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Maintaining Your Clippers and Blades

We all know that clippers and blades are the workhorses of a successful grooming operation, but what would you do if you came in to work one day and found that your most important tools had fallen into disrepair? Don’t let it get to that point—proper clipper and blade maintenance is absolutely essential to maintaining the effectiveness and productivity of the groomers in your salon.

Main Image Clipper

To find out exactly what you should be doing for your clippers to keep them in optimum shape, consult both the manufacturer and your trusted clipper-repair technician. Instructions on how to replace parts or perform general maintenance are available through the manufacturer.

All information refers only to professional detachable blade-style clippers, sometimes called "A5 compatible”, unless otherwise specified.


For every clipper:

1. Especially on high-speed clippers: Maintain your blades. If blades are kept cleanoiled, and sharpened, your clippers will not have to work as hard, and will last longer.

2. Keep them clean. Use a small brush (toothbrush), force dryer, or vacuum frequently to remove hair and debris from around the hinge and latch area.

3. Replace the blade drive regularly. The blade drive can be a single unit (as in Andis and some Wahl models), or individual pieces (as in Oster A5 clippers), which have a link, lever, and gear that make up the drive assembly—it’s what makes the cutter part of the blade move back and forth and cut hair. Most are made of plastic, and are hitting metal 2,000 times a minute. They WILL wear down, and when they do, they aren’t making a full back and forth stroke anymore, which causes slowdowns and clipper tracks. Groomers working full time using the same clipper on 5 or more dogs a day should replace the  drive or lever every 4-6 weeks, or when they start showing signs of wear.

4. Every 4 months (or as needed), replace the mechanism that holds the blade on the clipper (usually hinge and blade latch).

5. Periodically check the electric cord for damage, and replace if necessary. Never store your cord wrapped around the clipper, as this can cause damage.

6. Consult manufacturer or service and repair professionals for instruction on how to check the carbon brushes, and how often. Brushes (which look like a big chunk of pencil lead, not a hairbrush) conduct electricity to the motor. If worn, they will damage the armature and quickly ruin the clipper. Some clippers have softer brushes that wear more quickly and need to be replaced every 3-6 months. Others have more durable brushes that can last for years. Depending on the clippers you use, you may be able to replace the brushes yourself, while others should be sent to a professional.

7. Exercise caution when cleaning blades. Do not allow blade wash to run into the clipper case—hold clippers pointing down while cleaning blades, do not hold upright.

  Oster A5

For universal motor types (Oster A5, Turbo A5, and similar)

Clean and vacuum any air vents weekly. Remove the end cap and gently vacuum any hair or debris in cap or inside clipper at least once a month.

Grease and oil clippers every 2 months, or every 3 or 4 weeks for higher-speed clippers.

Replace the link (part of the drive assembly) every 4 months.

If, and only if, the clipper develops a high-pitched squeal, add a drop of oil to the motor.


For cordless clippers

Keep them clean. Regularly vacuum or force dry hair out of base. A cotton swab works well to clean the connections on batteries and chargers.


For trimmers that use 5-in-1 blades:

There is very little maintenance that can be done by the end user on these. Make sure your blades are clean and oiled frequently, and keep the clipper free of hair and debris. If the blades on Wahl 5-in-1 trimmers won’t stay on the clipper, it’s probably an issue with the blade platform, not the clipper (and that can be replaced by the end user).

As a busy professional groomer, when can you find time to maintain clippers? Schedule it in, just as time is made for cleaning cages or returning customer calls. Or just find time when you can. Don’t know what to do with that half hour waiting for the last client to pick up their pet? Pull out a newspaper to protect your table and start maintaining clippers and blades.


See our comprehensive Clipper Guide for more information.


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