Expensive as your razor may be, it will get dull over time. However, there is a better option than simply throwing out your old dull razors if they aren’t single-use. This option is to sharpen your dull razor blades!
This is a great option because it can be quite expansive to replace quality razors every time they get dull.
So, can you sharpen razor blades? More specifically, can you sharpen disposable razor blades?
Yes you can sharpen razor blades, even disposable ones using a razor blade sharpener or stropping with leather jeans. Remember, disposable razors don’t work well when the blades get dull and clogged up with hair. For these razors, you will need to sharpen and clean them after each use.
Let’s get into more detail about how you can sharpen and take care of your razors. Before we get into it, please note that sharpening razor blades is really for keeping new blades in good condition, as opposed to revitalizing old ones.
Can You Sharpen Razor Blades?
As we have said, the answer is yes. You can sharpen the razor blades anytime to make them last longer. This way, you are sure to enjoy smooth and clean shaving. This includes cheap disposable razors that you were about to get rid of to mid range razors like the Merkur brand and any other safety razor really.
Sharpening razor blades also makes them stronger which makes it easier to eradicate thick and scruffy hair without causing nicks and cuts.
If you want a really sharp blade however, you can buy a scalpel because they are sharpeter than razors. Check out our article where we answer the question is a scalpel sharper than a razor to learn more.
With that said, if you’ve often been disposing of your razor blades after feeling the dullness while shaving, then it’s high time you care for your pocket and the environment.
Below is a brief guide about when and how to effectively sharpen the razor blades that you were about to replace with new ones.
When Should I Sharpen My Razor Blades?
There would probably be some signs that will make you feel the need to sharpen your razor blades before it gets obsolete.
- When the razor hardly glides over your skin or the steel blades have slightly moved from their position.
- If the razor fails to offer a clean shave.
- If you see hair, cream, particles, or stickiness in the blades that clogs up or causes pain while pulling out the hair.
In such cases, it’s time to refine and polish the razor blades through sharpening for a painless and smooth shaving experience.
How To Sharpen The Razor Blades By Stropping?
Among all the ways to sharpen your razor blade that we’ve tried and tested, stropping it against a piece of strong and durable leather has always given the most effective results.
Be it straight, rotatory, disposable, cartridge, or any razor you use; stropping it will do wonders in keeping the razor sharp and ready.
The basic purpose of stropping is to realign and hone the thin edges of the blade to prevent it from pinching the skin when the blade glides over your hair.
Stropping includes rubbing the razor blades through a cloth for getting rid of the unwanted stickiness that often causes trouble during shaving.
Stropping is a very simple and quick process to get the sharpness and shine of your razor blades back.
Here is a simple step to step guide to strop any of your razors easily after every 5-6 shavings. Make sure you follow the sequence and do as mentioned.
1. Clean The Razor:
Many men prefer sharpening razor blades before shaving. After all, cleaning razor blades is an important prerequisite to protecting skin from germs.
But if you’ve been ignoring this step, then do clean the razor blade from now on before stropping as it ensures no barrier between the razor blades and the leather jeans.
For cleaning, take a bowl of lukewarm water and add some drops of liquid soap to disinfect the razor blades.
You can also soak the razor in alcohol for a few minutes to kill the bacteria and germs that razor blades might have caught after the last shaving or during the time it was stored.
Gently swirl the razor into the water and see if it gets rid of all the dirt, hair follicles, stickiness, and gunk from the blades. Next, dry the razor with a blow-dry or pat it with a clean towel before jumping to the stropping.
2. Pick The Right Materials For Stropping:
To perform stropping, you simply require an old pair of leather jeans or any leather cloth that you no longer use, the razor blades that need to be sharpened, and a pair of gloves if you are afraid of cutting yourself during the process.
However, many people fail to distinguish between leather and other materials and thus don’t get the desired results.
Choose a leather material that is hard, resistant, and isn’t ripped at the area which you’ll be stropping.
Denim or canvas tote works best for stropping the blades of any razor. Remember the material may be rugged, damaged, or frayed during stropping.
3. Strop The Blades:
Once you’re done cleaning and drying the razor, it’s time to stop it down by using your old pair of leather jeans and get the sharpness back.
Let’s walk through the steps:
- The first step is to place the jeans on a flat, smooth, and sturdy surface which can be any wooden table or the marble floor of your room. Make sure the place is not delicate and surrounded by objects as they may get damaged during stropping. Never Strop on the sink, bed, or any uneven or wet surface as it can limit or cause disturbance in your sharpening motion.
- Then, run the razor along the length of your jeans approximately 15-20 times. To decide which direction you should strop in, follow the grain rule which means stropping in the direction of blades and your hair growth. Always use the same motion in which you did the first strop and continue it by applying moderate pressure on the razor blades in short and quick strokes to sustain a good stropping speed.
- Once done in the same direction for the mentioned time, strop the razor blades again on another area of the jeans but in a different direction. Keep switching the directions till you feel that the razor has been thoroughly cleaned and sharpened for the next time you do shaving.
- Repeat the same process for as many blades as you want and check the razor by shaving a patch of your hair on the forearm. Also, keep the pointed edge of the razor away from you or in the opposite direction so that you unintentionally don’t harm yourself with the efficient speed you’re stropping in.
- After stropping, rinse the razor blade with hot water and shake it off on the sink to lose excessive water. Lastly, if you’re shaving right after stropping then don’t forget to apply a good skin care regimen before shaving. Stropping the razor blades indeed make a huge difference while shaving as the razor blades will now easily glide over the hair and eradicate it from the follicle.
How To Sharpen The Razor Blades Using A Razor Blade Sharpener
Blade sharpeners are not technically sharpening stones or whetsones for razors. They are however similar to honing steel.
There are some razor blade sharpeners like the Sustainable Village Razor Blade Sharpenerthat promise up to even 50 shaves and beyond per razor.
There are other pretty good sharpeners out there as well like the Blade Buddy Razor Blade Sharpener.
Why Does My Razor Get Dull So Fast?
Three main reasons may cause a razor blade to get dull. They include:
- The cutting angle of a blade
- The presence of micro-cracks on the surface of the steel, occurs in manufacturing during the honing process.
- Micro-structural uniformity of the steel-carbide alloy
The above factors may cause your shaving razor blade to become dull faster, so it’s important to check them first.
Does Hot Water Dull Razor Blades?
Yes, using hot water has been proven to quickly dull razor blades. While warm water might feel good to use while shaving, when it heats the metal it expands the molecules of the blade, eventually causing it to dull faster. Remember, Heat + Metal = Expansion
How Do You Keep Razor Blades Sharp with Baby Oil?
To keep razor blades sharp with baby oil, here is what you need to do:
- Put the baby oil in a small cup
- After shaving put the blade inside the oil until when you want to use it again
- The good thing about baby oil is that it helps prevent the rusting of your blade
- Please note that if there’s moisture on your razor, the oil may alleviate it.
How Do You Make Razors Last Longer?
- First, you need to appropriately trim your razor blade.
- Always prep your skin well before using the razor to shave.
- Regularly rinse the razor blade fully after every shave.
- Store your razors in a cool dry place.
- Protect your razor always while traveling.
It’s pointless to waste razor blades when you can simply strop it for further use. Besides, maintaining the razor blades after shaving also helps in increasing its life and giving you an amazing shaving experience.
Sharpen your razor blades by following this useful guide and save those extra bucks to buy a new razor when sharpening the old one doesn’t make any difference.