Introduction: Sharpening Rotary Razor Blades - Safe and Simple Method

About: Hi! I'm Cassey. I'm a biologist, specializing in Regenerative Medicine. Trey is an Electrical Engineer, so we do a lot of "left brained activity"! To balance that out, and use our "right brains …

Most people in our modern civilizations use razors, whether on faces, legs, unmentionable areas, etc. That means most people also have experience with DULL razors! With a $5 pack of disposable razors, that's not such a big deal since you just throw them away when they stop giving you a clean cut. But what about when your $150 electric razor stops giving you a clean cut, and you find that new (decent quality) blades are $50??? Dull razors are DANGEROUS, as they're more likely to accidentally cut you while you're shaving. But paying $50 for razor blades every month/few months is dangerous too, for our bank accounts... So we try to figure out how to sharpen our dull razor blades instead of purchasing new ones!

There are lots of YouTube videos showing how to “sharpen” electric razor blades using Jeweler’s Rouge, or Polishing Paste, and a lot of them involve blood… As the blades spin into the poor person trying to sharpen the blades like tiny ninja stars... NOT a safe way to sharpen the razor blades! Additionally, who keeps Jeweler’s Rouge or Polishing Paste laying around??? (If you do, please disregard that statement, I take it back!!) My hubby is a private engineering contractor/troubleshooter and we decided to break it down and take a look at it, to "accurately define the problem"... Here's what we found.

There’s good news for us cheapskates! Razor blades don’t actually get dull. The microscopic edges of the blades oxidize over time, which interferes with the blade’s cutting abilities. When "sharpening" the rotary blades, you just need to knock off the oxidation, on both the blades and the screens of the electric razor. Toothpaste contains a little grit to help clean teeth. When we apply toothpaste to the razor instead of our teeth, that grit hones the razor’s blades and removes the microscopic “metal lips” that form at the edges of the holes in the screens from the blades rubbing over them. This method is simple, quick, involves all “on hand materials,” and leaves your Electric Rotary Razor Blades BETTER than brand new!

*Please Note: This tutorial is for the Cordless “Wet/Dry” type of electric razor.*

Step 1: Materials

For this project, you will need:

  • An Electric Razor (preferably one you want to start cutting better!)
  • Toothpaste (any brand/type)
  • Small brush (the same on you normally use to clean your razor, or an old toothbrush)
  • Hot water (from your sink faucet)
  • 5 minutes (okay, MAYBE 10 minutes, if you're being responsible and cautious)

That's all!

The electric razor used in this tutorial is an 8 year old Phillips Electric Razor, but the concept will work on any Cordless Wet/Dry Electric Razor. Please note, this will ONLY work with the Cordless Wet/Dry Razor, as it involves getting the razor wet. Using a corded Electric Razor is a fire/electrocution hazard! Don't become the next "process of evolution meme!"

Step 2: Disassemble Razor and Brush Clean

Disassemble your electric razor as you usually would to clean it. You need to be able to access the blades and the screens, as shown in the pictures. Once disassembled, CAREFULLY brush the blades while running them under hot water, then rinse them with hot water. Brush and rinse the screens under hot water also. Then, reassemble the razor.

The close up pictures of the blades and screen are from after brushing. Notice the blemishes, the metal/debris clinging to the blades, and the bumps in the screen? Those bumps are causing the spinning razor blades to bump away from the screen, and not cut your hair!

If your razor does not easily disassemble, that's okay! Clean it like you usually would (brush it out under water, etc.), and continue to the next step.

Step 3: Applying Toothpaste

Squeeze a bit of toothpaste into the palm of your hand. Not too much, you don't want to bog down the razor, but enough to get the toothpaste into the screen and blades. Turn the razor on and slowly push the razor against the toothpaste in your hand, turning the razor to make sure the toothpaste is getting in every hole. When you feel the head of the razor heating up slightly against your palm and bogging down a little bit, pull it away for a few seconds, then repeat the process several times.

It's important to go very slowly here, as you don't want to bog down and burn up your razor! Make sure the blades all spin in the toothpaste and it's evenly distributed and runs through the blades and screens well.

Step 4: Cleaning It Up

Clean the toothpaste off your razor by again running it under hot water. If you need to disassemble it again to fully remove the toothpaste, do so.

Admire how much better your blades and screen look! All those metal tags that were clogging your blades are gone.

Let the razor dry, and enjoy the clean shave!

I hope this tutorial saves you lots of time and money, and keeps you "blood free" while honing (remember, honing, NOTsharpening) your Electric Razor Rotary Blades!

Step 5: Some Extra

  • Notice that each of the blades are actually a "stack" of two blades... The first blade in the stack grabs the hair and "lifts it" while cutting it, and the second blade in the stack cut the hair AGAIN before it can be pulled back out of the screen
  • The blades are "self sharpening/honing" to some extent, by constantly running over the insides of the screen. But, each blade eventually ends up with a tiny "wire spring" (see picture above; it’s the edge of an unhoned blade viewed under 400x magnification) of metal covering the sharp edge of the blade, preventing it from cutting as well. This method both “sharpens” AND “hones” the blades by removing those wire springs!
  • Using toothpaste instead of Jeweler's Rouge or polishing compounds allows each blade in each "stack" to be honed to cut again, instead of just targeting the first blade
  • Jeweler's Rogue/polishing compounds don't clean the space between the two blades; instead, they almost "cement" the blades together.
    • On our razor with 9 blade stacks on each of the three razor heads, "cementing" the blade stacks together means we'd have 27 cutting blades, instead of the *54* we SHOULD have.
    • Using toothpaste to clean between the two blades in each stack DOUBLES the number of blades actively cutting hair, which doubles the cutting efficiency!
  • Using the "mirror technique" can be dangerous, as it can cause the blades to be unevenly sharpened, which may cause them to catch and nick the screen. If the screen gets nicked, it's more likely to allow your skin to slip into it and allow the blades to cut you.
    • Also, this technique is just way quicker and easier than the mirror technique. ;)
    • Believe me yet?
    • No?
    • Try it out for yourself, then leave a comment letting us know how it worked for you!
    • Then share the tutorial so your friends can benefit from it too!

<3 - Cassey and Company

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