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How To Clean Hair Clippers

Learning how to clean hair clippers is a great way to make your clippers last – it’s the easiest preventive maintenance that you can do every time you use them.

Table of Contents

Do You Need To Clean Your Hair Clippers?

You should clean your hair clippers to avoid problems like rapidly dull blades, motor failures, cuts and hair tugging, overheating, excessive noise, and more. 

Of course, your clippers will probably face a few of those issues as they age, but you can extend the lifespan of your clippers by cleaning them regularly.

Cleaning your clippers can even fix them when your clippers won’t cut. 

And above all, cleaning your hair clippers keeps them free from bacteria, so you don’t have to worry about dirty blades, irritated skin or infected cuts, on the off chance that you nic yourself.

How To Clean Hair Clippers

Cleaning clippers can take as little as 2 minutes if you have the right tools.

Some supplies to get together beforehand:

• A screwdriver – only necessary if you plan to take the blades off the clippers.

• A small brush (toothbrush, paintbrush, clipper brush…anything really)

• A bowl

• Clipper cleaning solution OR alcohol

• A microfiber towel

  1. Decide whether to take apart your clippers

You don’t always have to unscrew the clipper blades to clean your clippers. I only recommend it if you’re worried about dirt or grime that’s stuck between the blades and won’t wiggle out after soaking and running the clippers.

Think of it this way: taking apart the clipper blades is good for a deep clean. Leaving them on is perfectly fine for regular, everyday sanitation and cleaning. Whichever you choose, both follow similar steps.

If you do decide to take apart the clippers, most clipper models have screws along the bottom that you can remove. Take note of how the blades fit together so that you know how to reassemble the clippers when you’re done. (While you’re at it, you should sharpen your clippers too before you clean them.)

  1. Brush off the excess hair

Use a toothbrush, paintbrush, or another small implement to get rid of the excess hair on the clippers. This will make cleaning the blades a lot easier.

  1. Soak the blades

Time for that clipper cleaning solution or alcohol!

There are two ways to do this, depending on whether you took your clippers apart or not.

  1. If you did NOT take your clippers apart:
    1. Pour some clipper cleaning solution or alcohol into a small bowl. (Often, the cap on a jar of clipper cleaner is the perfect size for this). 
    2. Submerge just the blades in the solution, keeping the body and machinery out of the liquid. You should hopefully see lots of the hair and grime leaking out of the clippers. 
    3. Run the blades for 20-30 seconds. Repeat the process with fresh cleaning solution as needed, depending on how dirty your clippers are.
  1. If you DID take your clippers apart:
    1. Soak the blades in some warm water for 5 minutes. Dry them off when they’re done.
    2. Use a towel or your hands to apply some clipper cleaning solution or alcohol to the blades. Let them sit and air dry for 20-30 minutes, then wipe off any excess solution that hasn’t dried.
  1. Lubricate the blades (if necessary)

Lubricating the blades might be the most important step in cleaning them. If you don’t use a blade oil, your blades will get dull very fast.

If you did NOT take apart your clippers, place a drop or two of oil along the teeth of the blades, then turn them on for 20-30 seconds so that the oil spreads itself. Wipe off any excess when you’re done.

If you DID take apart your clippers, apply 1-2 drops to the blades and use your fingers to spread it. Wipe off the excess when you’re done, and screw the blades back onto the body of the clippers.

Now, if you used a blade cleaning solution earlier, you might be able to skip this step. Check the bottle to see whether the solution contains a lubricant. (I still recommend using blade oil either way, just to be on the safe side.)

  1. Run the clippers

After you’ve cleaned and lubricated your clippers, run them for a few minutes to make sure you don’t see or hear any problems. You can even test them out by shaving off some arm hair, or plow straight ahead and give yourself a haircut.

How Often Should You Clean Your Hair Clippers?

Barbers should clean their clippers at least daily (and keep multiple pairs so that you don’t overwork one pair of clippers). Guys who cut their own hair at home should clean their clippers each time they use them.

The idea is to minimize the amount of dirt and grime between the blades every time you use your clippers. The hair and debris that builds up between the blades causes them to become dull, and it can strain the mechanical components of the clippers.

At a bare minimum, brush away the excess hair every time you use your clippers.

Can You Clean Hair Clippers With Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide sterilizes hair clipper blades so that they’re bacteria-free, but it doesn’t have many benefits besides that. 

That’s why I strongly recommend investing in a clipper cleaning solution. Many of them lubricate and shine your clipper blades, on top of cleaning and sterilizing them. They also work faster and have less room for error.

If you do use hydrogen peroxide, follow the same steps that you would with clipper cleaner or alcohol, but soak your blades for 10-15 minutes to give the peroxide time to work. It’ll be easier if you disassemble your clippers. 

You can also clean your hair clippers with a 50-50 mix of water and white vinegar. Take apart the clippers, and soak the blades in the liquid for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to lubricate liberally afterwards.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.