The effects of chlorine plasma treatment on HfSiON gate dielectrics were investigated with respect to device performance and reliability characteristics. The chlorine plasma treatment was performed on atomic layer deposited HfSiON films to remove the residual carbon content. The optimal chlorine plasma treatment is shown to lower gate leakage current density without increasing equivalent oxide thickness of the gate stack. Secondary ion mass spectroscopy depth profiling showed that the carbon residue in HfSiON was reduced by the chlorine plasma treatment. It is demonstrated that an optimized chlorine plasma treatment improves the transistor Ion-Ioff characteristics and reduces negative-bias temperature instability.