How To Clean Hair Clippers: A DIY Guide To Deep Cleaning Your Clippers

It’s becoming more and more common for people nowadays to buy and use their own electric hair clippers instead of going to the barber. In fact, hair clipper sales increased up to 166% over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, most likely because some barbershops and salons had to close temporarily to follow social distancing measures.

If you’ve recently bought their first hair clipper, you might be wondering: how do you clean your clipper properly? What’s the best way to maintain your new tool? And how do you make sure it cuts smoothly and safely?

In this guide, I’ll share with you a step-by-step guide on how to clean hair clippers. I’ll also share some important tips on maintenance and proper care.

Table Of Contents

Cleaning Your Hair Clippers: Items You’ll Need

Cleaning your hair clipper shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes of active time, though you might need to let some parts dry for a few hours in between. Here are some of the items you’ll need:

  • A soft, dry piece of cloth
  • A towel
  • Soap and water
  • Antiseptic fluid, rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, or clipper spray
  • Clipper oil
  • A cleaning brush, makeup brush, or toothbrush

A Complete Guide On Cleaning Hair Clippers

Keeping your electric hair clippers clean and sanitized is important, even if you’re the only one using the product. Germs that accumulate in the clippers’ blades can cause different types of infections. Aside from that, regular cleaning and maintenance will keep the blades sharp and extend their lifetime.

Note that care instructions vary depending on the brand of your hair clippers, so it’s best to refer to your user guide/manual first.

Step 1: Brush Away Hair Clippings

Brush Away Hair Clippings

Hair trimmings build up on your hair clipper each time you use it. If you don’t remove these hair trimmings after every use, they’ll end up clogging the gadget’s motor.

Here’s how to brush off hair clippings:

  • Unplug your hair clipper and remove the batteries.
  • Check if your clipper can be rinsed since some models cannot handle water.
  • Look for a clean surface that can catch the trimmings while you’re cleaning your clipper. You can use a piece of paper or a towel spread over a countertop. You can also do this directly over a trash can.
  • Detach the comb guide and set aside for further cleaning.
  • Carefully check the blades and brush loose trimmings. If your electric shaver doesn’t come with a cleaning brush, you can use a clean makeup brush or a toothbrush. Make sure not to use fibrous materials like cotton swabs since their fibers will likely get stuck to the blades.
  • Remove the blade on your clipper. Brush away dust and hair clippings.

Step 2: Clean Comb Guides

Comb guides need a thorough cleaning after each use. But before you move forward, inspect your comb guides for any damage.

The teeth on the comb should be complete. If there are broken pieces, you’ll need to replace the guide with a new one. Cutting your hair with broken comb guides can lead to uneven results.

Once you’ve determined that your comb guides are still good to go, hand wash them in warm, soapy water. Then, let them dry thoroughly. One way to do this is by laying them on a towel for several hours.

Step 3: Sterilize Your Equipment

Sterilize Your Equipment

Sterilizing clipper blades is the most crucial step in cleaning your tool. Ideally, you should clean the blades using professional clipper spray. The aerosol loosens the remaining hairs and kills any germs present.

If you don’t have professional clipper spray, you can use antiseptic fluid or rubbing alcohol instead. If you’re rinsing blades using alcohol, look for a product with a concentration level of above 70%. Alternatively, you can try using white vinegar.

Follow these steps:

  • Pour a quarter-inch of antiseptic fluid or rubbing alcohol in a dish.
  • Submerge the blades.
  • Repeat once or twice using fresh alcohol until the liquid remains clean.
  • Wipe with a soft, dry cloth.

Step 5: Change The Blade (Optional)

Changing the clipper blade is an optional step that you will likely do once or twice over the lifetime of the clipper. It’s best to buy a spare blade as soon as you purchase a hair clipper; if you wait, you might find that the particular blade you need is out of stock or out of production.

As always, follow your hair clipper’s user guide on how to safely remove the blades from the main unit. You will likely need a small screwdriver to remove the blade from the casing.

Sometimes, you might not even need to change the blade; sharpening might just do the trick. Run the blade through a honing stone (3,000 to 8,000 grit), ensuring that the flat tip of the blade runs parallel to the sharpener. Rinse the stone and blade afterward.

Step 6: Align Your Blades

Each time you reassemble your clippers after cleaning them, you’ll need to check if the blades are properly aligned. Crooked or misaligned blades can cause nicks or cuts.

When adjusting the blades, loosen the screws holding them in place. You don’t have to detach them; simply adjust them until they are aligned correctly. Tighten each screw once the blades are in the correct position.

The top and bottom blades should be perfectly straight. Inspect each section to make sure that there are no parts that are crooked or misaligned.

Step 7: Apply Oil To The Blades

Apply Oil To The Blades

Clipper blades need to be lubricated regularly so that they can stay sharp and resist corrosion. Well-maintained blades also cut more smoothly, preventing them from tugging on your hair.

When you’re oiling your blades, stick with one drop or two because adding too much oil can cause damage. Run the motor for a few seconds to enable the oil to distribute evenly. Then, wipe away any excess oil.

You should also check your clipper’s user guide to see if its motor requires regular lubrication. In that case, you might need to use a screwdriver to open the casing and access the motor.

Tips On How To Care For Your Hair Clipper

With proper care and maintenance, a hair clipper should last years.  Here are some tips on making the most out of your tool.

Tip #1: Use The Right Cleaning Tools

When wiping your hair clippers, avoid using toilet paper. Fibers from toilet paper can clog up your clipper’s motor. You can wipe your hair clipper using an old washcloth or an old piece of clothing instead.

Tip # 2: Wash Your Hair Before Using Your Hair Clipper

Before using your hair clipper, wash your hair as thoroughly as possible. This should prevent wax, gel, or grease from sticking to the blade.

Tip #3: Use Cooling Spray

Using a cooling spray makes your clipper more comfortable to use. The cooling spray also disinfects your blades and prevents them from rusting.

Tip #4: Reassemble The Unit Immediately After Drying

It’s tempting to leave some parts of your hair clipper around the house after washing them, but it’s best to reattach all the parts as soon as they’re dry. This prevents them from attracting dust and bacteria while they’re out in the open.

Tip #5: Store Your Clipper In a Cool, Dry Place

Once your clipper has been reassembled, make sure to keep it in a cool, dry place. You should also store it in a place where it won’t fall from a dangerous height.

FAQs On Hair Clipper Care And Maintenance

Keeping hair clippers clean and well-maintained can be a little confusing. In this section, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on hair clipper care and maintenance.

How often should clipper blades be cleaned?

Clipper blades should be cleaned after every use. If you’re a professional, it’s especially important to clean your clipper blades between every client.

What kind of oil should I use?

Invest in specialized clipper oil. Using oil that’s too heavy or thick can clog up the gadget or even break it.

How often should I oil my clippers?

It’s best to oil clippers each time you use them. If you hear a rattling sound and notice that the blades no longer cut smoothly, that can mean that the blades aren’t sufficiently lubricated.

If you don’t oil your clippers, they’ll produce too much heat from friction. Oiling your clippers also keeps them from rusting.

Most manufacturers won’t honor the clipper’s warranty if it has been damaged because it has not been oiled properly. As always, refer to your clippers’ care guide for further instructions on how often you should apply lubricant.


Having your own hair clipper can save you many trips to the barbershop. However, the tool does require proper care and maintenance. Thankfully, most hair clippers can be cleaned using everyday household items like a toothbrush and alcohol. You may need to purchase special oil for your clippers, though.

Cleaning your hair clipper protects you from germs and bacteria while helping the blade stay nice and sharp. Follow the steps in this guide, and your clipper will undoubtedly last you years to come.

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