How to Clean an Electric Shaver The Right Way (Quickly and Efficiently)

By Updated: 28 Comments
How to Clean an Electric Shaver The Right Way (Quickly and Efficiently)

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.

Tapping the shaving head on the sink to get rid of the hairs

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).

Rotary shaver shaving units

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.

Applying a bit of liquid soap to the foils

You can use hand soap, dish wash soap or even some shower gel.

3. Turn the shaver on.

Turning on the shaver to lather the soap

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.

Rinsing the shaver with 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.

Removing and rinsing the shaving head again

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.

Rinsing the inner blades of a Panasonic shaver

Rinsing the inner blades of a Panasonic shaver

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).

A Braun Series 7 cassette

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.

Letting the shaver 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:

Philips shaver retaining bracket

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.

Philips Norelco S9000 shaving heads

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.

Cleaning the circular blades of a rotary razor

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.

Final word

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.

28 comments on “How to Clean an Electric Shaver The Right Way (Quickly and Efficiently)

Leave a comment
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      You are very welcome, Vitaly. Hope you found the information useful.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  1. Derek

    Hello. Excellent article. Thank you!

    I have a question regarding cleaning. I have a Braun Series 5 with a cleaning station. I know that when using shaving cream I am supposed to manually clean it first before putting it back in the cleaning station. My questions are:

    1) Do I need to let the cartridge dry first before I put it back in the station after manually cleaning it? Will water interfere with the cleaning solution?
    2) Do I need to oil the razor if I manually clean but also use the cleaning station?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Derek,

      Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. Those are actually some excellent questions.

      1. No, it doesn’t have to be perfectly dry, but make sure to shake off the excess water and wipe it with a paper tissue/towel. Water that ends up in the cartridge can affect the electric conductivity of the solution which can trigger a false empty cartridge reading — the station uses the electric conductivity of the alcohol fluid to determine when it’s time to replace the cartridge.

      2. No, if you also use the station regularly there’s no need to oil the blades. The cleaning solution also lubricates the shaver, so it’s all good.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  2. Ben Cluff

    Ovidiu,
    Thank you very much for this article. I have some extended travel coming up that makes it impractical to use my cleaning station. The timing of this post could not have been better.
    The photographs and video complement the article very nicely.

    ShaverCheck continues to be a solid reference source for me.
    Respectfully,
    Ben

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Ben,

      Thank you for your kind words. Glad to know you found the information useful.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  3. Mehran

    Hi Dear Ovidiu, thanks in advance for your useful information…. I face some topic that I kindly ask you follow this subject even by Braun Company too.

    Last year I bought one series 9 as 9299… At the beginning it was wonderful and satisfy me as well for shaving and also noise that is very important for any person…. As I used it many time its noise not disturb me but:
    As my offer, my brother buy the new one series 9 as 9295 and NOW that I compare the new one and the other one that used about one year, we understand that after one year usage the noise of this shaver is terrible….

    Perhaps No body fill this problem because nobody compare his shaver with new one, but I think because of very high vibration 40.000 ( 4*10.000) it damage the shaver too…By the way, I lubricate my shaver 2-3 times per month by oil too.

    In the same situation and location for both shaver, the difference for decibel is around 15 DB that I check with my smart Phone.

    Ovodiu, please pay attention that when I change the old cassette with the new one, nothing change and the terrible noise is remained.

    Let me know your opinion because of your skill in this field.

    Thanks again.
    Ciao
    Mehran

    Reply
  4. mark

    hello

    I have a braun 9090c, do you know if it is waterproof ?
    on the manual, they say that the 9090c can be cleansed with tap water, and only the model 9095cc and 9040 are ”wet and dry” which would mean they are better at being waterproof ????

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hello Mark,

      Both the dry only Series 9 and the wet & dry models are waterproof, so they can be washed under the tap. However, only the models specifically labeled as wet & dry can be used in the shower for example. There are two types of Series 9: type 5790 (dry only) and type 5791 (wet & dry) which may hint at better waterproofing in the case of the latter.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  5. Scott

    Instead of using the stiff plastic brushes that come with electric shavers, I use a small camel hair or natural hair artist brush. This way you can brush the foil or combs directly without risking any damage to them because the natural bristles are very soft. And it does a better job for a thorough cleaning.

    Reply
  6. A Grateful Reader

    First of all, your website is incredible. I’ve had to learn all of this myself because I’m a trans male; I grew up shaving my legs and such with a manual razor! On testosterone for over four years, I have a full, neckline beard and mustache with coarse hair and sensitive skin. My father has passed away so I do not have anyone to teach me. I only use the electric razor on my cheeks, shape my sideburns, and under my neck. I trim my beard using an electric trimmer.

    I’m here for clarification on how to best clean the Braun Series 7 cassette since I did not buy one with a cleaning station. I dry shave every other day. (I might try wet shaving after reading your article on it, though!) The video you provided was immensely helpful.

    Finally, here’s the question: how do I use the cleaning brush, specifically after dry shaving? I’m honestly not sure how to use it best—I’ve been using it on the inside of the cassette head but there are so many moving parts so I usually give it a good shake,
    tap on the sink, and some brisk flicks with the bristles. I’m getting a replacement cassette tomorrow so I want to know how to best take care of it.

    Thank you for your site!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I’m glad you found the information on this website helpful.

      Regarding the cleaning brush, you are pretty much limited to using it on the inside of the cassette (never directly on the foils) and also for brushing any remaining hair strands from the pivoting head unit (the one that remains attached to the shaver). In my opinion the brush is only useful for a quick clean when for some reason you cannot use water. A quick rinse under the tap would still remove more hairs from the cassette even when dry shaving.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  7. Iain

    Thanks for a really informative site. I bought a Braun 3080s around 9 months ago and was very disappointed when I was getting a really dreadful shave after 9 months, despite carrying out what I thought was the proper cleaning regime. It was only when I bought a new cartridge that I found that (1) the shaver gave me a great shave again and (2) the old cartridge was clogged with gunge. I only shave dry and assumed that tapping the head to remove hairs plus a tiny drop of Wahl oil on the foils from time to time would suffice, but obviously not. Just as an experiment, I tried cleaning the old head quite rigorously but some of the gunge was immovable! So I think my future schedule will be tapping out the hairs as recommended, supplemented by an occasional blast of compressed air, a minute drop of Wahl oil on each foil every few shaves and a complete wash, dry and light lube every so often – perhaps every week?

    Thanks again for a great resource……

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi,

      Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
      Oil along with hairs, grime, and dead skin cells can gunk up the razor in time. So your new routine should definitely be an improvement over just tapping out the hairs. I personally would do a quick rinse under the tap after every shave. Lubricating with a single drop of oil on each foil should depend on how you clean the shaver. If you don’t use liquid soap, oiling once a week will easily be enough.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Iain

        Thanks for that useful info, Ovidiu – I’ll follow your guidelines. The problem with daily cleaning with fresh water is making sure that the Braun head is in a safe spot while it’s drying out, otherwise at the mercy of a wife who may “tidy it away”. I’m working on that!

        Regards,
        Iain

        Reply
  8. Uncle freddie

    How to clean the center cutter on a 5 head electric shaver. I can clean the 4 outer blades but cant figure the middle one. Dont want to break it tryong to get it out

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Can you please specify the brand and model of your electric shaver? Cleaning the shaving head should be very straightforward for all the blades (same process described in the article).

      Reply
      1. Sergey

        Hi Ovidiu,

        First of all, thanks for all your articles. They helped me to choose my first electruc shaver!

        My question is when to apply oil? Should the razer be completely dry after the cleaning or I can put oil immediately after I washed it?

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi Sergey,

          You are very welcome, glad you found them useful. I would strongly recommend applying the oil when the shaver is completely dry. I personally do it right before I shave.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  9. Scott

    I use a water pick to clean mine. The first time I did I was amazed how much hair was flushed out even after cleaning and tapping the blade. (I have a Braun similar to the one in the article)

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Scott. I don’t have a water flosser, so I’ve never tried cleaning an electric shaver using one. But pressurized water should clean the shaving head quite effectively, just make sure not to use too much pressure as over time the foils could get damaged.

      Reply
  10. Dale Laine

    I have a Phillips Norelco Aquatec in which I just replaced the blades. While doing so, the other part came loose and I can’t get it back in. I don’t know if something broke or what.
    It is triangular in shape and sits in the bottom, as opposed to the blades on top.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi,

      From what I can tell, I think you’re referring to the triangular locking bracket (you can check it out in this image). If that’s the case, you must put it back in place and lock it (usually by rotating it clockwise, but this can vary depending on the shaver model).

      Let me know if if you managed to fix it.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  11. Hussain

    Very good article with pictures and video. Thanks for making it available.
    I have a Panasonic wet/dry shaver and was wondering on two things:
    – how to get rid of the white residue from the shaving foam that accumulates over time
    – should we be using any oils on the blades to keep them functioning well?

    Thanks again

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Hussain,

      Thank you for your comment, those are some excellent points.

      First of all, if you use shaving cream, it would be highly recommended to give your shaver a thorough cleaning after every use just to avoid that hardened shaving foam that will accumulate over time. But even so, some foam residue will still remain in the corners of the foils (on the inside).

      It’s happened to me as well as I tend to use shaving cream with my Panasonic razors. The best solution I’ve found is to remove the inner blades and outer foil and let them soak in a bowl of warm, soapy water for 30 to 60 minutes. You can use dishwash soap, but any liquid soap will do. After that, give them a thorough rinse. There may be some traces of hardened foam left at the very corners of the foil, but it shouldn’t interfere with the actual functioning of your shaver.

      Hardened foam is difficult to remove and it’s best to avoid getting there by regularly cleaning your shaver as described in this post for example.

      As for lubrication, I highly recommend it, particularly if you use water (and) soap to clean your shaver. You can use light machine oil, clipper oil or a spray lubricant for electric razors (like Remington Shaver Saver). You can read my guide on lubrication here.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  12. Tim

    Hi Ovidiu,

    Incredibly detailed and well written article! I have a question. I have the Panasonic 5 blade shaver(ES-LV6Q). It has been having the musty smell even after washing with soap and leaving it out to dry. What would u suggest to be done to get rid of the musty smell and prevent it?

    Regards
    Tim

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Tim,

      Many thanks for your comment. In order to avoid any funky smells from the shaving head of your razor, there are really only two things you must take care of: proper cleaning and letting the parts dry completely. From your comment I understand that you are doing precisely that. Can you describe in more detail your cleaning routine? Maybe there’s something along the way that causes the issue. Do you clean it with soap and water after every shave?

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply

Please leave a comment below.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *