An Easy Guide to Hair Clipper Maintenance

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Barber cleaning electric hair clipper

A good quality pair of hair clippers will not only save you a lot of money and time, they will also last you many years if you look after them properly.

If your clippers are in frequent use, you really need to ensure they are in constant, good working order.

Even if you only occasionally cut your own hair, or other people’s hair at home, it’s important your clippers are clean, hygienic and serviceable when you store them.

Some basic care and maintenance will keep your clippers performing to their best and prolong their life.

If you simply want to know how to clean your hair clippers, or learn how to fully maintain them, this guide is for you.

Keep Your Hair Clippers Clean

Ensuring your hair clippers stay clean and hygienic will have numerous benefits, mainly:

  • Blade Stays Sharper for Longer

Grit, hairs and debris from your environment will all contribute to the clipper blade becoming blunt.

Regular cleaning (before and after each use) will help keep your blade sharp and extend its lifetime.

  • Protection from Germs and Bacteria

Germs and bacteria will build up very quickly and can cause all manor of infections if you don’t clean and disinfect your hair clippers.

How To Clean Hair Clippers

Start by brushing the entire hair clipper with a large, fairly soft brush.

You just want to get rid of the majority of hair as quickly as possible.

A clothes brush is ideal, as they don’t shed bristles.

Once you’ve removed the bulk of the hair and any obvious debris, you’ll need a smaller brush to make sure the blade area is clean, and all hair and debris is removed.

If you have a detachable blade, follow the clipper’s instructions to remove it.

Most clipper sets come with their own small clipper brush and cleaning kit. I find a lot of these brushes to be too small and flimsy.

I prefer to use an old, hard toothbrush to really get in among the ‘nooks and crannies’.

You can also use a wire brush, a cheap fingernail brush or hair tint brush, as long as they are quite sturdy.

Amazon sell a decent clipper cleaning brush if you haven’t got anything suitable.

Simply spend some time brushing away all the hair clippings and debris from the blade area.

These small deposits can act like grit or sand if they get between the blades and blade teeth.

If not removed they will eventually damage and blunt the blades.

Brush everything away. Blowing sharply into the area will also help.

Use A Liquid Solution To Remove Remaining Hairs

Visually clean clippers and blades are a must in order to prevent hairs from clogging up the mechanics of a clipper.

A brush will only remove so much.

In order to remove the hairs and debris you can’t see, or you can’t blow away, you’ll need to use a liquid solution that penetrates deep into the blade area.

Andis 7-in-1 liquid is designed to cool, deodorize, lubricate, clean and prevent rust and decontaminates.

It also claims to be enriched with vitamin E – although why you’d need is rather strange. Sounds like horse shit to me!

Either way, this liquid does a hell of a job at removing the last remaining hairs. You’ll be amazed at what still comes out once you dip the blade in this stuff.

This Blade Care Plus works extremely well in removing the tiny hairs that get left behind, and cleaning the working parts of your clipper.

Simply dip the clipper blade into the liquid, and turn it on. A good idea is to pour the liquid into the lid.

Let it run for about 20-30 seconds.

Once it’s worked its magic, you’ll need somewhere to let it drip, so all the tiny hairs can slide out.

You can stand your clipper upright or let it hang from its hook. Have some paper towels to hand, to catch the gunk.

Wait a few minutes and then wipe your clipper down with a clean cloth.

Here’s a great video showing you how to clean hair clippers using the Andis Blade Care Plus..

The video above talks about sterilizing the blade using Blade Care Plus.

Blade Care Plus does not sterilize you clipper. It cleans and lubricates.

Sterilize Your Clippers

How often your clippers are in use, will depend on how often to sterilize them.

A busy barber shop or salon can expect much more sterilizing going on than occasional, home use.

How to Sterilize Clippers

The method to sterilize hair clippers is just the same as cleaning them with Blade Care liquid.

Instead of Blade Care, you can use a solution of alcohol rub.

Alcohol at concentrations greater than 60%, effectively kills germs and microbes including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

White distilled vinegar will also work in the same way. The acidity in the vinegar will remove mold organisms and kills bacteria often found on a clipper.

I recommend you sterilize your clipper blades periodically. How often is dependent on use.

Use Hair Clipper Spray To Disinfect The Blades

You may not need to sterilize your clippers after every use, buy you DO need to disinfect the blade.

Clipper spray is a legal requirement for barbers and salons in the USA.

Every stainless steel clipper blade generates heat when its switched on.

Some clippers are better than others at keeping cool for longer, but after about 15 minutes your blades will start getting hot to touch.

Spraying Andis Cool Care onto your clipper blades will instantly cool them down.

If you’re using clippers constantly, you’ll want to be using this stuff to prevent burning the client.

Not only does it cool, it disinfects the blade.

It also helps to reduce wear and tear on the blade, prolonging its life-time use.

Clipper spray helps protect against rust, which is important in salons and barber shops that have humid and moist atmospheres.

It is good practice to spray the clippers in front of the client. This shows your professionalism and cleanliness.

It is not as important if you are using the clipper purely for your own hair cuts.

However, I would still recommend you use clipper spray, especially if you buy one of the top end, professional clippers such as the Oster Classic 76.

It’s a quick an easy fix that will help keep your clipper clean, disinfected and cool.

Ensure The Blade is Aligned Correctly

This step is particularly important if you intend to cut other people’s hair or are using your clippers in a barbers or hair salon.

A crooked blade or a stray tooth could easily nic or cut you, or a client.

How To Line Up Clipper Blades

Every time you come to use the clipper, hold it sideways and look down its length.

The blades should be either parallel with the cutter blade or set slightly back.

There shouldn’t be any teeth protruding, and the blade should be perfectly straight.

You might need to use a screw driver to loosen the blade screws.

There’s no need to take them out, just loosen them so there’s enough ‘give’ to wiggle the blade back into place.

If the clipper has a taper lever, put it in the uppermost position.

Be careful when tightening the screws again as you might offset the cutting blade.

Alternate between each screw to ensure the blade doesn’t twist and become crooked.

When all the screws are tightened, visually check again to ensure the blade is even and correctly aligned. Use a ruler or a flat edge as a guide.

Turn on the clipper and lightly run the blade over your finger or hand to ensure its aligned correctly.

Obviously not all clippers have screws in the same place. Some may have detachable blades, some may have levers while others don’t etc.

Check the instructions that come with your clipper.

YouTube is also a great source of information, and you’ll probably find a suitable “how to” guide there.

Use Hair Clipper Oil

There’s a phrase professional barbers use all the time – “Oil Every Cut, Every Time”

Wahl Premium Hair Clipper Blade Lubricating Oil for Clippers, Trimmers & Blade Corrosion for Rust Prevention – 4 Fluid Ounces – Model 3310-300This is paramount to the care and maintenance of your clipper blade.

A well oiled clipper blade will stay sharper for longer and last you many years.

The main cause for a good quality clipper to break, is due to lack of oil.

Your clipper should come shipped with a small bottle of oil, but you’re going to need more.

The rule is simple; every time you use the clipper, you should apply some oil to it.

Make this as habitual as turning it on. If you do this, you won’t forget.

It’s like cleaning your teeth without any toothpaste – you just wouldn’t do it!

How To Oil Hair Clippers

  • Apply a drop of oil to each corner of the moving blade and a drop in the middle, into the blade teeth.
  • Turn the clipper on and let it run for a few seconds to get an even spread.
  • Dab any excess oil and you’re good to go.

Be careful not to apply too much oil, as this can attract a lot of dust, dirt and hair clippings.

This will turn into a sludge and clog up the blade.

Not enough oil will cause the blade to run dry and start pulling and dragging, and become dull.

Wahl Clipper Oil

It doesn’t make a jot of difference what hair clipper you intend to oil, choose an oil specifically designed for clipper blades.

Wahl Clipper Oil is the leading brand of clipper and trimmer oil.

Just 2 – 3 drops before and after use will stop rust forming and prolong the lifetime of the blades.

It will also ensure the blade stays sharp and cuts through hair easier.

You need oil – so go get some!

Top Tip: To dry off ant excess oil, lubricant, disinfectant spray etc. use standard barber neck strips.

Neck strips cost next to nothing, and will last you a very long time. They are perfect for cleaning up and drying off your clipper and clipper blade.

Here’s a cool video showing you how to align a clipper blade and maintain your hair clippers:

Change The Blade

Changing the clipper blade is a rare event and may only need to be done just once or twice in the lifetime of the clipper.

If you follow the maintenance steps above, your clipper blade will last you a long time.

Of course there may be occasions when you need a new blade. You may accidentally drop the clipper and damage it, or chip one of the teeth.

The best thing to do is buy a spare blade when you buy the clipper.

That way you’ll know you have the right one and it’s available as soon as you need it.

No dramas if you need your hair cutting that day!

If you do use your spare blade, buy another one immediately and drop it into your draw, ready for any further mishaps.

Use A Professional Hair Clipper Servicing Business

If you use a top-of-the-range, professional hair clipper, taking it to be serviced can be a good investment.

Your clipper can last many years if looked after. Giving it a full service every couple of years is money well spent.

You’ll get your machine back humming sweetly, and with a super sharp blade.

Questions About Hair Clipper Maintenance

Question: Can I use normal alcohol to sterilize my clippers?

Answer: Any alcohol with a concentration greater than 60% will be effective in sterilizing your hair clippers.

Question: Can I use regular 3-in-1 oil to oil my hair clippers?

Answer: No. 3-in-1 oil has a thicker consistency and different viscosity to clipper oil. Stick to clipper oil.

Conclusion

It is easy to keep your clipper in good working order if you follow the advice above.

Make it part of your hair cutting routine and you’ll have a trouble-free clipper, for years to come.

If you have any comments or questions regarding clipper care and maintenance, please drop them below.

Peter

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