Forgetting To Clean Your Hair Tools Could Be Costing More Than You Realise

by Lauren Sharkey

Having a hair washing schedule is pretty common, but it's easy to forget that it's not just your hair that needs a deep clean. Brushes, hairdryers, straighteners, and more all require a little TLC every now and then. So how often do you need to clean your hair tools? I spoke to some experts to find out.

Not only is cleaning your hair tools necessary from a hygienic standpoint, but it's also necessary to keep things working and looking the way they should. Failing to clean tools can cause damage to both your hair and the tools themselves, resulting in a less than healthy look and potentially expensive replacement costs.

Thankfully, you don't have to clean them as often as you might think. Here's everything you need to know.


Brushes arguably require the most attention. According to Paola Pinto, education director at Rush Hair, they "can become matted very quickly, so you can either clean them after each use, or just as soon as you see a build-up of hair." Obviously, the thicker your hair, the quicker you may need to clean your brush.

If you don't remove dead hair from brushes, the brush may not work properly due to a blockage of its strokes, explains Pinto. Steve Elstein, vice president of product development and research at ghd, also notes that regular cleansing will "prevent product and oils being transferred back onto your locks."

It turns out that the best way to physically clean brushes isn't to shove your fingers between the bristles. Instead, Pinto recommends using a pin tail comb, "lifting the hair stuck in the brush strokes out by placing the thin 'pin' end underneath the hair on the brush and pulling up." Alternatively, gently run a standard comb through the bristles, "tugging up the old hair and pulling the rest away with your hands."



No one is expecting you to clean your hairdryer after each use. But around every three weeks is a good period to aim for if you use your hairdryer every other day, says Pinto.

Anything from dust and debris to actual hair can get stuck in the back of a hairdryer, which can cause it to overheat, blow up, or even break altogether. "This is because the air needs to pushed out of the hairdryer smoothly," she explains. "Blockages preventing this can quickly cause the appliance’s temperature to rise to dangerous levels."

This is one tool that you can use your hands for. Simply pull out the hair and other build-up from the back. Pinto notes that you may be able to make things easier by removing the entire vent, depending on the make of your hairdryer. Once everything is gone, run it under water. But "if you do this, you must ensure it is totally dry before reattaching and using the hairdryer again," she says.

Straighteners, tongs, and other styling tools

Styling tools should be checked fortnightly. “Ceramic plates of straighteners can harbour grime if not properly cleaned," says Elstein. "Hairspray, oils, and other heavy products can build up not only on your hair, but on your tools too, on top of oils that are secreted from your own scalp, which can damage your locks if the device is not regularly cleansed." A build-up of product can often be noticed via a burning smell, notes Pinto.

There are a couple of ways to clean stylers. Before doing anything though, make sure they are unplugged and have had time to cool down.

Elstein recommends using dampening organic cotton wool with nail varnish remover "to wipe down the styler plates and body. You may need to rub hard depending upon how dirty your styler is." Leave it a couple of hours to dry before plugging in and using. You can also dip a cloth into warm to hot water to keep everything from straighteners to curling tongs clean, according to Pinto. Wipe the damp, not dripping, cloth along the ceramic part of the tool and voilà.

Simple, right?