You could of course do these operations yourself, but it’s a lot more convenient to simply toss the shaver into the station and have it thoroughly cleaned and completely charged, ready for your next shave.
And with Braun shavers that use their trademark cassettes that integrate the blades and foils into a single enclosed piece, a cleaning station is genuinely useful.
However, using a Braun station also implies constantly buying new Clean & Renew cartridges. And the costs of buying new refills can really add up.
Luckily, there are a few cost-effective alternatives out there, ranging from DIY solutions to third-party, ready-made refills.
In this article we’ll focus on the latter and check out one of the more popular products of this type, the refill packets from CCRRefills.com.
They promise results that are at least as good as the OEM cartridges for just a fraction of the price, so we’ll see just how well they work and also how they compare to Braun’s own cleaning solution.
Let’s get started.
Buying a third-party product vs making your own from scratch
First of all, I have to mention that I am not sponsored or endorsed in any way by the manufacturer of these refills. I bought the product myself to use it with my Braun cleaning stations and thought it would be useful to share my experience.
With that said, you probably know that you can also make your own cleaning solution using only basic ingredients by reverse engineering Braun’s cleaning solution.
However, at least from a practical standpoint, the use of ready-made concentrate is preferable. And that’s the main advantage of these packets: convenience.
They’re easy to purchase, prepare and store. The cost per refill is extremely reasonable and you’ll have the peace of mind of using a product that was thoroughly tested and is backed by hundreds of user reviews, pretty much all of them positive.
In the case of a homemade solution, apart from the difficulty of getting all the ingredients, there’s the tricky problem of getting the proportions just right. This is important in order for the solution to work properly and the station can even show an empty cartridge reading if the electrical conductivity of the fluid is not within certain parameters.
While there are ways to get around this like adding more water to your mix, I think I would actually prefer using the concentrate packets that only require mixing with 500ml of 70% to 100% alcohol and avoid all the hassle.
Yes, making your own solution would likely bring down the costs down even more, but again, I think they are worth it for the completely hassle-free experience.
I am not by any means suggesting that you shouldn’t follow the other approach; in fact, I will be sharing a detailed guide on that as well as soon as I have perfected and tested the recipe thoroughly. But for now, we’ll focus on this ready-made solution from CCRRefills.
Making our Braun Clean & Renew solution
Let’s now get to actually putting together our alternative Braun formula. As you’re about to see, it’s extremely easy to do and you can’t really do anything wrong.
The concentrated solution comes in these small packets that can be bought in bundles of 2, 3, 5, 10 or 25 pieces.
I highly recommend getting at least a pack of 2 as the cost per packet will be significantly lower and you’ll be needing them anyway. Also, they take up virtually no storage space.
A single packet will be enough to refill a Braun cartridge 3 times, so buying a 10 pack for example will allow you to refill a cartridge 30 times for approximately $1 per refill. That’s fantastic value for money.
The refills come in 5 flavors: Lime, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint and unscented. I went with the Lemon scent just to compare it to the original Braun CCR solution.
Here’s a step by step guide on how to make the solution.
1. Clean your existing Braun CCR cartridge thoroughly
Empty the remaining content of a used Braun cartridge. Make sure to remove the liquid through the small opening as the large one contains a very fine mesh filter and the hair clippings won’t get through. We want to remove as many of them as we can.
Fill the container with tap water through the small hole, put the plastic cap back on firmly and shake it vigorously. Empty the content again through the small orifice. Repeat this step at least 5 times in order to remove as much debris as possible.
Don’t worry if you cannot get all of the hairs out, they’re very difficult to remove as they’ll stick to the walls of the cartridge. You can use some alcohol instead of water to rinse the cartridge as that’ll loosen the hairs better, but again, don’t stress about it.
You can see in the picture below my result after rinsing the container for 10 minutes. Trust me, it’s good enough despite not looking particularly clean.
If you can do a better job than me, great. Just make sure to give the cartridge a good shake and remove all the water before getting to the next step.
2. Mix the concentrated solution with 500 ml (16 oz) of 70% to 100% rubbing alcohol
You can use either Isopropyl or Ethanol. I used Isopropyl alcohol as that’s all I could find at a nearby store.
Since the concentration was 100%, I used some distilled water to bring it down to somewhere between 70% and 80%.
I could have very well used it as it was without any issues, but I wanted to make this test as relevant as possible. And since the majority will be using 70% alcohol as that’s the most common variation, I thought I should too.
Cut the top part of the packet with scissors and pour the whole content over 500ml (16 oz) alcohol (I used a 1L clean plastic bottle).
Shake the bottle to mix the content evenly.
As mentioned previously, I went with the Lemon variation and it smells very similar to Braun’s original refills.
The manufacturer even includes a sticker so you won’t confuse the bottle with something else like plain alcohol.
3. Pour the solution in the container, making sure not to top it off
You should shake the bottle every time before refilling your cartridge. The 500 ml/16 oz of cleaning solution will be enough to refill a cartridge 3 times.
Pour the solution through the small hole and fill the container to approximately ¼” from the top. Failing to do so will result in the solution overflowing the container during the cleaning process and prevent the shaver from drying completely.
That’s pretty much it.
Cleaning performance and how it compares to the original Braun Clean & Renew Solution
The ingredients of these concentrated refills are very simple (and drastically different from Braun’s original solution): food grade machine oil, essential oil and water.
Again, if you can get these ingredients and you’re willing to play around with the proportions, I see no reason why you couldn’t make your own solution for even less money.
Food grade machine oil is basically a highly refined mineral oil that’s safe to use on equipment that comes into contact with food.
The use of it in these refills is clearly for the purpose of lubricating the blades. The original Braun solution didn’t have any oil in it and I guess it solely relied upon the lubricating properties of Limonen or Citral.
I’ve been using the CCRRefills solution exclusively for one month before writing this review.
I cleaned my Series 5, 7 and 9 with it and never switched to an original cartridge during this whole testing period.
I’m glad to say that the results are GREAT. Apart from the fragrance not being as potent as the one in Braun’s refills, I haven’t found any differences whatsoever.
None of the stations ever signaled an empty cartridge and the cleaning process always went smoothly, just as it would when using an OEM refill cartridge.
My shavers were always perfectly clean and lubricated; I haven’t noticed anything unusual and they performed great, just like before.
I realize that one month is probably not enough to draw a final conclusion, but so far the results are really impressive.
I will update this post as time passes in case I notice anything significant.
I can strongly recommend these refills as a significantly more cost-effective alternative to Braun’s cleaning solution. Rubbing alcohol is dirt cheap and widely available and the overall cost of a refill obtained in this manner will be a lot lower compared to the original.
So if you were on the fence whether to buy a Braun shaver that comes with a cleaning station because that would bump up your costs of ownership, this truly is a viable alternative that will drastically reduce your expenses.
And you can lower them even more with just 3 easy steps that will make the cleaning solution last a lot longer.
From now on you would only need to buy original Braun CCR cartridges when the filter on yours becomes clogged with dirt or gets damaged. But from my experience it will take a lot of refilling before that happens.
If you have further questions or would like to share your experience with these refills or your own homemade solution, make sure to comment in the section below.