How to Clean an Old Safety Razor

by Jasmine Haryana

Safety razors date back to the late 19th century, when Jean-Jacques Perret invented the world's first model. Since then, vintage safety razors have garnered a following among shaving enthusiasts and collectors. When patrons acquire an old safety razor via auction or flea market, the piece usually badly needs a cleaning to restore it to its previous condition. With patience and a few household cleansers and materials, safety razors can be cleaned, even after years of neglect.

Items you will need

  • Toothbrush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Soft, microfiber cloth
  • Ultrasonic jewelry cleaner
  • Foaming bathroom cleanser
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Borax or baking soda
  • Alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Silver, gold or brass polish paste
  • Cooking pot
  • Tin foil
  • Salt
  • Calcium, lime and rust remover
  • Mineral oil

Remove Build-up From an Old Safety Razor

Step 1

Soak your razor in a gentle, foaming bathroom cleanser and use your toothbrush to scrub the razor's exterior until soap scum is removed.

Step 2

Dip the razor handle in a foaming cleanser. Use a toothpick to trace gently but firmly any etchings or carvings on the razor handle to remove grime or build-up.

Step 3

Soak the razor in hydrogen peroxide for eight hours to loosen grime in hard-to-reach areas. Gently remove the razor after four hours and scrub it with a toothbrush. Then return the razor to the hydrogen peroxide to soak for the remainder.

Step 4

Remove stubborn stains by soaking the razor in a mixture of dish soap and hot water for 2 to 3 hours. Dry the razor with a soft microfiber cloth.

Polish an Old Safety Razor

Step 1

Spread metal polish on the razor, taking care to get the polish into crevices and grooves. Let the polish sit according to its directions. Then remove it with a soft, microfiber cloth, rubbing in a light, circular motion. Use pipe cleaners to buff hard-to-reach areas.

Step 2

Plug your ultrasonic jewelry cleaner in and fill the cleaning tank with the manufacturer-recommended cleaning solution. Place the safety razor in the cleaner's basket or tank and turn the machine on. Remove the safety razor once the cycle has finished and rinse it with cold water.

Step 3

Buff the razor with the microfiber cloth.

Eliminate Tarnishing From Silver, Nickel and Chrome Safety Razors

Step 1

Prepare the tarnish removal mixture. Line an old pot with tin foil. Mix 2 tbsp. of borax powder with 1 tsp. of salt and water and boiling water.

Step 2

Soak and scrub the razors in the tarnish removal mixture. Place the razors in the pot, submerging them in the mixture and soaking them for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the razors individually, brushing their surfaces gently with the old toothbrush.

Step 3

Pour the water mixture over the razors again and repeat the process until tarnishes are removed.

Disinfect an Old Safety Razor

Step 1

Dip a cotton swab in alcohol and rub it along every outer surface of the razor.

Step 2

Exchange the cotton swab for a fresh one. Repeat the soaking and rubbing process until all portions of the razor have been disinfected

Step 3

Remove the blade from the razor if you wish to keep it. Disinfect the blade by soaking and scrubbing it in alcohol.

Clean Twist to Open (TTO) Safety Razors

Step 1

Pour calcium, rust and lime cleanser down the razor plate's center hole to clean the inside workings of the razor, allowing the cleanser to sit for 20 minutes.

Step 2

Boil the razor in a pot of water for 30 minutes to remove any grime.

Step 3

Oil the razor's spring with mineral oil to ease its motion.

Tips

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Warnings

  • Do not use the original razor blades that came packaged with or already inserted into the razor, as oxidation, time and use by third parties can render the blades both ineffective and a health hazard.

    Keep razors, razor blades and cleaning agents away from children.

    Do not use harsh chemicals or calcium, lime and rust removers on painted or lacquered safety razors as they may damage the outer decor.

    Never use harsh cleansers containing acid or heavy bleach, as these may damage your vintage safety razor.

About the Author

With a career spanning business writing and technical commentaries, Jasmine Haryana has been writing and editing since 1996. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Davis and holds her certification in grant writing from The Foundation Center.