How to Maintain Your Safety Razor (5 Easy-To-Do Steps)
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One of the great things about the best safety razors is that they can last you a lifetime. The razor blades they use will always be available, and good metal lasts longer than plastic. To get as many “shaving miles” out of the razor as possible, it is important to give it a little TLC now and then. Here are 5 easy-to-do steps on how to maintain a safety razor:
1. Clean the Safety Razor When Changing Blades
Although safety razors get rid of hair and shaving soap (or a classic shave cream) far more efficiently than multi-blade razors, they must sooner or later be dismantled and cleaned. In this way, you avoid bacterial spread and rash and keep the razor shiny.
Most people that have found the benefits of the classic shave change their double-edge razor blades once a week. This is an excellent opportunity to clean the parts with mild detergent and a brush. Razors without a wooden handle (like the Merkur Futur) can be washed in the dishwasher, but we recommend hand-cleaning your safety razor for the best results.
2. Assemble the Safety Razor Correctly
Most safety razors have a separate head, comb (also called guard), and handle, which are screwed together. When changing blades, the comb must face up correctly, so that the long sides slope up towards the head and not down towards the handle. As with all screws, the threads can get skewed if you are not doing it correctly. This is noticeable when the razor head suddenly becomes extremely hard to screw in before it reaches the end – when the threads hit there should be no resistance before the head meets the comb and the handle.
A simple trick to always hit the threads correctly is as follows: Press the screw lightly against the handle and slowly screw it “the wrong way”, i.e. counterclockwise from the head. Then you will sooner or later hear a small “click” – this is the point where the thread starts. Then turn the head slightly clockwise until it bottoms out towards the comb and handles.
You do not need to tighten hard, we call it to finger tight+. If you tighten too hard, you will destroy the threads.
3. Rinse and Dry the Safety Razor after Use
Do not put the safety razor right back in the razor stand after shaving. Instead, take a few seconds to rinse it with water and wipe it down with a towel or soft cloth. By doing so you will remove the white shave soap coating that will otherwise form, and wipe away moisture that can otherwise irritate the chrome plating and crack any wood handle. It takes a few seconds and helps extend the life of your razor. Tip to remember: Dry your body and your razor.
4. Use Maintenance Oil
Some of us have mothers who regularly let the best cutlery soak in oil overnight to prevent the wood handles to dry out. With a coat of oil, the wooden handle of the razor is kept saturated with oil, so that water does not penetrate. Otherwise, the water causes the wood fibers to swell, and when the water evaporates, it leaves the wood completely dried and eventually cracks. With metal handles, a splash of oil is a good idea to keep the threads fresh and the surface nice and free of corrosion oxidation.
5. Polish Chrome
You should be able to mirror yourself in a freshly polished safety razor.
Most popular razors from brands like Mühle are made of forged brass, which is then chrome-plated. Neither brass nor chrome can rust, but if the razor has been damp for years (see tip no. 3), the chrome surface may start degrading. This will look like a dark, slightly burgundy-colored coating or “nubs”. You can easily remove this with a mild chrome polish that is available at most hardware stores and gas stations. Polish the razor as you would polish silverware, first with a soft cloth, then with a dry cloth. When the finish is mirror-gloss – apply a layer of protective wax. Do this once a year and/or when you see it is needed.
Note: Do not polish stainless steel razors. Exclusive razors such as Muhle Rocca, Rockwell 6S, and Feather AS-D2 are made of stainless steel with a silky matte, anodized finish. Do not polish these with a chrome gloss polisher as it will remove the original finish. Since the anodizing is extremely hard and the stainless steel cannot rust, it is only necessary to dry the razor after use.
Ruiru Kibet is passionate about beard care and male grooming. He believes it’s an art form and is happy to share his insight with men across the globe. He’s into wet shaving and evidence-based grooming, a passion that helps him analyze men’s grooming brands, products, and wet shaving practices presenting you with the best recommendations and advice.