Ideally, you will only ever cut hair that has been freshly washed, but even then, hair grease and product build-up can still be present and will cause the small, cut hairs to stick to your blades and the blade guards.
Dirt and build-up on the blades will cause the blades to dull quickly and also interrupt the smooth running of the clipper motor. For this reason, they should be cleaned after every use.
Clipper maintenance is also important to keep your blades sharp and in alignment. If your blades are dull, then they’ll stop cutting hair as effectively. If your blades fall out of alignment, you could end up cutting someone’s head by accident, so it’s best to check their position before using them every time.
How to Clean and Maintain Hair Clippers
Step 1: Tool Up!
Most clippers will come with their own small brush for cleaning, but these can be quite flimsy. You’ll probably achieve much better results with a spare toothbrush and, if you can get your hands on one, a bottle of compressed air.
A deeper clean will also require you to remove the blades from the clippers, so you’ll also need a screwdriver. For maintenance, a well-oiled machine will offer better operation over a longer time and also help to avoid nasty tugs of the hair caused by unoiled, dull blades.
Most clippers will come with a small amount of blade oil, which won’t last you very long. This is why you have to be sure to buy more as soon as you have the opportunity.
In emergencies, you could use olive oil as a one-off, but wipe this away and replace with blade oil as soon as you are able to. Blade oil can generally be purchased from the same kinds of stores that sell hairdressing supplies.
Tools For Cleaning
- Blade oil
- Compressed air (optional)
- Screwdriver (for deep cleaning)
Tools For Maintenance
- Blade oil
- Honing stone
Step 2: Clipper Cleaning
Proper cleaning will require you to remove as much hair from the clippers as possible. Below are some of the ways you can go about doing this. A deeper clean will be needed from time to time depending on how much you are using your clippers.
Method 1: Quick Clean
- Remove the blade guard and set aside to clean separately, either with your toothbrush or a rag.
- If you have a can of compressed air at your disposal, you can use this to blow out hairs from inside the clippers. A couple of short bursts will save you from having to disassemble the blades too often. If you don’t have access to compressed air, you can use your mouth to blow into the clippers to work more hairs loose.
- Using a toothbrush, brush away stray hairs from the outside of the blades, as well as around the sides and in between the blades and clipper body. Work thoroughly but carefully as far as you can get into the clippers.
- Always oil the clippers after you’ve cleaned them using special blade oil. Be sure to let them run for a minute or so to work the oil in.
Method 2: Deep Clean
- Remove the blade guard and wash all of your blade guards in warm, soapy water. Set them aside to air dry thoroughly before packing them away.
- Check your instruction manual for how to remove the blades for cleaning. In most cases, you need a Phillips screwdriver to unscrew the blades from the main body of the clipper.
- Use your mouth or a can of compressed air to blow out any hairs from the main body of the clipper.
- Use a rag to clean all of the hairs from the external clipper body and a brush to clean the front and back of each blade.
- Reassemble the blades onto the clipper body, ensuring that they line up evenly (more on alignment below).
- Always oil the clippers after you’ve cleaned them and let them run for a minute or so, using the special blade oil.
Step 3: Clipper Maintenance
Sharper blades will be much easier to work with when cutting hair. If you can have a sharpening tool or can borrow one, the difference they make in cutting afterward will be remarkable.
Sharpen Your Blades
If you don’t have the right tools to sharpen your own blades, then you may have to find someone who can do this part for you, or find replacement blades. If you do have a sharpening stone, however, this is what you should do:
- Remove the blades from the hair clipper’s main body using a screwdriver, or as per the instruction manual.
- Ensuring that the flat parts of the blade tips are flush with the sharpening stone’s surface, swipe the blade across, applying light but firm pressure. Repeat this eight to 10 times for each blade.
- Reassemble and align the blades (see more on alignment below).
We’ve got a more detailed step by step guide on how to sharpen your chair clippers.
Align Your Blades
You should regularly check that your blades are in alignment. If you are a novice hair trimmer and are cutting children’s hair, then you may wish to set the top blade slightly in front of the back blade so that you don’t accidentally cut their head while trimming.
Children aren’t always the best at sitting still, so this is definitely a safer option if you have a squirmer on your hands!
If you’re looking for better precision cutting, however, then you’ll want the two blades to line up perfectly with each other. To align your blades, you just need to loosen up the screws that hold them in place using a screwdriver. Hold the blades in the position you want them in and tighten the screws.
What you want to do to get a more precise cut is minimize the gap in between the two blades. In fact this is also referred to as Zero Gap Clippers. Take a look at this video tutorial of how you can zero gap any hair clippers easily.
Care for your Hair Clippers and they will give you better Results
Understanding how to clean and maintain hair clippers properly will ensure that your clippers last you for years to come, saving you and your family a lot of money. You should brush away excess hairs and oil the blades after each use to help maintain their integrity.
Again, check that your blades are in alignment before you use them to cut anyone’s hair to avoid accidental cuts. Lastly, sharpen the blades when they need to be sharpened to keep them in perfect running order this will ensure you always get the best hair cut.