Updated: 17 Apr 18
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 good working order.
Some basic care and maintenance every now and again will keep your clippers performing to their best.
Keep The Blades Clean
Before you begin to cut your own or anyone else’s hair, make sure the blade area is clean, and any hair and debris are removed.
Most clipper sets come with their own small clipper brush and cleaning kit.
I find these brushes 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.
Brush 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 unchecked they could eventually cause the blades damage and blunt them.
Brush everything away. Blowing sharply into the area will also help.
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.
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. A crooked blade or a stray tooth could easily nic or cut you, or a client.
You might need to use a Phillips 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.
Be careful when tightening the screws again or 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.
Turn on the clipper and lightly run the blade over your finger or hand to ensure its aligned correctly.
Oil Every Cut, Every Time
This is paramount to the care and maintenance of your clipper blade.
A well oiled clipper will last you many years.
The main cause for a good quality clipper to break, is due to lack of oil.
Your clipper should come with the right 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!
Apply a drop of oil to each corner of the moving blade and a few drops 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.
Clipper spray is a legal requirement for barbers and salons in the US. It keeps the blades cool and prevents burning the client and more importantly it disinfects the blade.
It also reduces wear and tear on the blade, prolonging its lifespan.
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, but 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.
Change The Blade
Changing the clipper blade is a rare event and will only need to be done just once or twice in the lifetime of the clipper.
If you follow the steps above, your clipper blade will last you a long time.
But 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!
Here’s a cool video showing you how to properly maintain your hair clippers:
It is easy to keep your clipper in good working order if you follow the steps 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.