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.
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 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
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.
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.
DisinfectEnsuring 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 & StorageWith 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.
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
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 ThoughtsFor 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.