How to Properly Clean and Maintain Your Styling Tools

Anytime you purchase new hair tools, you’re making an investment. The average lifespan of hot tools is anywhere from two to seven years. While the number depends mainly on the quality of the product, another significant factor is how often you use it — as a professional, that’s probably almost daily. While it’s inevitable that you’ll have to replace your equipment from time to time, with proper cleaning and storage, you can maximize the longevity of your styling tools. To help you out, we put together a go-to guide to make maintenance as effortless as possible. 

How to Clean Hair Tools

If you’re using hot tools almost daily, you should clean them at least once a week. Don’t start the process without turning off your device, unplugging it, and waiting until it’s cool to the touch. Also, never immerse your hot tools in water. 

Flat Irons

Styling products such as heat protectants, mousses, gels, and hair sprays are essential for eliminating frizz, adding volume, providing shine, and giving the hair movement, shape, and hold. However, they can also create a sticky buildup on the metal plates of your flat iron. Along with visually being a turnoff (for your clients, too), it also hinders your iron’s performance. 

How to clean a flat iron: Saturate a washcloth with warm, soapy water and gently (this is key to prevent damage) rub it over the plates of your flat iron. If the residue isn’t coming off easily, opt for a cotton pad soaked with rubbing alcohol. 

Curling Irons and Wavers

Curling irons and wavers may be one of the most abused hot tools because they’re often coupled with hairspray to keep those curls and waves in place. If the buildup is minimal, rubbing alcohol on a cotton round should be sufficient. However, if your curling iron requires a deeper cleaning, make a mixture of baking soda and water to clean your curling wand and clamp — top and underside. Be careful not to make the solution overly abrasive, so you don’t damage your tool.

Hot Brushes

Cleaning a hot brush is similar to cleaning a regular brush and requires removing hair and product residue. Use the handle of a tail comb or nail scissors to remove excess hair and any buildup that’s stuck in the vents. Use a damp cloth (water only) to clean between the bristles and the handle gently. If there’s any stubborn product residue on the handle, use a cotton pad saturated with rubbing alcohol. Use a dry cloth to remove any remaining moisture so it doesn’t damage the motor. 

Hair Dryers 

Start by removing the filter on the back of your hair dryer — some twist off, while others require a screwdriver. Run the filter under running water until clean. Dry with a lint-free cloth. Wait until the filter is completely dry before reattaching it. If the dirt, hair, and dust are extra stubborn, use a toothbrush or vacuum hose to remove all debris. 

Clippers and Trimmers

Unlike hot tools, clippers need daily maintenance to preserve efficiency while keeping hygienic practices top of mind. Give a generous spray of clipper spray, such as BaByliss PRO All-In-One Clipper Spray, onto your blades to disinfect, lubricate, clean, and present rust. Remove residue and excess hair using a large and then small brush for hard-to-reach areas. 

After you’ve cleaned, disinfected, and dried your blades, apply clipper oil, such as Andis Clipper Oil. Turn on your clippers so the product is evenly distributed before turning off. Leave your clippers in a place overnight where they won’t attract dust and debris. The next day, remove extraneous oil with a soft microfiber cloth. 

Hair Tool Storage

Find a dedicated drawer or cabinet for your styling tools in a clean, dry place because moisture can cause damage. Make sure there’s enough room so it remains organized. While you should always put your tools away when they’re cool, heat-safe containers, pouches, or wraps are always a good idea — especially if you’re taking your work on the go. Neatly wrap cords to prevent tangling. 

How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Styling Tools

Signs you need to replace your styling tools include:

  • Broken or frayed cords
  • The inability to completely clean the plates, barrel, or filter
  • The temperature rises and falls dramatically
  • Scratches on the plates or barrel
  • A burning or electrical smell when in use

Maintaining your styling tools is crucial for financial, sanitary, and safety reasons. Of course, it all starts with quality equipment, so shop the entire ProStylingTools collection so you have confidence knowing your tools will go the extra mile — especially if you take care of them.
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