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Recommendations for cleaning and sanitizing a vintage razor

As some of you might know, I recently acquired my Grandfather's Old Type Ball End. I'm quite happy to finally have this razor as it took me several years of persistence to get it. So what would you recommend for cleaning and sanitizing it? I want to use it, but it's pretty scummy. However, it's in pretty amazing condition considering it's from the mid 20's, was carried through a war, and was my grandfather's every day razor all of his adult life. This razor deserves to carry on shaving.
 
Cleaning:
  1. Soak it overnight in a mild washing-up liquid and water solution.
  2. Then scrub using washing up liquid on a soft toothbrush under running water. Be patient it'll be worth it.

Sanitizing/Sterilising:

  1. Pour boiling water over it and leave it a few minutes.
 
Congrats on your heirloom.

Cleaning advice above is good. You cna also use Scrubbingh Bubbbles bathroom cleaner. Be sure to get the kind with no amonia.

Sanitizing, not really necessary after a good clean-up, but do NOT use boiling water. That is bad juju for razors and not needed. Just use some rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and soak or wipe down.

That's all you need to do.

Enjoy!
 
In what way is boiling water bad?
It isn't. At 85°C - that's 185°Fahrenheit for a few minutes you're guaranteed to not only kill all bacteria but also render no longer viable any spores.

Is it necessary? No. Not if you've cleaned it properly and then rinsed it.

Is it overkill? I would argue that it is, however the OP wanted to know how to sanitize it so I told him how to sterilise it.
 
Last edited:

nemo

Cheaper than ink
Moderator Emeritus
It's over-kill and unnecessary. A nasty bug can't live on the surface exposed to air and UV's for very long.

Hot & soapy water, a tootbrush and good ol' fashioned elbow grease will do all you need.
+1 on the soap and water.
I'd skip hydrogen peroxide and other harsh cleaners, too.
 
I've used washing soda crystals to good effect, dissolved in warm water. After rinsing, I've used a non-abrasive metal polish (Peek) to put a nice shine on the smooth surfaces.
 
I've used washing soda crystals to good effect, dissolved in warm water. After rinsing, I've used a non-abrasive metal polish (Peek) to put a nice shine on the smooth surfaces.
Peek is good on nickel and chrome plated razors, or ones with exposed brass, but I wouldn't use it on silver or gold plated models, quite a few of which were produced by Gillette and other companies. Often the gold, in particular, was just a wash, and it doesn't take much to remove it.
 
I've seen numerous threads about cleaning and sanitizing razors, and thought l should give my 2 cents.
First of all, regarding the Gillette adjustables, l've got a friend who does restorations and frequently disassebles them. On the outside they can look immaculate, but on the inside they are quite often packed with soap scum, green, black deposits that just look nasty. That being said, when buying vintage razors such as these, especially if they were used, it pays off to have them disassembled and thoroughly cleaned.
My routine when cleaning a razor would be like this: wash with some dish soap and a toothbrush to loosen the dirt, then l use Cif cream (be careful as it contains bleach) because it takes away any oxidation and rust if present, and also acts as a polishing compound. After that hit it with ultrasonic cleaner to loosen any dirt that you couldn't get to with your brush, and in the end soak it in 2% Asepsol (Serbian version of Barbicide - benzalkonium chloride) or l use Clinell universal spray (combination of benzalkonium chloride and two more chemicals). We use Clinell at Faculty of Dental medicine for disinfecting rotating instruments, such as turbines, counter-angles, rotary instruments, basically pieces that get in contact with saliva, blood and whatnot. IMHO, Clinell is not that expensive, you can find it on Ebay for about 5$ a bottle (500ml), and it packs quite a punch.
Universal Range
 
It isn't. At 85°C - that's 185°Fahrenheit for a few minutes you're guaranteed to not only kill all bacteria but also render no longer viable any spores.

Is it necessary? No. Not if you've cleaned it properly and then rinsed it.

Is it overkill? I would argue that it is, however the OP wanted to know how to sanitize it so I told him how to sterilise it.
You cannot sterilize an old razor with boiling water. It is not true that boiling water kills all bacterial spores.

If you want to sterilize a razor you need to put it through an autoclave. Period. HOWEVER, I can't see any need to sterilize a razor.


I use dishwashing liquid and water, and then 70% ethyl alcohol. That is enough to sanitize the razor and make it perfectly safe for use.

I am a practicing infectious diseases physician with almost 29 years of experience.
 
Congrats on your heirloom.

Cleaning advice above is good. You cna also use Scrubbingh Bubbbles bathroom cleaner. Be sure to get the kind with no amonia.

Sanitizing, not really necessary after a good clean-up, but do NOT use boiling water. That is bad juju for razors and not needed. Just use some rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and soak or wipe down.

That's all you need to do.

Enjoy!
Yes^. :thumbup1:
 
For 3 piece razors a good soak and scrub with soapy water should be enough. For TTOs get some barbicide to get into all the tough to reach spots.
 
I 'm a vintage guy and use the commonly mentioned methods (S-bubbles and Dawn) I guess just for piece of mind and the sake of washing/cleaning. The truth is that any germ that can survive 50+ years on the dry surface of a razor, may not be of this earth. On the other hand, I don't want to even ponder what may be lurking inside my TTO handle.
 
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