The ceramic plates on a hair straightener, or flat iron, become dirty over time and require cleaning. If you don't regularly use a hair straightener, you may notice a buildup of dust on it. Wipe this clean with a dry cloth. A flat iron that's used regularly, however, requires more intensive cleaning. A buildup of styling products and oils from the scalp will prevent the styling tool from working efficiently. Cleaning the straightener is a simple process.
Spritz the hair straightener's plates with cleaner. There are cleaners made specifically for straighteners. You can also use rubbing alcohol. Regardless of what you use, let the liquid soak on the surface of the cool iron for a few minutes. Don't try to clean the iron while it's still warm, because the cleaner will evaporate before it has time to work.
Use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe the ceramic plates clean. Clean in the small grooves of the hair straightener with a cotton swab.
Remove stubborn stains. Some people regularly use hairspray or heat protectant before styling. This helps the hair maintain its style for a longer period, but also creates a great deal of buildup on the hair straightener. Use a toothpick to clean in the smallest crevices, and follow up by dipping an old toothbrush in rubbing alcohol and scrubbing the ceramic plates.
Check for damage. Cleaning is the perfect time to check the flat iron for damage. Small nicks in the ceramic plates can catch on your hair, causing split ends and other problems.
Remove burnt-on buildup. Buildup that doesn’t come off with a toothbrush may be removed gently with a steel wool pad. Check the plates frequently to make sure you aren't scratching them.