An electric razor can last much longer if you maintain it properly. Even if you purchased yours on sale, why not make it last as long as possible? The longer it last, the cheaper your initial investment.
Monetary investment isn’t the only reason to spend the time to clean your electric razor. Your skin cells, hair cuttings, and oils build up inside your device. They’re a trove of food perfect for bacteria.
Below, you’ll find out how to clean a rotary head shaver and a foil head shaver. Not only that, but I describe the best ways to clean wet/dry shavers and dry shavers.
Make sure you know what kind of shaver you have before cleaning!
Many dry shavers can’t have their inner parts exposed to water. And cleaning a wet/dry shaver without water will reduce its effectiveness.
Quick Clean vs Deep Clean
As a rule, you want to quick clean your razor every week and deep clean once a month. A quick clean can be as simple as running the razor under hot water. With a dry razor you can open the head and blow or brush out the hair.
I choose to quick clean my electric razor on the weekend when I have more time. I save deep cleanings for the beginning of the month.
It doesn’t matter what day you choose, just be smart about it. Think of a day you’ll stick to and add it into your calendar.
The processes I’m taking you through are for a deep clean. Don’t be alarmed at the steps and supplies you need. The actual process is quite simple.
Some shavers you buy come with a cleaning station that does the work for you. If that’s the case, do your best to use the station every few weeks at the minimum.
Items You’ll Need to Clean an Electric Razor
Before buying any cleaning supplies for this task, consult your manual. Some manufacturers recommend certain products over others.
Conversely, manufacturers will sometimes tell you not to practice the general tips I recommend. When in doubt, side with your manual’s advice.
Also, it’s good to know your way around your shaver. The best way to do that is to read your manual.
Here’s what you’ll need to deep clean your electric razor:
Soft Bristled Tooth brush
An old toothbrush works great so long as you disinfect it first with rubbing alcohol. If you have an electric toothbrush, save your old head.
Make sure your toothbrush has soft bristles. This is especially true with foil shavers as they’re more delicate. Nothing wiry, tough, or sharp should ever touch your shaver’s foil.
Damp Cloth or Paper Towels
You need something on your counter that can catch all the hairs. Microfiber cloths work and you can re-use them. Paper towels serve the job just fine, too.
Rubber Blower or Canned Air
With a dry shaver, you need something to blow out the hard-to-reach hairs. You can skip this item if you have a wet electric razor.
I recommend a rubber blower. They’re re-usable and won’t run out of air. Canned air products are great, but you’ll won’t be cutting any costs by buying one.
Small Bowl of Warm Water and Dish Detergent
Mix a bowl of warm water with dish detergent. A drop or two will do. You’ll use this to run your rotary head or water proof foil shaver head under and clean out the hairs.
Soap is great for cutting grease and oil, but you need alcohol to rid your shaver of pesky microbes. Any drugstore worth a visit will have rubbing alcohol. Purchase a high alcohol content, 90% at least. The higher the alcohol content, the quicker it will dry.
Clipper Oil, or White Mineral Oil
You can do worse than add a little clipper oil at the end of a deep clean. Nearly all electric razor blades run better, sharper, and cooler with oil.
A well-oiled machine doesn’t just apply to your car. If you have a specific razor spray, great. Never use machine oil (like WD40) on your razor.
Things to Know Before Starting
Now that you have all your cleaning supplies, create a workspace.
The bathroom is a logical place, especially if you have a wet shave razor you’ll be running under water.
Personally, I like to do my thorough cleans at the kitchen sink. You have more workspace in the kitchen. Plus, the water pressure in my house favors the kitchen sink.
There are so many razors on the market, I can’t possibly detail every manufacturer’s cleaning process.
But all electric razors go through a similar process. Your manual will state the exact procedure, like how to take off the shaver head or how to re-assemble your rotary pieces.
How to Clean a Foil Electric Razor
The cleaning method for a foil shaver is much quicker than a rotary.
There’s fewer moving parts and the cutting blades are bigger than their complicated cousins.
Some foil shavers can be cleaned under water while others can only be cleaned with dry tools. Make sure you know the difference.
Cleaning a dry-only foil shaver under water leads to a dead shaver. And a wet shaver wiped off without a deep soak won’t be nearly as effective.
Dry Foil Deep Cleaning Method
Be gentle when cleaning dry shave electric razors like the Wahl Five Star Finale. The foils are delicate.
Detach the shaver head. Usually there’s a button on the side. Then tap out the clippings onto the paper towel.
Be gentle with foil shaver heads. They’re much more delicate than a rotary razor. Use a soft or ultra soft toothbrush and scrape down the inside walls of the head. Don’t touch the foil itself. There’s no need.
With your canned air or rubber blower, shoot air into the foil. This will clean any small particles that are trapped between the mesh.
Now, grab the shaver body and your toothbrush. Use quick downward strokes over your paper town and clean the tops of the blades, then the sides, and finally the base. Grab your air making device again and blow out any hair the brush couldn’t wipe away.
Note: Some dry foil shavers are cassette shavers. Without access to the blade, all you can do is use a brush and rubber blower to blow out any hair. Then, disinfect with some alcohol. Once dry, dab a single drop of oil onto each foil blade. That’s it.
Wet Foil Deep Clean Method
If you can use your foil shaver with shaving gel or in the shower, then it’s a wet shaver. Unlike many dry shavers, you can’t access the cutting blades. The blades are within the shaving head or cassette. So, there’s a lot less you can do.
Remove the head and tap the base of the head on your towel. With your toothbrush, clean out what you can.
Wet shavers often have gunk inside them from the dried shaving gel. A good scrubbing will help to disturb the built up, hard bits.
Ready your bowl of warm water and detergent. Re-attach the cassette and run the shaver head under the water. If the shaver has a turbo or high speed or clean setting use it here.
Wipe off the shaver head with your towel and let it sit to dry for an hour. When you come back, place a drop of oil in the device, then run it for about a minute.
Dab a paper towel or a corner of your cloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe the cutting surface of the shaver’s foils. Let it sit to air dry.
How to Clean a Rotary Electric Razor
Rotary Electric Razor deep cleaning is like foil shavers but with one major difference. The shaver heads dissemble into multiple parts. You’ll spend more time removing components and putting them back together.
Click open your electric shaver. On the inside of the head, in the dead center of the three rotating blades, you’ll find a plastic knob. Twist the knob and the housing will pop off, allowing you access to the individual heads.
Once removed, you can poke your finger through the outside of the heads. They’ll fall out onto your cloth.
I don’t recommend using your hands to catch the heads. The razor heads are sharp. Although you can touch them with your hands, they can still slice you if you aren’t paying attention.
Rinse off every piece individually. Make sure you get the hairs that stick in between the razor head pieces. The heads separate into two or three pieces, depending on your model. So, use your fingers and grab the plastic trunk and pull them apart.
For a rotary shaver, this is the most important step. Most reduced performance comes from clogged up hairs within the blade head housing.
Thoroughly dry your shaver head parts before re-assembling. Let it dry for an hour. Then place a drop of oil into each rotary blade. Run the shaver for about one minute.
Lastly, wipe a cotton ball or cloth dabbed in rubbing alcohol over the foils. You’re all done.
Note: Although rare, some rotary shavers are dry-only. You can use the same disassembling process as with wet cleaning. Use the rubber blower and toothbrush instead of water and detergent. The final step is the same. You want to apply oil and alcohol after cleaning.
Respect Your Electric Razor Relationship
Think about it: your razor probably touches your face more than your significant other. Every morning you rub the foils over your skin and expect it to perform flawlessly.
Like any relationship, your razor will last longer and perform better if you respect it. A large part of that respect involves maintenance.
Replacement parts for your shaver aren’t cheap. When you avoid your weekly and monthly maintenance all you’re doing is quickening the inevitable purchase of new shaver parts. Plus, the more your razor’s motor struggles to run with clogged parts, the lower its overall life expectancy.
Don’t worry if you take a few tries to perfect your maintenance routine. I’ve used the same routine with my razor and finish now within fifteen minutes. Once you develop the skill, you’ll have it for the rest of your life.