Hair clippers need good care and maintenance just like any other tool in the world. If you fail to do so, the blades will gradually lose its sharpness. And you know what happens when you try to shave your beard with a dull clipper? Painful Snagging and nicking.
You should ideally wipe off the stray hair and oil the blades after each use. If you are a professional stylist, run a barbershop or share your clipper with multiple users, you need to disinfect it too.
Don’t worry. It might sound like a lot of work right now. But in reality, cleaning a hair clipper isn’t that difficult. You only need a few basic equipment for this.
But before I tell you all the steps and tips for cleaning a hair clipper, you should understand why cleaning a hair clipper is too damn important.
Periodically Cleaning Your Hair Clipper Is Essential- Here’s Why
Shaving your face or head with an unclean clipper is not only difficult but also gross. Hair clippers are a long-term investment. Buying a replacement blade twice a year does not make any sense at all. So by taking care of your blades, you are actually saving a lot of money.
To get the best performance out of your hair clipper, sanitize and oil your blades as often as you can. Greasing the blades will reduce friction, making them contour smoothly. This will, in turn, keep the motor in good condition by taking the strain off it.
It’s not just the blades that require a good cleaning action. The small compartment inside the trimmer head has a lot of dirt, grime, and loose hair stuck in it. Not cleaning them frequently will make the blades clog up.
Using a clogged up trimmer on your face can lead to razor bumps, burn, nicking, rashes, redness, and itching. Also, you will definitely experience a lot of tugging and pulling.
Proper maintenance of tools is all the more important if you are a professional hair stylist or barber. If you keep giving your clients skin infection or razor bumps, your business will be shut down soon. Any barber worth his salt should know the importance of good cleaning practices.
I hope that, by now, you have realized the significance of maintaining a proper cleaning routine for all your grooming tools.
Now it’s time for action!
Below is a step-by-step guideline on how to clean hair clippers like an expert barber:
Cleaning The Hair Clipper: A Step-by-Step and Detailed Guideline
Step 1: Remove the Extra Hair Bits
Make sure your clipper is unplugged and the cord is detached from the electrical outlet before you get started.
Your first task is to wipe off the wild hair bits stuck inside the blade compartment.
If you own a model that features a separate storage compartment for loose hair and gunk, detach and empty it straight into a trash can.
If your model doesn’t have any compartment like this, first remove the comb guides. Take a small blade cleaning brush or cosmetic to sweep away the loose hair.
You can also remove the whole blade unit and then brush the hair away if your device allows for it.
Note: You can also use an old hardened toothbrush for cleaning. Do not use a steel wool or cotton ball to clean the hair and dirt around the blades.
Step 2: Disassemble the Clipper
Different models have different disassembling methods. Most models allow you to detach the shaving head, metal guards, foil and comb attachments. Refer to the user’s manual for more precise information on this.
Step 3: The Real Cleaning Begins- Disinfecting the Trimmer Blades and Accessories
This is the most vital stage of this entire process. Trimmer blades come directly in contact with our hair and scalp. An unclean trimmer blade is the house of a million germs and bacteria which can cause skin infections.
That’s why barbers and professional groomers recommend disinfecting the blade at least twice a month if you are a single user. If multiple individuals use your clipper on a daily basis, you should clean the blades every day just to be safe.
There are 3 possible ways to sterilize hair clippers-
- Using rubbing alcohol or a store-bought liquid disinfectant.
- Using distilled vinegar.
- Using a clipper spray.
Ways to Sanitize a Hair Clipper with Rubbing Alcohol or Liquid Disinfectant
Sanitizing your hair clipper periodically will not only keep you safe from infections but will also keep the blades in mint condition.
I would normally use 70% Isopropyl alcohol to sterilize clipper blades. There are no bacteria in the world that can survive 70% rubbing alcohol. If you are experiencing itching, razor bumps, pimples or redness after shaving with your trimmer, sterilizing the blade is likely to solve the problem.
You can also use a blade disinfectant solution for the job. A quality blade care liquid keeps the blades rust-free, sharp, sterilized and sharp for years.
After disassembling your hair clipper, you have to-
- Pour ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol In a container.
- Soak the blade (not the shaving head or accessories) in the alcohol.
- If using a blade wash, simply open the lid of the container and dip the blade in it.
- Leave it on for 30 seconds.
- Take out the blade and gently wipe it off with a dry cloth.
- Let it air dry.
- Oil the blades before reattaching on the trimmer head.
Sterilizing a Hair Clipper with the Potency of White Distilled Vinegar
If you don’t have rubbing alcohol handy or you don’t want to invest in a blade-cleaning solution, white vinegar will also do the job. This acidic solution will remove the mold organism and kills all the bacteria species usually found on a barber’s clipper.
For this, you have to-
- Let all the detachable parts soak in warm water for 10 minutes.
- Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a container.
- Let the blades, shaving head, and other parts soak in it for 15-20 minutes.
- Wipe off the parts with a soft and dry cloth afterward.
- Let them air-dry.
- Oil the blades.
Clipper Spray to Sterilize and Cool Off Hair Clipper Blades
This is by far the easiest way to remove bacteria, fungi, germs, and dirt from the clipper blades. Using a clipper spray is mandatory for all barbers in the U.S. You know a barber knows his job well when he sprays the blades right before using the trimmer on you.
These sprays protect the blade from rust, mold, and mildew. It also lubricates the blades and releases a nice cooling sensation on your face while shaving.
Step 4: Don’t Leave the Comb Attachments Unattended
Just like the blades, the comb attachments also attract tons of bacteria from your hair and scalp over time. You also need to clean the grease and dirt accumulated in the nooks and crannies of these tiny combs.
To do so, you have to-
- Rinse the combs manually with soapy water.
- Hold them under running tap water to wash off the soap.
- Wipe off the excess water with a cloth.
- Allow the combs to air-dry overnight.
- Store them in a clean box.
Step 5: Oiling Your Way to A Smooth Shave
Oiling the moving blades keeps them sharp, strong and effective for a long time. If your blades are not oiled properly, you will nick your face quite often while shaving. Professional level clippers have to withstand more abuse, which is why they require regular oiling.
Irrespective of how profusely your trimmer is used, the rule of thumb is to oil the blade after each trimming or shaving session. It will keep the blade in great condition for many years.
Here’s how to do it:
- Make sure the blades are clean, sterilized and completely dry before oiling.
- Go over to the sink and hold the clipper downward over it.
- Put 2-3 drops of blade lubricating oil on the blades. Doing it in over the sink will help avoid the greasy mess. Also, do not overuse the oil.
- Switch on the clipper. The fast movement of the blades will distribute the oil evenly across all the blades on the cutting surface.
- Turn it off and wipe off the excess oil with a paper towel.
Note: Check out your product’s user guide before you start oiling. Some models require you to lubricate the other metal moving parts inside the trimmer housing.
Almost every hair clipper comes with a bottle of clipper oil. If you run out of it, you can easily buy refills. I’d not suggest using any mechanical oil on clippers.
The initial cost of buying a hair clipper might be high. But if you take care of it well, it will pay for itself with its long-lasting performance. If you are a first-time user, make cleaning your hair clipper a habit after each grooming session. Once the habit is built, there’s no looking back.