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General Hair Clipper Care

By Toni C - Jan 16, 2011

Hair clippers with all of their moving parts and interactive components will last longer if properly maintained. A proactive approach to clipper care can have a positive effect on its long term reliable usability. Whether fixed adjustable, trimmer style, cordless or detachable the numerous available varieties of clippers all require a bare minimum maintenance checklist for smooth and consistent operation.

Friction

Moving parts and friction are a given in how clippers operate and function. Heat is inevitable as the various clipper components move, slide and interact with each other. One area where excessive friction and its corresponding heat generation can adversely affect clipper performance is in the blades. Since the metal on metal sliding action of clipper blades is what cuts hair, oiling is essential.

Oiling Clipper Blades

Oiling blades before each haircut and afterwards for storing is an important practice that ensures clean and even cutting. If the blades are not properly oiled, the motor may be strained, generating excessive heat and delivering fewer strokes to the cutting blade. Pulling rather than cutting may occur if the clipping action slows down beyond what is normal for the specific clipper model. A drop or two of oil to all the critical contact areas of a blade assembly is usually all that is needed to keep friction working effectively. These critical areas include where the cutting teeth meet, the flat mating surfaces and the hinge to groove spot on detachable blades.

Buildup

Unchecked hair buildup in clipper blades can easily make any oiling effort eventually ineffective. As the hair collects and gathers it will absorb the oil rendering it useless for its intended purpose. Hair buildup can easily hinder proper blade movement which in turn leads to motor strain. As with oiling, buildup should be cleaned out after each use or at a minimum, daily.

Andis Blade Care

Although canned air is useful for direct blasts of air, a high velocity hair dryer should work just as well to blow out hair from blades before a dense buildup can occur. A pipe brush is useful for the tight areas in between the contact surfaces. In addition to blowing out hair, most clipper blade manufacturers also provide a variety of cleansing solutions and sprays to help keep blades at their optimum performing level.

Disinfect

Ensuring that clippers are disinfected after each use is another critical aspect of proper clipper care. Licensed barber shops and hair salons are by law are required to disinfect clippers and other styling instruments after each use. Although casual or home style barbers are not, it is highly recommended and a good practice. Disinfectants are available in several different forms including sprays, solutions and wipes. Solutions work well for cleansing and disinfecting detachable blades. Wipes and sprays would be ideal for disinfecting attached blades and the clipper housing. Generally it is best to check with the manufacturer as they tend to offer their own disinfecting products with best practices and recommendations on proper usage.

Clipper Housing & Storage

With advances in small motor engineering and technology, a good number of popular clippers today apart from the blades require minimal to zero maintenance. Some examples of maintenance free clippers include the Andis BGRC or Andis Excel.

Oster Powerline Professional Hair Clipper

Most Oster brand detachable blade clippers like the Classic 76 or Power Line do need some maintenance for optimum performance. For clipper specific maintenance requirements always check with the included manufacturer’s documentation.

How clippers are stored can be just as important as keeping them well lubricated. Clippers left on a bare counter or shelf run the risk of dropping down to the floor. Although clipper blades are made of hardened metal, they are not indestructible.

A fall from just a few feet can easily shatter the cutting teeth or damage the clipper housing. Keep clippers stored in a towel lined drawer or a storage container. Padding the surface or using non-slip shelf lining where the clipper will lie helps reduce hard surface contact and movement.

Final Thoughts

For professional barbers and hairstylists, proactive clipper care is an investment in their livelihood. Convenience and frugality tends to be the motivating factor for regular consumers who utilize hair clippers for self, friends and family haircutting. Whatever the reason or circumstance, clippers properly cared for and maintained, will more than likely yield many years of satisfying service.

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