Rust! It’s something we all hope to keep far away from our blades but seems to always appear.
But the serious question is, Are rusty clippers dangerous?
Are they harmful to the skin? Can it cause infection? I once had these questions when using rusty blades.
However I did the research and found the answers, and I would like to share them with you.
So with that said, let’s begin.
Are Rusty Hair Clippers Dangerous?
Knowing how to deal with rust is important for health.
RUSTY HAIR CLIPPERS
So yes, rusty hair clippers are dangerous. But it isn’t the rust itself you should worry about but what can come with it when used.
To understand how rusty clippers can be dangerous, you must first understand what rust is…
Rust is another name for iron oxide, which occurs when iron or an alloy that contains iron, like steel, is exposed to oxygen and moisture for a long period of time.
Many modern clipper blades are made using stainless steel. So as much as stainless steel is marketed to be rust-resistant if the steel alloy contains iron it’s open to rusting, especially when a blade is not maintained.
Lack of hair clipper maintenance leads to rust and the rust on hair clipper blades has the chance of containing bacteria that can cause fungal and virus infections.
In extreme cases, a type of bacteria hiding within rust can cause tetanus, which causes lockjaw and other health problems. I will talk more about this later
If you allowed your hair clippers to get rusty, they are most likely very dirty. Using dirty clippers for shaving or haircuts puts you at risk of infection.
INFECTION FROM RUSTY CLIPPERS
Bacteria can easily be passed through rusty blades. Barbers need to take take care of their blades to stop this from occurring.
Barber cut a number of clients on a daily basis.
In some cases, the effect of this may not show, however, when a future client is cut by a dirty or rusty blade, they can develop infections such as Folliculitis, tetanus, and warts on the head or skin.
Painful and itchy Spots on your head may need hospital treatment and in extreme cases, the need of antibiotics may be needed to remove them.
Below are some of the best clippers cleaning sprays you can use to keep your clippers clean.
You can read more about these in my best clipper spray guide.
Not only will it keep your hair clippers in their best condition and far away from rust and dirt, but will help your business to care, as it shows you care.
If you have personal clippers, remove all rust and make sure your blades are clean before use.
Having clean clippers reduces the chance of an infection when you cut yourself, as let’s be honest, no matter how good we are with the blade, it can happen. However clean blades keep you safe.
On top of the health risks, there are other reasons why you shouldn’t use rusty clippers, I talk about this next.
WHY YOU SHOULD NOT USE RUSTY CLIPPERS
Rusty hair clippers are not ideal as a whole.
When you use rusty clipper blades you gamble your health as you don’t know what is within those rusty clippers.
But there are also other subtle reasons why rusty clipper blades provide the worst hair-cutting experience.
Ingrown hair occurs when dead skin or dirt clogs pores preventing hair from penetrating the skin.
This can happen with rusty hair clippers as well as shavers, Rusty clippers are dirty, if you don’t get infected by them you may certainly clog pores which build up over time to produce ingrow hair.
Ingrown hairs are uncomfortable, not only do they look horrible but removing them can be painful, and afterward, you could be left with scars.
To reduce the chance of ingrown hairs, don’t cut yourself with rusty blades, but if you have, apply an aftershave gel or an antibiotic to remove reduce the chance of dirt build-up.
Razor burns are caused by shaving too hard with dull blades. Dry shaving is what you should expect with rusty hair clippers.
Rusty hair clippers are as dry as blades can get, Don’t expect a smooth cut from rusty hair clippers. The rust on blades can be rough skin and the dull blade itself can open you up to severe razor burns.
Razor burns can cause a large cluster of a rash on the skin and can be very irritating. To prevent this from happening, remove rust from your clippers and make sure they are properly oiled.
BAD SHAVE/ CUT
Rusty clippers provide a poor cutting/shaving experience. Rusty hair clippers are dull and do not cut very well, especially if rust is formed around the teeth.
Your blade will pull hair more often and you may need several passes just to cut a section of your hair, not only does this open you up to possible skin cuts but the increase in the razor burns too.
Be sure to clean your blades and sharpen them if you notice rust and hair pulling.
Rusty Hair Clippers on Skin
As I have previously spoken about, bacteria from rust entering your skin is a major problem when it comes to rusty clippers. There is a type of bacteria called that can be life-threatening.
Tetanus is associated with rust because rusty things are often found outside in the dirt, and the dirt is a common place for the bacteria that causes tetanus to live. But rust itself doesn’t inherently cause disease.
If you have a rusted clipper blade that has been left in a dirty environment, soil, or contaminated water, Do not use them!
These blades have the possibility of holding the tetanus bacterium.
Tetanus is an infection that is often referred to as lockjaw. The main symptoms of tetanus are extremely painful muscle spasms which can be so violent that they can cause your bones to get fractured or even break.
While tetanus does have a low mortality rate of 10%, the effect of a tetanus infection can be uncomfortable and very painful.
To prevent these symptoms, avoid using heavily rusted clippers, clean, and sterilize the oil of your clippers regularly and store them in a clean, dry environment.
Look to store your hair clippers in a secure barber bag that keeps out moisture, these are my personal bags for you at their current best price.
If you would like to know how I came to these options or get larger bag options, please check out the best barber bag article.
SOLUTIONS FOR RUSTY CLIPPERS
Just because the blade or teeth of your clippers are rusted doesn’t mean you have to throw away your clippers altogether.
Hair clippers can be expensive and it isn’t so easy to just get a new pair. Luckily there are solutions to this.
REPLACE CURRENT BLADE
Replacing your current blade can be a cheap solution to having clean blades once again. When replacing your clippers, make sure the blade fits your hair clipper well.
Take note of the blade and check the manual of your hair clippers to see which blade dimensions can fit your hair clippers.
If possible, you may look into investing in a ceramic top cutter blade, these types of clippers blades are made from different metals and do not rust, and still provide great cutting performance.
Another great blade upgrade could be moving from stainless steel blades to titanium blades. These blades are the most durable and have great longevity. They are more rust-resistant than stainless steel blades and can perform better too.
REMOVING THE RUST
If purchasing new blades is not an option, you can look to physically remove the rust from your blades.
While this is very labor intensive, it most certainly can bring your clippers back to life. I provide a guide on how to remove rust from clippers.
If have heavy rusting around the teeth of your blade you may need to seek a professional to remove this type of rust as an un-experienced hand may deform the blade in the process of cleaning it from rust, ultimately making the blade useless.
Asking, ‘are rusty hair clippers dangerous’ should no longer be a question. You should now understand that rust on hair clippers is not the problem and can be removed.
However, gambling and using dirty/rusted clippers leave you open to:
- Viral/fungal/bacterial infection
- Ingrown hairs
- Razor burns
The worst type of infection (tetanus) could leave you in the hospital. Rusty hair clippers also do not provide the best cutting experience and can be frustrating to use, so a change of clipper blades may be needed to bring your clippers back to their best.
If you have found this article helpful, please leave a comment about your experience and check out other related articles below.