An Easy Guide to Hair Clipper Maintenance

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A guide to hair clipper maintenance

A good quality pair of hair clippers will not only save you a lot of money and time, but 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 hair clippers or learn how to fully maintain them, this guide is for you.

How To Clean Clippers

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 manner of infections if you don’t clean and disinfect your hair clippers.

How To Clean Clipper Blades

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 it doesn’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 are 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. Whilst they do a job, 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 a hair tint brush, as long as they are quite sturdy.

Amazon sells 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 this 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 your clipper. It cleans and lubricates.

Sterilize Your Clippers

I very much doubt that the average Joe at home sterilizes their clippers or trimmers very often – if at all.

But you should.

It’s easy to do and can prevent germs and bacteria from spreading onto your head and face.

Not nice.

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

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

Sterilizing is a deep clean method that kills all organisms, germs, and bacteria – good or bad.

It is used extensively in the medical profession such as doctor’s surgery, hospitals, and dentists.

How To Sterilize Clippers

There are 2 quick, easy, effective, and cheap methods you can use to sterilize your clippers.

  1. Use distilled white vinegar
  2. Use alcohol rub

Cleaning Hair Clippers With White Distilled Vinegar

White distilled vinegar is a cheap and effective way to sterilize your clippers or trimmers and is often a product found in your cupboard at home.

The sterilizing process adopts the same method as using Blade Care Plus above.

The acidity in the vinegar will remove mold organisms and kills bacteria that can build up on a clipper.

The good thing about using white distilled vinegar to clean your clippers is that it’s safe to use.

Although acidic in nature, white vinegar is a natural product that has hundreds of uses around the home.

You don’t need to worry about kids or pets drinking it or getting it on them by mistake.

All you need to do is make sure the clipper is switched off.

Use a brush to remove as much hair and debris as possible from the cutting blade.

Then simply place the clipper (blade first) and set it into a small bowl or dish of white distilled vinegar.

If your clipper blade is detachable, remove it and place it separately.

Let it sit there for approx. 10 minutes while the acidic vinegar does its magic.

Remove, rinse off with clean water, and allow to dry naturally.

Your clipper/trimmer is now fully sanitized and ready for use.

I recommend you sterilize your clipper blades periodically.

How often is dependent on use. But probably no more than about once a month for occasional home use.

Alcohol Rub

How To Clean Hair Clippers With Alcohol

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

It is a good method to sterilize your clippers and like distilled white vinegar it has many other uses around the home or workplace.

Use it in the same way you would use vinegar.

Use Hair Clipper Spray To Disinfect The Blades

Spraying hair clipper with cooling spray

Knowing how to disinfect hair clippers will save you a lot of time and keep you germ-free.

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

Disinfecting kills bacteria, germs and micro-organisms that can cause disease and infections

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

Not only is it hygienic, but clipper-spray also helps prevent the blade from becoming too hot.

Every stainless steel clipper blade generates heat when it’s 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, but it also disinfects the blade.

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

Clipper spray helps protect against rust, which is important in salons and barbershops 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 it’s a quick and easy method 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 barbers or hair salons.

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

How To Line Up Clipper Blades

Clipper Blade Alignment

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 screwdriver 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 it’s 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.

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

How To Oil Hair Clippers

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 a lack of oil.

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

How Often Should You Oil Your Clippers?

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!

Do You Oil Clippers Before Or After Use?

Always oil your clippers before and after use.

A decent size bottle of clipper oil will last you a long time, so make sure you apply it before you use it and before you put it away.

How To Oil Clipper Blades

  • I simply run the oil along the length of the blade. Or you can apply a drop at the edges and one in the middle.
  • Turn the clipper on and let it run for a few seconds to get an even spread.
  • Adjust the taper lever (if it has one) back and forth.
  • Dab any excess oil from the casing 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 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, ideally, choose an oil specifically designed for clippers and trimmers.

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

Just 2 – 3 drops before and after use will stop rust from 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 any 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.

See also: Hair Clipper Oil – Everything You Need To Know

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, sending it away 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.

There are some good companies out there if you can’t be arsed don’t want to service them yourself.

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


Q. Can I use normal alcohol to sterilize my clippers?

A. Any alcohol with a concentration greater than 60% will be effective in sterilizing your hair clippers. Unfortunately, regular alcohol from beer only comes in around 4-5%.

Q. Can I use regular 3-in-1 oil to oil my hair clippers?

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

Q. How long do hair clippers last?

A. It depends on the clipper itself and how well you maintain the clipper. A good quality hair clipper can last 5 to 10 years with regular maintenance.

Final Thoughts

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 many years.

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


Related Posts:

  1. 5 Things To Consider When Buying Hair Clippers
  2. Hair Clipper Oil – Everything You Need To Know
  3. Hair Clipper Accessories

3 thoughts on “An Easy Guide to Hair Clipper Maintenance”

  1. Hi I am a dog groomer for years and with all this rain I am finding the humidity in the grooming room awful even with ventilation, what’s the best way for me to protect my clippers please?

    • Hi Babs,
      I’ve not had a dog groomer comment before – but it’s very nice to hear from you!

      You’ve got a few options to help protect your clippers from humidity:

      1. Buy a portable dehumidifier – these are actually very good in a smallish room.
      2. Store your clippers in a plastic container. You can buy clipper boxes for storage/travel.
      3. Keep your clippers in another room away from the humid conditions.

      Other than those options, you’ll need to clean, dry and oil your clippers more often until the rain and or humidity clears.



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