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How to Sharpen Hair Clippers the Right Way

A hair clipper is an excellent investment. It saves you the money you would have spent on getting a professional cut and is convenient because you can use it at your comfort. But like any other self-care tool, it requires proper maintenance.

One way to ensure it remains in tip-top shape and serves you a long time is sharpening it regularly. This article will highlight steps on how to sharpen hair clipper blades.

Why and How Often Should You Sharpen Your Hair Clippers

How Often Should You Sharpen The Hair Clippers?

That depends on how often you use your hair clippers. The rule of thumb is to do it every six months. But, if you regularly use them, for instance, several times a week, you should sharpen hair clippers every two months.

Although you can always take your hair clippers to a professional for sharpening, this will cost you a whole lot more in the long run. Besides, sharpening your hair clippers isn’t that hard. Moreover, most of the tools you need to get those blades sharp again are readily available.

How to Sharpen Hair Clippers: Step by Step Guide

Guide to Sharpen Hair Clippers


To cut hair with hair clippers, proper and effective clipper blade sharpening is essential. You will need:

  • A screwdriver
  • A whetstone (a 3000 and 8000 combo)
  • A toothbrush
  • Blade wash
  • Paper towels or a rag
  • Marker
  • Water in a container

How to Sharpen

Now with all the tools above, here is how you go about clipper blade sharpening:

Prep Your Whetstone

sharpen hair clipper with whetstone

Whetstones aren’t the same. Some popular options include water, diamond, and oil whetstones. Diamond whetstones are ideal for ceramic clipper blades, while water sharpening stones are the standard and good for standard steel blades. If you have a water whetstone, prep it by soaking it in a container of water for about ten minutes. You’ll know it’s ready if no more bubbles are forming.

Disassemble the Hair Clipper Blades

While your whetstone soaks, use the screwdriver to remove the two screws on the surface of the clipper blades. Have somewhere to place them as they’re tiny and easy to lose.

Clean the Blade

Unexposed parts of your hair clipper blades tend to accumulate a lot of oil and hair, especially if you frequently use your hair clippers for short hair cuts. Clean them using your blade wash and the toothbrush, dry them thoroughly using paper towels or the rag you brought earlier. If you don’t have a blade wash, mix a splash of white vinegar with warm water, and use the solution to clean the gunk.

Note, this gunk might sometimes make your clippers feel blunt when they are not. So, after cleaning, assemble the hair clippers to see if they’ll work well. If they don’t, they require proper clipper blade sharpening. So, follow the next step.

Mark the Blades

Marking the blades enables you to keep track of how much you’ve worn them so you can determine whether they need more sharpening. It also prevents you from over-sharpening them. Mark the interior or the flat sides that rest on each other.

Sharpen the Blades

Lubricate the 3000 grit side of your whetstone with a bit of water, so the blade moves swiftly across the surface. Place your blade flat, perpendicular to your sharpening stone, and use gentle back and forth motions to sharpen it.

Ensure you evenly rub away on the whetstone to enhance its longevity, and while at it, check your marks to see whether they’re disappearing. After about 15 passes, the marker highlights should have disappeared, so turn your whetstone over to the 8000 grit side, lubricate that side too, and repeat the same process.

Note, there are two blades, the big one, known as the comb blade, and the small one, which is the cutting blade. Repeat the same steps for both blades.

comb blade and cutting blade of hair clipper
Hair clipper blades

Dry and Lubricate the Blades for Hair Clipper Assembly

After 15 passes on each blade, it should be sharp enough to take you through a few months of seamless hair cutting. Use your paper towels or a microfiber cloth to dry them out completely. You don’t want to assemble them with any moisture because they’ll rust. So, if you have the time, you can let them air dry for a few minutes.

Once you’ve confirmed they’re completely dry, lubricate them using clipper oil or baby oil. A single drop will be enough. Assemble your hair clippers and run the clipper for a minute to confirm it’s working well.

Check The Haircut Numbers and Hair Clipper Sizes

Watch the following video tutorials to learn how to sharpen hair clipper blades.

How to Sharpen Hair Clipper Blades without a Whetstone

If you don’t have a whetstone, you can also use aluminum foil or even sandpaper to sharpen the clipper blade. You’ll follow the above steps, that is;

  • Disassemble the blades
  • Clean
  • Dry

After that, lay out the aluminum foil or sandpaper on a flat surface, and move the blade back and forth 12 times continuously. After this, your hair clipper blades should be sharp and shiny.


Can I use different oils for my clippers?

Yes, using specific oil for your clippers is the best option, but if you do not have it on hand, you can substitute it with other oils.

Choose a lightweight carrier oil that can withstand high temperatures. Generic brand olive oil is a great choice. 

Do clipper blades really need to be sharpened?

It depends. Some clippers have an auto-sharpening function, but you can prevent unwanted cuts and jagged edges by sharpening them once and a while. 

Can I sharpen my clippers using sandpaper?

Yes. Sharpening your clippers with sandpaper is a common method for at-home sharpening. First, place the clipper blade on a flat surface. Then hold the sandpaper straightforwardly and push back and forth across the blade a few times.  

Should I sharpen or replace my clipper blades?

If you find that your clippers are tugging at your hair and skin, it is time to try and sharpen the blades. Also, if it is harder to make a clean line or edge, it is a sign to sharpen to replace the blades.

Replacing the blades is something you should do if the sharpening is not helping them perform better. 

Can clipper blades be sharpened using salt?

Rock salt is a tried and true method of sharpening clipper blades but only use it as a last resort. To do this, press the blade into the rock salt until it the salt is pulverized.

Can clippers sharpen themselves?

Most clippers have an auto-sharpening feature, but if you notice your clippers are getting dull, you should sharpen them. 

How much does it cost to sharpen clipper blades?

Sharpening your blades is not expensive. This is especially true if you use methods like rock salt or sandpaper. However, getting them professionally sharpened is not a widely accessible option. If you can’t get them sharp enough with at-home means, you might want to replace them. 

Can I sharpen my clippers at home?

Sharpening your clippers at home is the most cost-effective and efficient way to sharpen your clippers. There are many ways to sharpen them, including sandpaper, rock salt, and a sharpening stone. 

The hard part of hair clipper maintenance is sharpening. And as you’ve seen above, it’s not rocket science. Now that you know how to sharpen hair clippers, get the perfect haircutting experience every time without spending extra!