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A guide to cleaning and disinfecting razors (with steps)

Now that I have some time on my hands, I think it's a good idea to make a presentation of my own cleaning and disinfecting process. At some point, we will all finally try a vintage or a modern used razor. To feel safe enough to use it and say confidently it's ready, you have to follow a process. When I got my first vintage razor, I was looking for a guide on how to get it ready for use. I found many topics and used all these info to create my own process. I think it's a good guide and will help many fellow shavers. It has worked for me all these years.



First of all, we need the following items:





Plastic mug





Dish detergent





Hard toothbrush





Soft toothbrush





Pipe cleaner





Syringe





Barbicide





Disinfecting jar







Polishing liquid





Microfiber cloth






The process is as follows:



  • We put the razor in a mug for about ten minutes. Inside the mug, we've already made a mix of hot water and dish detergent. It will soften the dirt and will be easier to remove it. It'd be better if you had already loosen the razor.
  • After that, we clean the parts of our razor using a toothbrush. If it's vintage, nickel-plated or very dirty, a hard toothbrush is recommended. If it's modern and its finish is mirror shiny polish, be gentle and use a soft toothbrush with caution. The last thing we want is to damage the finish of our razor. Take your time, clean it good. If there are hard to reach parts, if we are cleaning an adjustable razor for example, a good item to clean the gap between the base plate and the moving mechanism is the pipe cleaner.
  • When the cleaning result is visible, we dry our razor using a cloth or even a hair dryer, that works too.
  • If the razor is vintage, now it's time for the polishing. I recommend the Silvo. It's not an expensive product and you can find it easily (I guess). Use a microfiber cloth to polish the razor. You'll see the tarnish coming off. Repeat until your razor starts to shine. Then clean it gently with a clean cloth, wait some time and put it inside the mug with the hot water again and do some gentle washing.
  • We continue by filling the disinfecting jar with 946ml of water and 59ml of Barbicide. This is the recommended analogy. A syringe will help you with the Barbicide quantity. About the water, fill it until the lines that start from the bottom of the bottle end. There is usually a sign on where to stop adding more water, each jar is different though.
  • We place the parts of our razor inside the inner basket of the bottle and leave it there for 10 minutes. It's the recommended amount of time by the manufacturer of Barbicide. If you leave it less time, it will probably not do the job. If you leave it more time or you forget about it, it will damage the finish of your razor. Yes, I've seen that happening. Also, if your razor is made out of aluminum, Barbicide is a big no. It can damage the finish even if you put it for 10 minutes, it will start to flake off. There is plenty of room for more than one razor in there by the way.
  • Finally the razor is ready for use, but prior to this clean it for one last time with plenty of warm water. We don't want that Barbicide on our face in case we accidentally cut ourselves.
 
Barbicide is not necessary.
Maybe so, but it doesn't hurt either. I generally follow the same procedure with new to me razors. In the back of my mind I think the whole procedure is a waste of time, but I do it anyway just to be sure because it's my time to waste.
 
Barbicide is not necessary.
There is actually a group of people who say that. I've read many cleaning topics and some say it's useful some say it's not necessary. It makes me feel safer and that's enough for me to use it. It doesn't harm anyway.

This arises two questions. If it's not necessary, then why all barbershops use it? They could just clean the combs and their tools with a dish detergent and that could save them some money. Also, if it's not a necessary product, then what's the exact purpose of this product if not for such occasions? You get what I mean.
 
There is actually a group of people who say that. I've read many cleaning topics and some say it's useful some say it's not necessary. It makes me feel safer and that's enough for me to use it. It doesn't harm anyway.

This arises two questions. If it's not necessary, then why all barbershops use it? They could just clean the combs and their tools with a dish detergent and that could save them some money. Also, if it's not a necessary product, then what's the exact purpose of this product if not for such occasions? You get what I mean.
Why do all the barbershops use Barbicide instead of soapy water? That's a good question.

Probable answers would include government regulations, and for public relations with customers who are waiting and observing.

If I saw a barber clean his comb with soapy water only, that would be fine for me if I were next in line.

If I observed a barber washing his hands in warm soapy water only, I would not decline shaking his hand. So why would I refuse a comb that was washed in soapy water but not dipped in Barbicide?

BTW In the course of social greetings, do we refuse to shake hands with people who haven't washed their hands first in our presence?

This topic seems filled with inconsistencies and false but well intended fears.
 
There is actually a group of people who say that. I've read many cleaning topics and some say it's useful some say it's not necessary. It makes me feel safer and that's enough for me to use it. It doesn't harm anyway.

This arises two questions. If it's not necessary, then why all barbershops use it? They could just clean the combs and their tools with a dish detergent and that could save them some money. Also, if it's not a necessary product, then what's the exact purpose of this product if not for such occasions? You get what I mean.
Barbershops use it for two reasons. One, there are public health mandates that govern that sort of thing. Two, they are going to use that comb again right away; there might be only a few minutes between it's use on consecutive customers.

With a vintage razor, it's different. Most of them have been sitting in a box or a drawer for years if not decades. Time kills almost all pathogens.

If a person wants to clean beyond scrubbing with soap and hot water, he can just add easily soak the razor in rubbing alcohol and let it air dry. It is simpler and less expensive than Barbicide.
 
Barbershops use it for two reasons. One, there are public health mandates that govern that sort of thing. Two, they are going to use that comb again right away; there might be only a few minutes between it's use on consecutive customers.

With a vintage razor, it's different. Most of them have been sitting in a box or a drawer for years if not decades. Time kills almost all pathogens.

If a person wants to clean beyond scrubbing with soap and hot water, he can just add easily soak the razor in rubbing alcohol and let it air dry. It is simpler and less expensive than Barbicide.
Part of your procedure is to let it air dry. How many of us leave a razor in a damp shower such that never dries completely. I leave a cartridge razor in the shower for shaving the back of my neck while I shower. That practice can allow pathogens to grow,

Time does kill most pathogens. However, the spores of spore forming bacteria like anthrax can survive for many decades. Thus, I would never use a vintage razor without a thorough cleaning and disinfecting.
 
Most of them have been sitting in a box or a drawer for years if not decades.
Or it could be a dumpster find.

Υou can't be sure where the razor was found before you put your hands on it. You just take your risks.

Barbicide is not an expensive product, I bought mine for a little more than 10 euros including shipping. It is totally worth it. Rubbing alcohol is not a panacea.
 
Or it could be a dumpster find.

Υou can't be sure where the razor was found before you put your hands on it. You just take your risks.

Barbicide is not an expensive product, I bought mine for a little more than 10 euros including shipping. It is totally worth it. Rubbing alcohol is not a panacea.
Washing removes spores physically. Nothing in a dumpster can survive a proper 70% alcohol treatment.

Use Barbicide if you want to, but people don't have to.

FYI I'm a pediatric infectious diseases physician and wrote one textbook on infectious diseases and was the editor of another.
 
That's why sometimes I ask more than one doctor for an opinion...

You know what, not all doctors suggest the same. If I ask two or more doctors, I'll get different solutions to my problem. It's my decision with which I'll proceed. You know where I'm getting at.

There are doctors who say use the Barbicide instead of the rubbing alcohol to disinfect such items. You can't deny this.

All professions have different schools of thought.
 
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Barbicide is cheap, and the thing I like about it is that it really does a good job cleaning from a personal use point of view. I like to soak razors that I will be the next one using in Barbicide for 10 - 20 minutes when I change blades.

If I get a new razor from outside, I will mix up a fresh batch of Barbicide and then dunk in rubbing alcohol. No reason I can find not to use it even if it has the potential of being over kill.
 
Barbicide is a low level level disinfectant. Which is what is recommended for items that come in contact with intact skin (non-critical items according to the Spaulding Classification system). However, it’s rare to find a low level disinfectant that is kind to metal over time. These chemicals are rarely pH neutral and usually contain qualities that will pit metal over time (pitting provides surface opportunities for biofilm to form) which actually increase infection risk. This is why the processes for decontaminating, cleaning, and sterilizing metal surgical instruments avoids disinfectant chemicals. The process may call for pH neutral enzymatic soaks to help break up blood, fat, and proteins. But no disinfecting chemicals are used. Water and high temperatures are used to achieve clean (safe for instrument assembly) and finally sterilization. Alcohol is also avoided during the decontamination phase of surgical instrument reprocessing because it can act as a fixative for proteins on metal. However, I can’t imagine a situation where proteins and gross contaminants would find their way onto a razor. Therefore, knowing all of this, (Doctorate of Nursing Practice, with a focus on sterile processing of surgical instruments) I would agree with the recommendations above of using water, soap, and alcohol for razor reprocessing to conserve the metal components of the razor over time.
 

GaryTha

Contributor
Every two weeks, I soak my razor for a couple hours in 50% dish soap and 50% water. It comes spotlessly clean with no scrubbing. After 426 shaves, the razor still looks new.

I don't have any vintage razors.
 
Peace of mind is worth something, so if Barbicide leads to a feeling of security, go ahead. But it is 100% an optional step in a procedure that i otherwise agree with. Barbers have to use it between clients, and it makes perfect sense in that scenario; unless you're going to start a tonsorial speakeasy it's not something to go out and buy.

Back when we could all go to restaurants, we stuck utensils in our mouths that were used that very same day by more than one person. They arent dipped in alcohol or barbicide or anything other than hot water and soap between diners; if hot water and soap is good enough for the health department inspectors, it's good enough for me.
 
Peace of mind is worth something, so if Barbicide leads to a feeling of security, go ahead. But it is 100% an optional step in a procedure that i otherwise agree with. Barbers have to use it between clients, and it makes perfect sense in that scenario; unless you're going to start a tonsorial speakeasy it's not something to go out and buy.

Back when we could all go to restaurants, we stuck utensils in our mouths that were used that very same day by more than one person. They arent dipped in alcohol or barbicide or anything other than hot water and soap between diners; if hot water and soap is good enough for the health department inspectors, it's good enough for me.
Restaurants are required to use dishwashers that achieve far higher water temperatures than you will find in your home sink or dishwasher. Temperatures should range between 160-180 degrees F. The commercial dishwashers provide supplemental heating to reach the required temperature. That is to insure dishes and utensils are adequately disinfected. Since water temperature over 125 degrees F will scald flesh, the temperature recommended for residential water heaters is no higher than this level.
 
Every two weeks, I soak my razor for a couple hours in 50% dish soap and 50% water. It comes spotlessly clean with no scrubbing. After 426 shaves, the razor still looks new.

I don't have any vintage razors.
Going to try this...as mines get soap gunk on them which needs scrubbing.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
 
Restaurants are required to use dishwashers that achieve far higher water temperatures than you will find in your home sink or dishwasher. Temperatures should range between 160-180 degrees F. The commercial dishwashers provide supplemental heating to reach the required temperature. That is to insure dishes and utensils are adequately disinfected. Since water temperature over 125 degrees F will scald flesh, the temperature recommended for residential water heaters is no higher than this level.
My point is, a chemical bath is not necessary to "sanitize" a vintage razor. Our tableware at home (and hands, for that matter) clean up just fine with the hot water from our tap and some soap.
 
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