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How To Clean Your Safety Razor

I have some bad news – just rinsing off your razor is not enough to keep it clean and disinfected. But the good news is that it’s easy to learn how to clean your safety razor, and you probably have all the supplies at home already.

What Is A Safety Razor?

The cleaning steps that we’re about to talk about won’t work for just any old razor. If you’re hovering over the sink with a crusty plastic Gillette blade in your hand, you should probably throw that away.

So before we dive into cleaning your safety razor, let’s talk about what a safety razor is, just in case you’re mistaking a cartridge razor for a safety razor.

A safety razor is that old-fashioned reusable metal razor with a replaceable blade. The blades are cheap and usually come in bulk packs of 50+ for $15. 

Like any razor, the metal base of your safety razor will endure some wear and tear as you use it. The difference is that you don’t throw it out once it gets icky. You clean it! After all, a safety razor base is built to last.

How To Clean Your Safety Razor

Depending on how grimey your safety razor is, you might opt for a light or heavy clean.

For A Light Clean:

Supplies:

• Warm water

• A towel

  1. After you finish shaving, run your safety razor under some warm water in the skin.
  2. Pat the razor dry with a towel.
  3. Store the razor in a dry place, away from the shower, to keep it from rusting.

And that’s it! Super easy. You should do a quick light clean every time you use your razor.

For A Medium Clean:

Supplies:

• A bowl

• Warm water

• Dish soap

• A toothbrush

• A towel

• Rubbing alcohol

  1. Take apart the razor so that you can clean each component. Set the blade aside. (It might be a good time to replace the blade while you do this. Safety razor blades don’t last long.)
  2. Combine a squirt of dish soap with some warm water in a bowl.
  3. Let your safety razor soak in the dish soap for a few minutes.
  4. Take out the razor pieces and scrub them down with the toothbrush to get rid of scum buildup.
  5. Dry the safety razor off with a towel.
  6. Clean and dry the toothbrush, then use it to apply the rubbing alcohol to disinfect the razor.
  7. Apply a baby oil or mineral oil to lubricate the safety razor components, then reassemble the razor.

A medium clean takes a few extra minutes and more supplies, but it’s worth your time every few weeks. With frequent medium cleaning sessions, you can avoid having to do a deep clean or rust removal in the future. 

But just in case you’ve been skipping out on your medium cleaning sessions…

For A Deep Clean:

There are several ways to do a deep clean that’ll remove stubborn scum. You can follow the steps of a medium clean, but use baking soda instead of dish soap. Or soak the razor in a mixture of 1-cup-vinegar and 3-cups water.

Or, try this:

Supplies:

• A boiling pot of water

• A colander

• A toothbrush

• Rubbing alcohol

  1. Place a pot of water on the stove.
  2. Put the colander in the pot, and put the razor in the colander. DON’T put the razor directly in the pot. Allowing it to touch the hot metal can damage it. That’s why you should use the colander to keep it in the water but off the metal.
  3. Bring the water to a boil.
  4. Turn off the heat, and let it all cool down. Don’t douse your razor in cold water. Let it cool naturally.
  5. Use the toothbrush to scour the scum. The steam and hot water should help loosen up anything that’s been stuck to the razor.
  6. Disinfect the clean razor with rubbing alcohol.

Hopefully that process takes off most of the stubborn grime.

How Often Should You Clean Your Safety Razor?

You should light-clean your razor every time you use it. Wipe it off, and store it in a dry place so that it doesn’t rust.

You should medium clean your razor every 1-2 months. A medium clean helps you disinfect the surface so that your razor doesn’t cause skin irritation, breakouts, or skin infections. If you notice any of these issues, you’re probably past due for a medium cleaning.

And you should deep clean your razor as needed. If a medium clean doesn’t remove the scum, break out your deep cleaning tricks.

The one exception: if you shave your head with a safety razor, I strongly recommend doing a medium or deep clean every time. Your scalp is sensitive and prone to breakouts.

How To Clean Rust Off A Safety Razor

Because most safety razors are stainless steel, you can use the same tricks that you’d use to get rust off any household metal.

Try one of these products, depending on what you have on hand:

• Lemon Juice

• A mixture of white vinegar and water (1 cup vinegar for 3 cups water)

• Baking soda mixed with water to make a paste

• WD-40

Choose one of the methods above, NOT all of them. Leave the razor components soaking in the solution (or, if it’s a paste, let the paste sit on the steel) for 10-20 minutes, then see if you can wipe or gently scratch off the rust.

How To Oil Your Safety Razor

Whenever you take apart your safety razor, it’s a good idea to oil the components before you put it back together. It keeps the metal from scratching.

Use baby oil or mineral oil on the stainless steel. The best way to apply it is with a toothbrush or soft cloth, but you can use your fingers in a pinch. A few drops should be more than enough, so don’t go overboard.

Your skin will thank you when you shave with a fresh, clean, oiled safety razor.

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.