Polko has a special technique for refreshing flat irons. “I like to use a wet paper towel, clamp [the iron] and pull it out,” Polko explains. “You can use a makeup or baby wipe, too.” But if you choose to use a wipe or another solution that can leave behind a residue, she recommends wiping it once again to remove anything leftover. “When it’s completely cooled down and you’re running your finger over [the tool], it should feel smooth,” she continues. 

Choi suggests wiping your tools after they have cooled off with a damp towel. If the product buildup is stubborn, grab some rubbing alcohol.  This can be helpful when it comes to residue behind by hairsprays, pomades, or other sticky products.

Oh, and one last thing, “never submerge a hot tool under water,” O’Connor warns. (You probably knew this already — but we had to say it.)

How should you clean hairbrushes and combs?

Warm soapy water is all you need, says Todd Faulk, a hair educator at Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute Dallas. As mentioned previously, using harsh cleansers on your tools can end up destroying them. That said, “porous tools, such as a wooden handle hairbrush, can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol,” adds Faulk. 

Of course, getting the gunk out of bristles can require a little more elbow grease. O’Connor likes to soak round brushes in a solution of disinfectant soap and very hot water to help remove any dirt, dead skin cells, or product buildup.

All the hairstylists recommend using a comb to help remove hair and any other buildup in brushes. “I like to use a fine-tooth comb and scrape through [the brush] and keep pushing the hair out,” Polko says. 

Allen has an easy tip: “Take a comb in your dominant hand while holding your brush in the other,” she explains. “Proceed to place the comb across the brush like the small letter “t” and stroke down the brush.”

If you clean your brushes often enough that you’re willing to invest in a specialized tool, Choi recommends the Olivia Garden Brush Cleaner, a double-sided rake with metal teeth. One side is longer and wider while the other is much smaller, which is helpful to target areas where errant hair has gotten particularly tangled. 

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