Safety Razor Cleaning

(This post is from 2019 and is still a good source, but not the current way I clean and disinfect razors. With the Covid Virus, I use a much more extensive cleaning and disinfecting process.)

You have found the perfect razor and can’t wait to use it. It should be known the razors can be a harbor for bacteria and initial cleaning and disinfecting is a must before use. Also, daily cleaning after use is required. Razors cause knicks, knicks cause blood, so chances are you have someones blood on or inside, or under the plating of your new awesome razor. HIV, Staph Infections, MRSA and Anitibiodic Resistant Bacteria are nothing to fool around with. Back Roads Gold undergoes yearly training on Blood Born Pathogens and has recieved Barbicide Certification.

On 19 March 1923 Lord Carnarvon suffered a severe mosquito bite infected by a razor cut. On 5 April, he died in the Continental-Savoy Hotel in Cairo. This led to the story of the “Curse of Tutankhamun”, the “Mummy’s Curse”. His death is most probably explained by blood poisoning (progressing to pneumonia) after accidentally shaving a mosquito bite infected with erysipelas. See 5 Men Who Died from Shaving.

Below are my recommendations only, you should research and be comfortable with the way you clean your razors. These are techniques I use when restoring the Back Roads Gold Razors.

1. SANITIZE – “Sanitize”, “clean” and “hygiene” all refer to the broad category that means you have done something to remove visible debris. Examples of this would be wiping down a counter, holding something under running water, using soap and water on an item or using a cleaning solution like Dawn or Ship-Shape® Cleaner.

Clean the heck out of it. I use a stiff vegetable brush. Run your water as hot as you can get it. With the brush wet with water squirt Dawn Dishwashing liquid on it. Now, scrub every nook and cranny of the razor, over and over. Rinse well and do it again. Cleaning must always be done prior to disinfection.

2. Disassemble the razor if it lets you, bending the ears is required on Super Speeds and some other models. Use bottle brushes to scrub the inside of the handle well. For those razors that have a stuck screw preventing disassembly, I clean the insides with a water pic. I mix about 2 oz of rubbing alcohol with 8 oz very hot water. Now, water pic from the bottom end until no debris comes out. Open the doors, turn the razor upside down and water pic in the space between the center shaft and the handle, spraying up into the handle, move around from side to side till no debris comes out. Then work the TTO up and down in various positions water picing as you do that.

3. DISINFECT –  Disinfecting is the killing of most microbial life that can lead to infection in humans—such as Influenza, Staphylococcus, HIV/AIDS, Herpes, Salmonella and Hepatitis. This step is done following cleaning and requires the use of a disinfectant such as Barbicide®, Barbicide® Plus or Barbicide® Wipes.

This step is the most important. Soak in Barbicide for 10 minutes! The Barbicide is hospital grade disinfectant and will kill anything that is left hanging around.

4. For a user grade razor, you are now ready for your first shave.

At this step in our restoration process, we would use a combination of our methods for removing old plating, resurfacing and polishing the razor. We do not use large buffing wheels in any of our processes. Each razor is done one at a time, with specific care and time spent bringing out the character for that particular razor. No two razors are alike in this process, pitting, staining and defects are all random and an evaluated approach is done to each specific razor.

5. Our next step would involve another Cleaning and Sanitizing, then immediately start the plating process.

6. After plating, we perform the assembly, then a final cleaning to remove any plating acids.

7. The last step in the process for a user grade razor or a plated razor is drying. Water spots are removed with a soft towel, dap the towel on the razor. Use a hair dryer to completely dry the razor. Never rub the razor with a washcloth or stiff towel to clean or dry, this may cause swirl marks and can wear down gold plating over time.