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My vintage Gillette razor cleaning experience

Hey guys,

Something came over me and I went nuts and bought 4 razors off ebay. They all came in today and 2 of them were completely rusty and had green stuff all over them. Then there was one that had calcium deposits and a little bit green and then the 4th one was pretty clean.

I know one of them is a Gillette F3 from 1960 but I am not sure about the other 3. If anyone knows how I can identify them that would be great. 2 of them are 1-9 adjustables and then 1 of them has red at the end of the handle. I would love to learn how to identify them.

Anyways I started with one of the 1-9 adjustable ones that was really rusty/green and not shiny at all.

- I took an old pan that no one uses anymore and boiled water and put the razor in boiling water so it was submerged. Some nasty brown and oily stuff started swirling on the top so I dumped that water and with the razor in the pan I filled it with water and boiled it for about 5-10 minutes. then added some vinegar and boiled it some more (I just wanted to try that, it stank really bad).

- Then I emptied out that water and then filled the pan up with water again and this time added some CLR to it and let it boil for a few minutes and then scrubbed the razor in that water. That cleaned it up a lot but the parts that were green are now slightly metallic pinkish.

- Then I repeated the procedure on the not that nasty razor but this time without the vinegar (the smell was horrible) and it cleaned it up really nice.

- Next on to the worst ones (with a red tip on the handle and no adjustable stuff) and repeated the same procedure on it but after a lot of cleaning there was still some rust and green so it is soaking in that CLR water solution overnight.

The other two are soaking in Lysol overnight.

I hope I did not ruin anything. I am keeping the F3 one seperate because it is not that dirty and if my experimentation screws up I would still have one left. Anyways what are your suggestions??? Did I screw up or am I on the right track? Should I also soak them alcohol? What about lubricating it so all the moving parts are still moving?

Scrubbing Bubbles works very well as a cleaner. I think you have sanatized them pretty well. I would submerge them in mineral oil for an hour or so to restore the lubrication. The one with the red end is probably a Red-Tip Super Speed. I don't remember the dates ('50's) The adjustables could be from anyewhere in the '60's or '70's. Pictures would help.

I recovered some really cruddy looking DE's that I bought off eBay.

Hope this helps.

EDIT: If you are going to do this very often, spring for an ultrasonic cleaner. And don't boil anything that's gold if you want it to stay that way.

Welcome to B&B !!
The red tipped one still has some rust on it. Would Scrubbing Bubbles work on that or should I soak it in some more CLR. I added about a splash or two of CLR to the boiling hot water because I didnt want to ruin anything. Should I try a stronger CLR mix?

One of the adjustables has an H and another one has a G. Once I am done cleaning I will take close up pictures and post so I can identify them all.

I would stay away from the CLR and go withe the tried and true method of scubbing bubbles.

A shot of WD-40 will loosen up the rust left by blades and hit it with the scubbing bubbles again.

I would also still after boiling, dip them in barbiside or alcohol the sterilize them, just to make sure.
G = 1961
H = 1962

Stay with the WD40 and Scrubbing Bubbles. I believe CLR contains either Oxalic Acid or Phosphoric Acid (I can't remember which). Prolonged exposure can etch the surface of the stainless and attack more fragile components inside the razor.
Wow... a little late for the no CLR. I put them back in water and boiled them :biggrin: then put a little bit of CLR in it and soaked it for a couple hours. Now thinking about putting them back in the Lysol and after that putting it in Alcohol and then soaking it in Mineral Oil like jlander suggested.

If I wanted to go with the WD40 route... do I spray them with WD40 like crazy or dip them?

For the purpose of removing some rust stains do to the old blades, just a shot of WD is needed and let stand for a minute. A little light scrub with a soft toothbrush and wash down the razor. I use a couple drops of dish soap and hot water, then a little scrubbing bubbles and a hot water rinse.
You don't want any WD left behind.
What about Weiman's metal polish? Anyone has any experience with that?

I am just listing stuff I have laying around the house. I had CLR, Lysol, Rubbing Alcohol so I used that. I will look for Scrubbing Bubbles and other stuff in the next few days.

What color should the notch on the adjustable area be? One of them turned kind of orangish I guess. The other one is black...
Any recommendations on what I could use to polish. The Weiman Metal Polish that I have says that it gives a brilliant shine to: Brass, Copper, Chrome, Aluminum, Silver and Gold.

And it also says Do not use on Lacquered surfaces or stainless steel kitchen appliances.

I dont think I should use that... what do you guys think?
What I did for both my Merkur HD and my new Schick Injector was to use a toothbrush and scrubbing bubbles. The scrubbing bubbles I used was the orange scented kind and am not sure if this makes a difference but it cleaned the razors up good. After that I immersed them both in Barbicide for 10 minutes per directions. Today I went out and bought this:

This is unlike Brasso which I typically use to polish brightwork and brass. You don't let this product dry to a film but I did let it set for a bit before I buffed it with a coffee filter (Is that a USMC thing?) and QTips. After that I used an old skivvie shirt (undershirt) to finish her off. Typically one should see black on the material used to polish which means it's working. They both look really good (that is a scratch not a smudge :p):
You are doing exactly what I did at first, which I think is overdoing it. I am with Thirdeye now. If they are rusty I spray then with WD-40 and let it set for a few minutes. Then an old toothbrush takes the rust right off. The razor itself (nickel or brass) does not rust; that is just residue left from an old blade that was left in it for years. It comes off easily with a bit of WD-40 and the toothbrush. Then I scrub the razor thoroughly with hot (not boiling) water and a good soap. Many people like scrubbing bubbles' I use whatever the wife has at the kitchen sink. A good scrub, a good rinse, then wipe them dry with a soft cloth. A dip in mineral or baby oil, wipe then dry again, and that is it. I think harsh chemicals and boiling water, as well as being unnecessary, can damage the finish.
My mother went to an antique show today and picked up some Gilettes. I will try to get the numbers later, but for now I am really excited to restore these classic pieces of machinery.
My mother went to an antique show today and picked up some Gilettes. I will try to get the numbers later, but for now I am really excited to restore these classic pieces of machinery.

Sweet....Please do let us know and remember, Pictures, pictures, pictures..:lol:

I wish I could get my mom out looking for razors....There has to be tons around the retirement area she lives in down in Florida....

I think I'll give her another call....(I'm a good son)....:lol::lol::lol:
Wow Paul... that is a real sweet picture. I went looking for Maas and Scrubbing bubbles but none of the places around me had it. The only kind of Scrubbing Bubbles was for mildew and I didnt think that would work. Also the toothbrush you use... does it matter if it is soft medium or hard? Also what about the underside(I guess you'd call it base), how do you get that clean real good?

Any ideas where I could get Barbicide?

Only reason why I boiled the crap out of these was because I wasnt sure about the germs and stuff. I guess I just got a bit paranoid about germs.
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