No cleaning station? No problem! In this guide I am going to show you how to manually clean your shaver, be it rotary or foil, in only a few quick and easy steps (with detailed images plus a video).
The best part? It will take you less than a minute to do it — literally.
Cleaning your electric razor thoroughly on a regular basis is the single most important thing you can do — alongside lubrication — in order to prolong its life and to ensure optimal performance.
Yes, an automatic cleaning station can take care of all that hassle for you.
However, not all shavers come with one and those that do are generally a lot more expensive and also imply higher costs of ownership — you will need to constantly buy the cleaning solution as well.
Luckily, most modern electric razors are very easy to clean manually if you follow a simple, but effective routine.
The best way to clean an electric shaver
I’ve been using electric shavers for almost 20 years and I can say without a doubt that the easiest, most effective way to clean them is with warm tap water and a bit of liquid soap.
This of course implies that your shaver is waterproof and can be safely rinsed with water.
If it’s not, you are pretty much doomed to stick to dry cleaning (I will share a few tips on that as well at the end of the post).
So, before moving on to the next part that shows the exact steps, make sure your shaver is waterproof and can be cleaned with water.
This information should be explicitly listed in the specs sheet of your shaver or in the user manual.
Do NOT wash your electric razor with water if it was not designed to handle it because it will get irreversibly damaged.
Before proceeding, make sure the shaver is turned off and it’s not connected to a power outlet.
Since we’ll be using water to clean it, you don’t want it to be plugged in for obvious safety concerns.
With that said, let’s see how to get it cleaned.
How to clean an electric shaver (step by step)
1. Remove most of the hairs from the shaving head.
Once you’ve finished shaving, with the razor turned off, remove the shaving head and gently tap the plastic frame on the edge of your sink or countertop.
Do not hit the foils on a hard surface, they can get damaged extremely easily.
This simple action will remove the bulk of hairs from the shaving head. Alternatively, you can use a small brush, but only on the inside of the head and not directly on the foils.
If you use a rotary shaver, some will have the front part of the shaving unit attached via a hinge (image A) while others have it friction fitted and must be removed completely (image B).
Either way, you should try to shake off as much hair strands as possible from the inside of the shaving unit by gently tapping the plastic frame.
TIP: If you use shaving cream or gel, then tapping or brushing the hairs is pretty much out of the question as the shaving head will be stuffed with lather. Instead, give it a quick rinse under the tap.
Once you’ve removed the hairs, snap the cutting block back on and let’s move on to the next step.
2. Apply a bit of water to the shaving head, then pour a few drops of liquid soap over the foils/combs.
You can use hand soap, dish wash soap or even some shower gel.
3. Turn the shaver on.
We’ll want the soap to lather nicely and coat the foils/heads of the shaver.
You’ll most likely need to add a bit more water at this point, so use your free hand to sprinkle a few more drops and to distribute the lather across the entire surface of the shaving head.
Let the shaver run for around 10 seconds.
Tip: Panasonic electric shavers have a special cleaning mode (called sonic mode) that is activated by pressing and holding the power button for a few seconds.
If you own a Panasonic shaver, you’ll probably want to take advantage of that as it will make the blades vibrate at a much higher rate, dislodging any stubborn dirt and will also prevent water splashes.
4. With the shaver still running, rinse the head generously with warm tap water.
This will remove most of the foam and hair clippings from the shaving head. Rinse it for approximately 10 seconds.
Tip: you can also hold the shaver with the head pointing downward. This will actually mimic the action of a cleaning station where the shaver is simply turned on and a detergent solution is passed through the head, flushing the hairs.
5. Turn the razor off, remove the shaving head and rinse it thoroughly.
Depending on your shaver model, this can be a bit different.
For example, Panasonic shavers have two inner (removable) blades and the rest of them are integrated into the foil block.
If you have a Panasonic shaver, remove the foil frame and rinse it thoroughly, both the inside and the outside.
Rinse the two inner blades as well — you don’t need to detach them from the shaver for this.
If you own Braun shaver, then most likely it uses a so-called cassette.
This basically means that the blades and foils are all merged into a single piece (unlike the shaving head of Panasonic razors).
If that’s the case, remove the cassette, then wash it with water, both the outside and the inner part.
It’s very important to do it rigorously since these cassettes have a very intricate inner part that offers limited access and some dirt may remain lodged inside.
The best way to avoid that from happening is to clean it in this manner on a regular basis, preferably after every shave.
If you own a rotary razor, then you must open or remove the top part of the shaving unit and rinse it.
As mentioned previously, on some models, particularly the lower-end Philips Norelco razors, the top part of the shaving head remains attached and can be easily popped open with the press of a button.
Whichever the case, make sure to rinse everything thoroughly, both the inside and the outside.
6. Shake off excess water, gently pat with a clean cloth and let the parts air dry completely.
It’s very important to allow the blades and foils to dry before putting them back together and storing the shaver in a cabinet.
If you fail to do so, the remaining water will take a lot more time to evaporate and you may even come across a damp shaving head the next day. And that’s not ideal if you shave dry (and most of us do).
And do not, under any circumstances, put the protective cap on if the shaving head is not completely dry.
If you’re constantly storing the shaver with water trapped inside the head it can even develop a funky smell over time.
And that’s it! Your shaver is now squeaky clean.
Here’s a video that illustrates these steps from start to finish using a Braun Series 7:
Bonus cleaning tips (rotary shavers only)
If you’re a foil shaver user, that’s pretty much all the cleaning you’ll ever have to do.
However, rotary razors will require a more in-depth cleaning every once in a while — apart from the standard routine described above.
Once a month or so, it would be a good idea to clean each pair of cutters and combs.
This of course implies disassembling the shaving unit and cleaning each of the rotary shaving heads.
The procedure takes a bit of time and can be fiddly, but at least you don’t have to do it often.
The most important thing here is to not mix the cutters and combs as they are matching pairs.
Mixing them will likely translate into a sub-optimal performance of the shaver and it will take a couple of weeks for the blades to adapt and sit flush to the inner surface of the combs again.
However, this will also wear them out faster, so it’s best not to mix them in the first place.
The procedure can be a bit different depending on the model of your rotary shaver, but you’ll always start by removing the retainers that hold the blades in place.
It can be either a single piece (usually on lower end models), like the one below:
Alternatively, each cutting head can have its own retaining ring. For example, here is the shaving unit of a Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige with the three blue retaining rings that must be turned counterclockwise in order to remove them.
Your shaver’s user manual should provide detailed instructions on this.
Once the retainers have been removed, you can proceed with cleaning the rotary blades and their corresponding combs.
It’s highly recommended to do it one pair at a time to avoid mixing them.
Wash the blade and the comb with water, removing any hairs and grime.
You can then gently pat them with a cloth or paper towel and let them air dry completely.
Once dry, you can also spray the blades and the inner part of the combs with a spray cleaner and lubricant since the shaving unit is already disassembled and you have access to the blades.
Put the combs, blades, and retainer rings back together in reverse order. Make sure to lock the retainers, usually by turning them clockwise.
Again, I must stress that it’s very important not to mix the cutter & comb pairs.
That’s pretty much it. This thorough cleaning routine only applies to rotary shavers and it is optional, but I would recommend doing it just to avoid gunk building up inside the combs.
Performing this once a month or even less often would easily be good enough.
Can’t use water and soap? Try this instead
I mentioned in the beginning that your electric razor must be waterproof in order to clean it with water and soap.
If however you own one of the very few modern shavers that aren’t waterproof (for example, a few Remington models or several travel shavers) or maybe you have an older/vintage shaver, then you must resort to the so-called dry cleaning.
Here are a few tips you may find useful in this case.
- You can use a can of compressed air to blow away hair strands a lot more effectively than by simply tapping the shaving unit or by using a brush.
- Use a spray cleaner and lubricant. These products are specially designed to be used on electric shavers and they work great.
Not only do they lubricate the blades, but also clean them very efficiently.
And since they dissolve water mineral deposits, it’s also a good idea to use one even if you clean the shaver with water and soap.
Mineral deposits, especially if your tap water is very hard, can increase the wear of the blades and shorten their lifespan.
That’s pretty much it — as you can see, manually cleaning an electric shaver is actually very easy and straightforward.
Performing this quick cleaning routine after every use will ensure optimal hygiene and performance.
Do not neglect lubricating your shaver on a regular basis as well. Soap will remove any traces of lubricant from the blades, thus increasing the friction and causing excessive heat and wear.
Here’s a complete guide on how and when to lubricate your electric razor.
Get these two right and you’ll have an electric shaver that will serve you well for years to come.
Disclaimer: shavercheck.com and the author of this post are not responsible for any damage caused to you or to your device.