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How To Clean An Electric Shaver: The Ultimate Guide

Discover how to clean an electric shaver, to preserve its life and ensure you always get a great shave. 

Table of Contents

Why You Should Clean Your Electric Razor

Keeping your electric razor clean is part of basic maintenance. It’s the only way to keep it functioning correctly and it’ll also help to prolong the life of its blades. 

Hair buildup in a foil or rotary shaver will compromise its performance very very quickly. Over time, the buildup of dead skin and other debris can damage the blades themselves, forcing you to replace them more frequently, which adds up.  

Not convinced yet? Think about it this way: Your shaver comes in very close contact with your skin. If it’s clogged up, it’s more likely to irritate your skin or pull on hair instead of cutting. If you haven’t cleaned it recently, it’ll also be covered in bacteria, so you can end up with folliculitis or some other skin infection. So don’t be lazy – clean your shaver, folks.   

How To Clean An Electric Shaver

Here is the ultimate cleaning guide, step-by-step. Before you start, make sure your shaver is unplugged and turned off. 

Get Rid Of Hairs

To start, take off the top part of your shaver, to expose the inner compartment where hair gets trapped. Gently tap out any stubble that’s stuck in the head of the shaver, under the foil or blades. If you have a foil razor, you’ll need to tap the head with the foils lightly against the counter. 

With a rotary shaver, you can pop open the top, and with some models, you can also totally remove it. After cleaning and rinsing both the top and bottom, you may want to further remove the combs from the round openings in which they sit, and then remove the blades from the combs. 

Then, if needed, use a small plastic cleaning brush or old toothbrush to clean out any very persistent hairs from the inner part of the razor and from beneath the blades. This is especially important if you have a shaver that can’t be rinsed). Only use the brush on the underside of the blades – never on top. Another alternative is using a compressed air spray to dislodge them. 

Rinse With Water

Next, if your razor is rinsable, hold the head and inner compartment under running water to remove any remaining residue. If you like to clean your shaver after every shave, this can be enough. 

Soap It Up

For a more thorough clean, add a couple of drops of regular or dish soap. Then, using a brush, gently sud up and clean the head of your razor, from the inside. 

If you have a foil shaver that can also operate when damp (check the user manual first), you can also run the razor for 10-20 seconds while it’s soaped up. This will lather up the soap and clean the blades very thoroughly. 

If the body of the shaver is also waterproof, you can wash it with soap and water, as well. If it isn’t, just wipe it down with a cloth or paper towel. 

Dry It

Once your razor is clean and rinsed, it’s important to dry it as much as possible. Being exposed to moisture for too long will damage your blades, even if they’re meant to be waterproof. Wipe down the different parts of your shave with a towel. Then, place it somewhere safe to dry completely. 

Oil The Blades

Once you’re certain your shaver is completely dry, add a little bit of mineral oil or blade oil to the blades and foils or combs. Then, either run the blades or use a brush to spread the oil around. Then, leave it stored somewhere safe until the next time you need to use it. 

Use Spray Instead

If your electric shaver cannot come in contact with water at all, your best bet is a shaver cleaning spray. Most of the major electric shaver brands also sell these sprays, and they often also include lubricants that help protect the blades and keep them sharper.  

Some sprays have different use directions, but generally, you’ll want to spray all parts of your shaver. Then, depending on the formula, either just leave it as is or wipe down any excess product with a paper towel. Then, leave it somewhere safe to dry.

Is It Safe To Clean An Electric Shaver With Water?

Nowadays, most electric shavers are safe to clean with water. You should always confirm by looking at the product manual or by doing a quick Google search of your razor model. 

With most models, you’ll still need to be careful to only rinse the head of the razor, without getting the body wet, but that’s easy enough to do. 

Additionally, making sure that your shaver dries completely after you’ve cleaned it is also important. If it’s clean but isn’t allowed to dry completely, the exposure to water can damage the blades even if they’re meant to be rust-resistant. 

How Do You Clean An Electric Shaver With Alcohol?

Alcohol is a wonderful cleaning aid if your razor isn’t waterproof. It’ll help to dislodge debris and oil, and it’ll also disinfect your blades. 

Look for a 90% isopropyl alcohol solution, since lower percentages of alcohol will evaporate too slowly, which can damage the non-waterproof parts of your razor. 

 You have a couple of options if you’d like to clean your electric razor with alcohol: 

  • You can disassemble your razor, spray the individual parts with alcohol, and then leave it to evaporate or wipe it off. 
  • You can leave individual parts, like the blades and combs, to soak in the alcohol for 5-10 minutes in order to disinfect them. 

Can You Clean An Electric Razor With Vinegar?

You can clean your electric razor with vinegar, but I’m not a huge fan of this method unless your razor has collected mineral buildup from hard water. Vinegar has that horrendous smell, and I find that it’s less effective than water and soap. 

It also contains water, so unlike alcohol or shaver cleaning sprays, it cannot be used on non-rinsable shavers. 

That said, if you do need to remove hard water residue from your blades, a vinegar soak can help! Disassemble your razor, and soak the metal parts in a 1:10 mixture of white vinegar to water for about an hour. Then, use a brush to gently scrub away the buildup, and it should come off easily.

How Often Should I Clean My Electric Shaver?

You should put some effort into cleaning your electric shaver after every shave. 

  • Make sure to clear out the excess stubble from the inner compartments of your shaver after every shave. 
  • You can rinse your rotary shaver or waterproof foil shaver after every shave, or at least after every 3-4 shaves. 
  • Give your shaver a deep clean at least once a month, where you disassemble and clean every individual part according to the full guide above. 

How Do You Get The Smell Out Of An Electric Razor?

If you’ve taken great care of your razor, it shouldn’t develop any bad smells. That said, sometimes, moisture finds its way into unlikely spots, which can lead to mildew and mold with a musty smell. 

When this happens, a thorough cleaning will usually get rid of whatever caused the smell. Make sure to disassemble your electric shaver completely, so you can find the source of the odor and scrub it away thoroughly. Commercial electric shaver cleaning sprays will do the best job, but hot water and soap will also work. 

No matter what, don’t use your electric razor until you identify and get rid of the source of the stink. Whatever is causing the bad smell can harm your skin when you shave, and could potentially lead to skin infections

How To Maintain An Electric Shaver

Aside from cleaning, there are a few other things you should do to prolong the life of your electric shaver

  • Keep it dry: Letting your electric shaver dry completely after you clean it is the best way to prolong its life, since water is the leading cause of degradation. 
  • Oil it up: Oil repels water and prevents friction, so lubricating your electric razor’s blades will definitely help extend their life. 
  • Use it regularly: Most electric shavers are designed to be used again and again to shave down stubble, but they can malfunction with longer hair. It’s better for your razor if you use it a few times a week than if you only use it once a week to cut down longer growth. 

Charge it correctly: Follow the charging advice as laid out in your shaver’s manual. With some electric razors, overcharging or leaving the shaver with a dead battery for too long can ultimately damage the battery, and you may discover that it loses its ability to hold a charge at all.

Miles is a professional men's grooming analyst who believes that to look good a man just needs to take good care of himself. He’s all about wet shaving, sustainability, and evidence-based grooming - an obsession he’s ready to share. Miles is known for his in-depth analysis of men's grooming products, brands, and best practices you can't find anywhere else.