Electrical Barbering Tools: Maintenance 101

Published 26th Mar 2024 by Josie Jackson

Keeping your electrical tools in top condition is essential to providing quality cuts, so we spoke to the experts to find out why maintenance is important, and when it's time to upgrade...

Every barber relies on their electrical tools, which is why giving your clippers, trimmers, and hairdryers, the right amount of care and maintenance is essential to providing a quality and healthy cut. Rhys Whitehouse, Wahl Artistic Team Member tells us: “80% of all repair requests at Wahl are due to poor maintenance and sanitation.” So, it’s not only important to keep tools maintained from a hygiene point of view, but it also ensures products longevity and makes for a more comfortable experience.

“Keeping tools maintained allows them to perform properly,” Jim Shaw, Owner of TONI&GUY Billericay, tells us. “By keeping tools clean and lubricated, you will be able to cut the hair better and more efficiently.” Furthermore, ensuring proper hygiene for both you and your clients helps barbers maintain a safe and professional service. “Cleaning your tools ensures you are preventing the spread of bacteria, viruses and infections,” says Charles Rose, STMNT Grooming Ambassador and Director of Crate Cheshire. “Without clean tools, you cannot deliver the highest level of standards.” In short, “You don’t want to have tools that don’t last and burn out in a few months because you’ve never cleaned them,” says Ben Vowles, Master Barber at Murdock London.

What to Look Out For

“Hairdryer filters need to be clean, otherwise the motor cannot get the airflow needed to perform and will eventually overheat and expire,” Simon Townley, Matrix Artist Ambassador, tells us, adding: “Clippers and trimmers need regular oiling and stripping down to remove the build-up of hair and debris under the blades, as this can cause them to become clogged and in extreme cases, stop the spindle from spinning.”

To avoid loose hair and debris getting trapped in the blades, Jim recommends investing in a cleaning brush, or alternatively using an old toothbrush. “With clippers, you should use a professional clipper spray or distilled white vinegar to clean the blades and ensure they are disinfected and sterilised,” adds Jim. “Be careful when using water on clippers and be sure to wipe them dry afterwards to avoid rusting.”

Similarly, Pete Cranfield, BaByliss PRO Ambassador, tells us how he uses a hygiene spray after every haircut, and a drop of oil after every few haircuts to keep his clippers clean and well oiled. “I then take them apart every couple of weeks to do a full deep clean of the insides to remove any hair,” he says. Ryan Lewis, owner of Club Thirteen Hull, also likes to strip down equipment weekly to ensure everything is running as it should. “It’s a great way to understand how your tools actually work,” he says. “The more understanding, the more you can modify or upgrade your electricals.”

Time to Say Goodbye

One of the most common causes of electrical tools getting damage is overheating. Jim tells us this can be caused by poor maintenance restricting them from working at their best. “This can sometimes happen if you let the clippers get dirty, or if you don’t keep them oiled,” Jim highlights. “Too much power can also lead to this, therefore try to give your clippers breaks where possible by turning them off, and allowing them to cool.”

It’s also important to note that batteries have a finite lifespan. “When the tool no longer holds its usual run time, it may be time to replace the battery,” says Kevin Luchmun, Andis International Artistic Team Lead. “Andis sell replacement batteries so your favourite tools can keep delivering years of dependable performance for you.”

When do you know it’s time to upgrade? “Blades should be replaced every four to eight months,” advises Jim. “If you have good quality, professional clippers, they should be able to last years if taken care of properly.”

If you’ve maintained your tools well, you’ll know when they need replacing. “If the power output feels like it’s lacking, your tools are on the way out,” Ben says. Likewise, Charles tells us: “If your clippers start to nag, or feel blunt, it is vital you get them sharpened or replace the blades to ensure your clipper work stays consistent throughout the haircut.” Which is why keeping your kitbag updated with two pairs of tools is essential – just in case!

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 26th Mar 2024

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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