all. I’m a stylist and my irons have been through it all. Works like a charm everytime ;-)

  19. Erica S. says

    I was just about to try your baking soda method but I did not have the materials already. As I was reading through the comments, I found a tip to use a steel wool pad and some alcohol. I didn’t have alcohol either but the steel wool pad worked amazingly. Even with gentle strokes, the caked on gunk came right off and left damage to my ceramic tourmaline T3. My gunk has been on there for at least a year because that’s when I stopped using it. It was a heavy build-up and I tried to use Dissolve Styling Iron cleaner but it didn’t work at all. If I ever need to I’ll the baking soda method a try but I am extremely happy with the steel wool method. (I didn’t use any liquids until after removal to get rid of the dust from the steel wool pad.)

  20. amy conrad says

    I am sooooooooooo trying this I have done the alcohol with no avail, and have tried nail polish remover didn’t work either……So I will keep trying different things till something works. Thank You for sharing with us!!!

    God Bless
    Amy Conrad

  21. Alicia says

    I’ve used hand sanitizer with a paper towel on a warm(not hot) iron and that worked fine for me. The alcohol dries quickly so you don’t have to worry so much about damaging wiring.

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  26. Melissa says

    Rubbing ANYTHING on my straightner seemed like the biggest waste of time
    I warmed it up and waited for the powder mixed with peroxide to bubble and then scrub too – in the end i just took to it with my scissors :/

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