You know you're supposed to clean and replace your makeup tools, like brushes and sponges, but what about the tools you use for your tresses? Heat styling tools are generally low-maintenance - you don't need to get them tuned up or bring them in for repairs. However, like your makeup brushes, they need a minor level of cleaning in order to stay as effective as possible (and keep your hair looking vibrant and healthy!)
When you style your hair, hair sprays, straightening creams and balms, and other hair products tend to come off on the hot surface, and when the tool cools, you're left with a somewhat sticky residue that can eventually turn into a hard layer of gunk that makes the curling iron, straightener or other tool less effective. Plus, sometimes the goo comes off on your locks - yuck!
You can't just dunk it all in the tub, though. The best way to clean off the build-up is to use a cotton swab or pad soaked in alcohol or white vinegar. You can also spritz it on using a spray bottle, then wipe down using a rag. It's sometimes easier to de-gunk your junk when the it's still somewhat warm, so unplug after use, wait until it's cool enough to touch, then start the cleaning process.
White vinegar and alcohol will kill off any bacteria and germs on the tools while also cleaning off the burned hair product residue. Then, they're good as new!
So, how often should you wipe 'em down? For tools you use every day, it's a good idea to start cleaning them about once a week, but if you only use that double-barrel curling iron once in a while, you can limit the spritzing to once or twice a month, or only when the build-up is obvious.