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How to Clean Clippers: Stop Snagging Hair

Learn how to clean clippers so you can prevent nasty bacteria buildup.

If you have a pair of hair clippers, then you know there’s nothing worse than dirty and uncared for hair clippers. The hair clippers pull at people’s hair. The bacteria and gunk build up on the clippers and will cause red spots and possibly even an infection.

To prevent this, you need to know how to clean clippers. Then you can give people the stylish haircuts they want knowing that all they’re getting is a great haircut.

Also, if you’ve invested money into your hair clippers by purchasing a set of Wahl Magic Clip or BabylissPRO GoldFX clippers, you’d like them to last for several years. Which they will if they’re cared for properly.

Key Takeaways

  • Clean and oil hair clippers after every use to maintain their performance and longevity.
  • Deep clean clippers at least once a week, or daily if used frequently, using cleaning solutions like Barbicide, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol.
  • When cleaning, remove all hair and gunk, take the clippers apart, and soak the blades in the cleaning solution for at least 10 minutes before rinsing and drying.
  • Regular clipper maintenance, including proper alignment, cleaning, and oiling, can help extend the life of your hair clippers.

How Often Should Clippers Be Cleaned?

Clippers should be cleaned, disinfected, and oiled after every use. This can be as simple as removing all the hair on the clippers using a small brush or toothbrush. Then spray your clippers with Barbicide Clippercide Spray or another commercial clipper spray.

Spray the clippers until they’re wet, and allow the clippers to sit for 10 minutes before rinsing the clippers. Dry them with a clean towel or a paper towel.

Your clippers should also receive a deep clean at least once a week or daily if you give several haircuts every day. Cleaning the clippers will extend the life of the clippers and keep the clippers cutting properly without any painful or patchy haircuts.

Also, when clippers get dirty they can have a build-up of bacteria that will cause skin irritation and may cause infections.

How to Clean Hair Clippers At Home

Deep cleaning hair clippers at home require you to first remove all the hair and gunk from your clippers. Then take your clippers apart and remove all the hair and gunk you can find on the blades and in the head. Next, soak the blades in a cleaning agent.

Afterward, the blades will need to dry before you can reassemble your clippers. Once dry, the final step is to oil your clippers.

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

  • Small brush or toothbrush
  • Compressed air
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Glass bowl
  • Cleaning agent of choice
  • 2 soft cloths or paper towels
  • Oil

Removing Hair

Before you begin cleaning your clippers, you will need to remove the hair and gunk from them.

1. Unplug Clippers

Make sure that your electric clippers are unplugged. If your clippers use batteries, remove the batteries before proceeding.

2. Remove Hair

Remove any hair stuck to your clippers by using the small brush that came with the clippers or a toothbrush. You’ll need to brush away any hair stuck in the blades. Another option is to use compressed air to blow away any hair.

If needed, you can gently tap the clippers on the table or counter to loosen the hair and then shake your clippers over a trash can.

Also, clean any attachments you have used with your clippers. Make sure they are hair-free as well.

3. Open the Clippers

Use the screwdriver to take your barber clippers apart. There’s a small compartment behind the trimmer head. This often gets filled with hair and gunk and needs to be cleaned. Otherwise, your blades may not cut as smoothly.

The blades should pop out. Each model is slightly different so you’ll need to check your user manual for specific instructions on how to take your clippers apart if you’re not sure how to do so.

4. Check the Blades

Check your blades and the trimmer head for any hair. Use your brush to remove the hair.

5. Wash the blades

Once the blades are removed, you will need to wash the blades using one of the methods listed below.

With Cleaning Solution

You can use a commercial cleaning solution like Barbicide to wash your blades. Make sure that you use one that will clean, disinfect, and lubricate. Commercial cleaning solutions are designed to clean clipper blades without rusting them.

1. Make the Solution

Combine 2 tablespoons of Barbicide with 2 cups of water in a glass bowl. This will prevent any chemical interaction between the Barbicide and the bowl which you may get with a metal or ceramic bowl.

2. Soak

Soak the clean blades and any attachments in the Barbicide solution for at least 10 minutes. This will disinfect the blades and the attachments.

3. Rinse

Rinse the blades and attachments with water after they’re finished soaking.

4. Dry and Reassemble

Let your blades air dry by placing them on a soft, clean, dry towel. Reassemble your clippers when your clippers are completely dry.

With Vinegar

If you’d like to clean your blades without alcohol or a commercial cleaning solution, vinegar is an excellent choice. Vinegar is acidic so it will kill any mold and mildew developing in the clippers and it’s non-toxic. Vinegar will also remove any dirt and grime on your clippers.

The biggest disadvantage to cleaning your clippers with vinegar is that you will need to soak your clippers longer in order to disinfect them.

1. Make a Vinegar Solution

Make a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water solution in a bowl by adding 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water.

2. Soak the Blades

Place the blades and the attachments into the vinegar solution. Soak the blades in the solution for at least 20-30 minutes.

While the blades are soaking in the vinegar, pour a small amount of vinegar onto a clean microfiber cloth. Wipe down the outside of the clippers with the vinegar to clean them.

3. Rinse and Dry

Rinse the blades and the attachments under running water and allow them to dry on a soft, clean towel. Allow 30-60 minutes drying time. Ensure that the blades are completely dry before you put your clippers back together again.

4. Reassemble

Put your clippers back together again.

With Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is another excellent cleaning agent to use and one that’s common in many homes. It’s an excellent solution to sterilize and will also kill lice.

1. Add Rubbing Alcohol to a Bowl

Pour ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol into a bowl.

2. Soak the Blades

To clean your blades with alcohol, you’ll need to soak them in rubbing alcohol for at least 10 minutes. This will make sure that all the bacteria and germs are killed so you don’t give anyone a rash or infection while cutting their hair.

3. Rinse and Dry the Blades

Remove the blades, rinse them with water, and dry them as best as you can with a clean, dry cloth. Then place the blades on a clean towel to finish air-drying. You need the clippers completely dry before you reassemble the clippers.

4. Reassemble the Clippers

Put your clippers back together again.

Oil Your Clippers

Oiling your clippers will not clean them. However, oiling your clippers is a vital part of maintaining your barber clippers. The oil will reduce the friction between the blades which reduces the strain on the motor. This will ensure that your motor will last longer.

Oiling your clippers will help keep your clippers cool and prevent overheating. It also gives you smoother haircuts and prevents the clippers from snagging and pulling the hair as you cut. Plus, your clippers will run more quietly.

1. Prepare for Oiling

Prepare the clippers for oiling by removing any leftover hair from the clippers using a small brush or toothbrush if you haven’t already. Alternatively, you can blow away hair with compressed air.

You will also need to ensure that the blades and head are dry and don’t have any clipper spray or cleaning solution on them. Wipe off your clippers with a paper towel before oiling them.

The clippers will need to be running while you oil them, so plug your clippers into a socket or make sure that they have batteries installed.

It’s best to stand at a sink while oiling the clippers so any excess oil will drip into the sink.

2. Oil the Clippers

As you stand at the sink, tilt your clippers downward. You will need the flat part of the head facing away from you.

Start oiling the clippers by applying 2-3 drops across the top of the blade. You will need to make sure that the oil spreads along the surface without going back inside the clippers.

Be careful not to apply too much oil to your clippers. Too much oil can damage the motor and performance of your clippers.

3. Turn On Clippers

Turn the clippers on and let them run for about 20 seconds. The movement of the blades will encourage the oil to distribute itself evenly along with the blades.

Check your clipper’s user manual to see if anything else on the clippers needs to be oiled. Many clippers only need the blades oiled, but some require you to oil other moving parts too.

4. Remove excess oil

If there’s any excess oil, you can remove it by using a paper towel to dab the clippers clean.

How to Clean Clippers After Lice

Lice can be horrifying. If your clippers have been exposed, you’ll need to know how to clean them so that the lice aren’t spread from person to person. This means that you’ll need to clean and disinfect your clippers and kill the lice.

First, you will need to clean the clippers. Make sure that the blades and accessories soak in rubbing alcohol for at least 10 minutes. This will help to kill the lice.

Then reassemble and oil your clippers. Seal your clippers in a plastic bag for 48 hours. Adult head lice cannot live more than 24 hours without any human blood.

After the 48 hours are over, clean your clippers. As the lice are dead, you can choose to use your favorite cleaning solution.

How to Clean Clipper Guards

Clipper guards are the plastic attachments that come with the clippers. First, you will need to remove any hair on the guards using a small brush or a toothbrush.

Wash the guards with warm, soapy water to clean them. If there’s any gunk still on the guards, you can use the toothbrush to scrub them clean. When you finish, hold the guards under running water to rinse off all of the soap.

Wipe off all the excess water before putting the clipper guards on a clean and dry towel. Allow them to dry overnight before using the guards again. Store the guards in a clean box between uses.

Clipper Maintenance Tips

Clipper maintenance is very important as it will not only keep your clippers clean from bacteria. It will also prevent rust from developing and reduce the friction between the blades. This will prevent the motor from overheating.

Your clippers can last for years if you maintain them well. Follow these tips:

  • Check to make sure the blades are aligned and assembled properly.
  • Remove hair and debris from your clippers.
  • Clean and oil your blades after every use.
  • Use oil designed for use on hair clippers to oil your blades.
  • Don’t use too much oil when you oil your clippers.
  • Deep clean your clippers at least once a week or after 3-4 haircuts are given.


Should I Oil My Clippers Before or After Use?

You should oil your clippers after you’ve used them. Each time you finish using your clippers, you should clean and oil them so they are properly maintained. This will not only prevent bacteria from building up on your clippers but will also reduce the friction between the blades.

How Long Do Hair Clippers Last?

Hair clippers can last for years if they are cleaned and oiled after every use.

How Do You Keep Clipper Blades From Rusting?

The best way to keep clipper blades from rusting is to clean them regularly. Keep the blades dry after washing and lubricate them regularly.

How Do You Sharpen Clipper Blades?

The best way to sharpen clipper blades is to use a honing stone. Once you’ve reached the desired sharpness, run along the blades with a fine whetstone to remove burs.

What Household Items Can You Use to Clean Clippers?

There are several household items you can use to clean clippers, including dish soap and water, and rubbing alcohol. You can also use water and white vinegar to get the blades clean.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean Clippers?

You can use dish soap to clean clippers. However, once you’ve completed the cleaning, always ensure you dry the clippers thoroughly or you could cause rusting.

Can You Use WD-40 on Hair Clippers?

You shouldn’t use WD-40 on hair clippers because it is too thick and could cause hair to stick to the blades. It also smells really bad.

Keeping Your Trimmers Clean

Cleaning clippers is not a time-consuming task, but it is one you should complete after each use. Cleaning the clippers will prevent the buildup of bacteria on your clippers. You won’t be giving people spots and rashes when you cut their hair.

Cleaning your hair clipper also involves oiling them. The oil prevents rust. It also reduces the friction between the blades. Less friction means that the motor of your clippers doesn’t have to work as hard and will last longer.

Properly cleaning and maintaining your trimmers will allow them to last for years.

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About the Author

Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a coffee-loving freelance writer, homeschool blogger, and mom of six kids. In her free time, Sara loves reading books and researching more efficient and effective ways to keep a clean house, homeschool her children, and blog better while making a home for her large family.