So, you have a bit of a problem. Your beautiful, shiny, gleaming safety razor is no longer beautiful, shiny, or gleaming. You’ve got a buildup of soap scum obscuring the metal, and you need to clean your safety razor. But fear not! We can show you how to return your razor to it’s original, pristine condition using only household items and a few simple steps. As with any tool, proper cleaning is key to getting the most out of your safety razor. (Don’t have one? You Need a Safety Razor!)
It’s important to clean your safety razor and keep it disinfected so that you can get the longest life and cleanest shaves out of your safety razor. First, let’s go over the supplies you will need, and then we’ll show you how to use them with a simple method for cleaning your safety razor in 5 easy steps.
- Dish soap– Not dishwasher soap, but the regular stuff, like Dawn or Palmolive. If you try to use a dishwasher tab, you’re going to have a bad time!
- Isopropyl alcohol– This is your basic rubbing alcohol. A higher percentage will give you better results, so try to shoot for 99% for the most cleaning power.
- Toothbrush– This doesn’t have to be a new one, but I don’t recommend using the same toothbrush that you brush your teeth with!
- Q-tips and toothpicks.
- A bowl to do the washing in. (You can also use a cup, a mug, or an empty scuttle. Any sort of container that can hold a liquid will work.)
The good news is, you most likely have all of these things in your house already, and we have selected these items because they will restore a clean finish to your safety razor, without any risk of damage!
Using these steps below, it’s time to take our razor back to that original shine. Oh, and, safety first: make sure you take your blade out before you clean your safety razor!
Fill the bowl about 2/3rds of the way full with warm water, and then add a few squirts of the dish soap. Use the toothbrush to mix the soap with the water until it is nice and sudsy.
Using the toothbrush, apply the soapy mixture to your safety razor and scrub away at the buildup. The bristles of the toothbrush are tough enough to dislodge the soap scum, but not hard enough to scratch the metal of your razor. Also, dish soap is designed to be used on metals like pots, pans, and silverware. This means that its perfect for the steel of your razor. Try and remove as much buildup as you can during this step. You may need to scrub all parts of your razor more than once to get the buildup removed.
Detail clean your safety razor using the q-tips and toothpicks. Swirl a q-tip around in the soapy mixture, and then use the q-tip to scrub in all the little crevasses in your razor. Disassemble your safety razor (or open it up all the way, if you have a butterfly-style safety razor) and continue to clean all pieces of it with the q-tips and the toothbrush, as necessary. You can also use the toothpicks to chip and pick away at any buildup that remains lodged in the corners of your razor, and the soft wood won’t scratch the stainless steel.
After you are finished detailing, pour the soap and water mixture out of the bowl (or whatever container you are using) and clean the bowl out thoroughly. Then clean your toothbrush thoroughly as well. Moving your toothbrush back and forth between your safety razor and the soapy water will have also moved soap scum and bits of buildup into the bowl and onto the toothbrush, and the last thing we want to do is put those back on our razor during the final step!
Finally, fill the bowl about halfway with the isopropyl alcohol, and use the toothbrush to apply the alcohol to your safety razor. Then give the razor a gentle scrubbing. The alcohol will remove any remaining buildup or soap scum, as well as disinfecting the razor.
Over the course of many shaves, your safety razor is going to accumulate tiny pieces of organic material: things like hairs, dead skin cells, and even tiny flecks of blood. Because of this, it’s important to disinfect and sanitize your safety razor as part of your cleaning process. Finally, the alcohol provides the added benefit of leaving a brilliant shine once it evaporates from the surface of the metal, and can even be used on precious metals like gold, silver, or nickel.
This means that our method can be used to clean even the fanciest of safety razors without fear of damaging the metal plating. Bonus tip: if you live in an area with hard water, (like I do,) you can repeat this last step with white whine vinegar to remove any lime or calcium from your razor if the alcohol doesn’t do the trick.
Now that we’ve got your safety razor looking like new again, simply allow the toothbrush and bowl to dry, and put everything away. I like to keep it all under the sink as a sort of “safety razor cleaning kit” so that I have everything ready to go when its time to give my razor a good shine. A good cleaning like this should only be needed every few weeks. And when combined with proper blade changing, (see our guide How often do I change my safety razor blade?) this method for how to clean your safety razor should ensure a lifetime of close, comfortable shaves.
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