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How to Sharpen Hair Clipper Blades | Step-by-Step Guide

The best way to achieve a perfect haircut is with sharp hair clipper blades. Learn how to sharpen hair clipper blades to ensure a great cut every time.  There is a “right tool” for every job. For specific haircuts, that tool is a sharp set of hair clippers.

The following eight steps will teach you how to sharpen hair clipper blades. Keeping your hair clipper blades sharp makes cutting any head of hair much smoother. Once you have mastered this hair clipper blade sharpening maintenance task, the sharpening should be a routine. 

How to Sharpen Hair Clipper Blades in 8 Steps

You can use the following eight steps to sharpen your hair clipper blades: 

1. Remove the Blades 

You have to remove your hair clipper blades before you can sharpen them. Most blades are attached to the clippers with two screws located at the bottom of the blades. Use the appropriate screwdriver (Philips or flathead) to remove the screws. Then pop off the blades from the clipper. 

Pro Tip: There might be additional pieces holding the blades in place. Be sure to go slow with the removal. That will help you remember how to reassemble the blades when the sharpening is complete. 

2. Attach the Blades to a Magnet Holder

A specially designed magnet holder keeps the hair clipper blades in place while sharpening. It also helps prevent cuts and knicks to your fingers during sharpening. If you do not have a magnet holder, you can grip the blades for sharpening. You might want to wear surgical-type gloves to avoid injury.       

3. Run the Blade Across the Sharpening Stone

A sharpening stone is also called a whetstone or a honing stone. You can find these stones in any hardware store. Look for a grit surface stone with a rating of 4000 to sharper hair clipper blades. Hold the stone in place on a flat surface.

Move the blade at a 45-degree angle in a forward direction. It would be best if you only moved the blade forward. In other words, you should not move the blade back and forth. Repeat this forward motion for five to ten passes on the stone.

The sharpening motion should yield a blade that is shiny and even. Then turn the blade over and repeat for the opposite side. Repeat the process for the second blade after you sharpen the first blade. 

4. Repeat the Sharpening process With a Fine Whetstone

You can create an even sharper edge with a fine whetstone. The sharpening stone for this result should have a grit surface of 8000. Again, move the blade across the stone at an angle and only in a forward direction.

This additional sharpening is an optional step. If the blade is sharp enough on the first pass, you can move on to the cleaning and reassembly. 

5. Brush the Blade Clean

Use an old toothbrush to brush the blade clean. That should remove any debris or shavings created from the sharpening process. Then, you can clean the clippers with the same brush. If there are signs of visible rust on the blades.

Then, soak them in a blade cleaning solution for a few minutes. A solution with 90% alcohol should be sufficient. After the soak, you can dry the blades. If the rust remains, then you will need to replace the blades. 

6. Reattach the Blade

Reattach the blades to the clipper base in the same position from the start. Be sure to screw in tightly. 

7. Add Drops of Hair Clipper Oil

Once you reassemble the hair clippers, add a few drops of hair clipper oil to the blades. That is the same oil you apply after every few cuts that you perform. The oil helps prevent the blades from overheating. The oil also reduces friction that can damage the blades with continual use. 

8. Run the Hair Clippers 

After you reassemble the hair clippers, be sure to run the clippers for a few minutes. That will help hone the blades. They will now be ready for the next cut. 

Frequently Asked Questions

For a piece on how to sharpen hair clipper blades, a man holding two pairs of clippers in a square pattern

Anna Nass/Shutterstock

Here are some frequently asked questions about maintaining your hair clipper blades: 

Why does my client’s hair get pulled by the hair clippers?

Hair clippers that pull on hair are a good indication that those clippers are dull. The hair pulling can also mean that you’re moving the clippers too fast over the hair. Slow and steady always work.

Can I use any oil to lubricate my hair clipper blades?

The wrong type of oil can corrode hair clipper blades. A beauty supply store will sell professional-grade oil designed for hair-clipper lubrication.

Do I need to have my hair clipper blades sharpened by a professional?

You can save money by sharpening your hair clipper blades. Apply the same disassembly skills you use to clean your clippers to the sharpening process. There is no need to send the blades to a professional when you have a suitable sharpening stone.

How often do I need to sharpen my hair clipper blades?

For consistent cuts, you should sharpen your hair clipper blades after every three to four haircuts. You would undoubtedly want to sharpen them at the end or beginning of a salon shift.

How often should I replace my hair clipper blades?

A lot of that depends on the quality of the blade. If you use your hair clippers an average of 10 to 15 times a day, you could expect to replace those blades every four to six months.

So, How Do You Sharpen Hair Clipper Blades? 

Hair clippers are essential for your profession, whether you’re grooming dogs or giving buzz cuts in a salon. But those hair clippers must be well-maintained to provide your clients with the consistent haircuts you want. Sharpening hair clipper blades is similar to sharpening knives.

You need that honing stone. It would help if you also were comfortable with taking your clippers apart. But that comes with the profession. Sharp hair clipper blades translate into happy customers.