How to Take Care of Your Haircutting Shears and Clippers
For a barber or hair stylist, shears and clippers are essential tools of their trade. Keeping them in top working condition ensures their haircuts will be precise and accurate.
This guide offers tips for maintaining your shears, which are specialized scissors designed specifically for cutting hair. We also look at how to maintain your clippers. By taking care of this equipment, the hair styling professional can do their job to the best of their ability.
Reasons for Hair Shear Cleaning and Maintenance
One practical reason for properly cleaning and maintaining your shears is hygiene. Not only is it required by local health codes, but it is respectful to your customers to avoid cross-contamination.
Another reason is taking care of your cutting tools allows you to get longevity and performance from your hair cutting tools. Most barber and cosmetology schools will also teach you these principles as well.
Maintaining Hair Cutting / Beauty Shears Properly
1. Be Careful When Handling Shears
Haircutting shears are a delicate piece of equipment that you need to do your job properly. Treat them with care, and they will help take care of you. Do not drop them or slam them down on the counter, as the blades can become nicked or damaged. If the shears are bent or otherwise damaged, they must be serviced or replaced.
Also, do not let other people use your haircutting shears, and do not use the shears for any other purpose besides cutting hair. If you use the shears for other purposes that you would normally use regular scissors for, it can dull the blades, and your haircuts will be affected.
2. Proper Daily Cleaning Routines
Most salons and barber shops have their own required hygiene requirements, as do local and state jurisdictions. Shears should be cleaned and sanitized between customers. It is also good to clean the shears as you cut a client’s hair, to keep hair, products, and moisture from drying on the shears and creating buildup which can cause performance deterioration or cross-contamination.
In between clients, most shops require you to clean the shears with a liquid disinfecting rinse.
3. Oiling the Shears
Each day, when you are done using your shears, after you have cleaned, disinfected, and dried them, you can use shear oil to preserve your investment. Shears are one of the most expensive pieces of equipment you have in your kit, and maintaining them keeps them in top performance shape.
Open the shears to a 45-degree angle and place a few drops of shear oil at the pivot point. Let the shears sit overnight.
In the morning, hold the shears pointing downward, and open and close them. Excess hair particles and debris will run down the blades. Remove the debris with a cleaning cloth. Periodically flushing these small hair particles will keep the shears from corroding at the pivot point.
4. Storing Your Shears
When not in use, keep your shears stored in a protective case with a soft, absorbent lining. Do not store your shears with the other tools in your kit, as jostling and banging against other metal tools can cause damage to the blades.
5. Adjusting the Tension
Your shears should be adjusted to be not too loose and not too tight. They should fit comfortably in your hand, and not cause stress on the tendons in your hand. Proper tension is crucial to an accurate haircut.
When the tension is too loose, it will not cut strands of hair properly. If the tension is too tight, the shears may be uncomfortable to use.
Your shears should also be sharpened and adjusted periodically for maximum efficiency and performance.
Now let’s look at how to maintain your hair clippers.
Cleaning the Hair Cutting Clippers
Here are the steps for cleaning hair clippers.
1. Gather Tools for Cleaning and Remove Blades
You will need a few things to deep clean your hair clippers.
- Screwdriver to remove screws
- Soft brush to remove hair
- Clipper blade oil
- Cleaning rag
- Blade cleaner
- Honing stone (optional)
2. Remove Clipper Blades
Most clippers have the blades attached by two screws. Use the screwdriver to remove these, and detach the clipper blades. There is no need to take apart the clippers further, as the rest of the inner workings are electrical components.
If your clipper blades are dull, you can use a honing stone to sharpen them, or simply buy a new set of blades. New clipper blades run about $25 to $50 from a barber supply e-commerce store, depending on what type you select.
3. Remove Hair and Clean Blades
Use the soft brush to remove any hair from the clipper blades. Don’t use anything wet to clean the blades. You can wipe the blades off with a dry rag.
4. Oil the Blades and Reassemble the Clippers
There is oil that is made specially for electric clippers. Apply this to the clipper blades on the side where it meets the rest of the clipper assembly. Attach the screws, leave just a little slack. Dab any excess oil away with a rag.
5. Storing the Blades When Not in Use
When you are not actively using your clipper blades, detach then from the clipper unit, and wrap them in a rag slightly moist with clipper oil. Store the wrapped blades in a space free from moisture. This will help prevent them from becoming tarnished or rusty.
Daily Cleaning of Clippers
When you aren’t doing a methodical deep cleaning, you still need to clean your clipper blades daily. To do this, you will need to purchase clipper blade wash. Depending on what brand of blade wash you buy, this will run between $7 and $13.
To do a daily cleaning, put some of the blade wash in a dish. Brush off any excess hair from the clipper blades. Submerge the blades with care not to submerge any other parts of the clippers. Turn on the clippers for about 10 to 30 seconds. You should see dirt and deeply lodged hair escape from the blades. This blade wash also helps disinfect the blades for quick sanitization.
Disclaimer: Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines for electric clippers, hair cutting shears, or any other hair cutting equipment. Specific products may have recommendations that supercede any third-party advice.
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