I know this goes without saying, but sometimes we product junkies get caught up in the thrill of the product chase and neglect our precious tools. But after weeks of getting serious mileage put on them, the tools we use on our textured tresses need a little TLC. Keep them in tip-top shape with these easy to implement tips for cleaning

Electronic tools (Steamer, Flat iron, Blow dryer)

Electronic tools are trickier to clean, because well, they're electronics and cannot be submerged in water like combs and brushes can. The best thing to do here is wet a cloth, towel, t-shirt, or microfiber towel, and add a little bit of soap or shampoo to it. Rub your cloth of choice against itself to create a light lather, and begin wiping your tools down. You can follow behind it with another towel that's damp with water only to wipe up the soap residue and let the tools air-dry. For grooves around things like flat-iron plates and blow dryer buttons that have gunk and product buildup in them, grab a toothpick or remove the protective bulb from one end of a bobby pin and use the tip to trace the shape of the groove. After that, wipe with the damp soapy cloth, and repeat the process until it's completely clean.

Insider Tip: If you own a steaming tool like the Q-Redew, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water in the reservoir, and plug it in. Once ready to use, hold the button handle down and allow the water and vinegar mix to come through the holes. The vinegar will help clear up the buildup and mineral deposits that may be impeding the flow of steam.

PHOTO COURTESY OF INDIAN BEAUTY CENTRAL

Combs & Brushes

Cleaning combs and brushes is important to do, and of all tools, they're the easiest to clean. Combs and brushes can get some serious buildup on them from detangling, parting, curl clumping, and being used to slick edges, ponytails, and buns. To clean your combs and brushes, simply fill a sink or large bowl with warm/hot (not scalding!) water and immerse your tools. To clean them, you can use dish soap, or even shampoo. You know that shampoo you bought that you thought was going to be great, but actually dried your hair out? Yeah, use that to clean your tools! Once they're all gussied up, pat them dry with a towel (or paper towels) and allow them to finish air drying before storing them away.

Insider Tips: For buildup stuck between the teeth of combs, use a nail brush soaked in water and shampoo, and run it briskly up and down the length of the comb teeth, intermittently dunking it in the water to loosen the gunk. To get gunk from your soft bristle brushes, before you clean a comb, use it to work and rake through the bristles, intermittently dunking the brush into the water to loosen buildup.

Styling Tools (Curlformers, Perm Rods, Diffusers)

Much like combs and brushes, styling tools like flexi rods, perm rods, and Curlformers take a lot of use and abuse from creams, gels, foaming mousses, and more. So naturally, to keep them in tip-top shape, they need to be cleaned from time to time. For perm rods and Curlformers, you can follow the same practice (and even wash them at the same time) as you would do for combs and brushes. Dunk them, add soap or shampoo, scrub gently (as necessary), rinse, pat dry, and allow them to dry completely before storage. Flexi rods are a bit trickier, because of their slightly porous foam material composition, and the button snaps (what are those things? lol) on each end. There's ample opportunity for those to become soaked in water and never dry out--rendering them useless. It's a little more tedious--but wash them like you would your electronic tools. Wipe them down with a cloth containing warm, soapy water. You can rinse them briefly, darting them under the water, and squeeze each rod gently while towel drying. Ensure they are completely dry and there's no water trapped inside before storage.

Insider Tip: Use your blow dryer (without an attachment) to expedite the drying process for curling tools.

Scarves, Bonnets, and Satin Pillowcases

Your nighttime hair protection needs to be washed too! Oils, products, (and sometimes drool and sweat #behonest) end up on our satin pillowcases, bonnets, and satin scarves.  Depending on their origin and materials, there are two different ways to handle cleaning them. If your products are on the cheaper side of life like mine (my satin scarves came from Sally's, my satin pillowcase from Target), throwing them in the washer and dryer with your towels is just fine. I don't recommend washing them with your clothes, because the product buildup and oils may stain your clothing. However, if you have a nicer, hand-made bonnet, scarf, or pillowcase made of quality materials from EboniCurls or FlorBella Boutique, hand wash it with a gentle detergent or shampoo, and allow it to air-dry on a flat surface to avoid wrinkles.

When was the last time you cleaned your hair tools?