There are A LOT of recommended shear cleaning methods in our industry, but many of them aren’t that effective. Some methods are actually harmful to your shears, and we advise you stay clear of using them. Grooming shears are an important investment, after all!
Our “How To Clean Your Shears” video above presents one of the simplest, quickest, safest, and most effective methods for cleaning Grooming Shears: The Barbicide Bath. It’s been the time-tested standard for pet groomer, beautician, and barber shears since its existence.
Barbicide is a bluish cleaning solution used on dog grooming and barber shears (also hemostats). It’s a concentrate, generally cut with water (2 oz or ¼ cup to 32 oz of cold water). The solution is a strong disinfectant, germicide, fungicide, viricide,and pseudomonacide, but please not that it is not a sanitizer.
The Barbicide solution is contained in it’s own special jar (made of glass… nothing magical), and the lid lifts off and is attached to a submersive screen that makes placing and removing shears very convenient. Simply place one to four shears at a time in the solution, let them soak for approximately 10 minutes, then remove them. Give your shears a quick wipe with a cloth or paper towel, and “Presto!” - you’ve got clean grooming shears. Don’t forget to apply some clean oil to the shears, and check the tuning tension before using them.
Additional Cleaning Tips With Barbicide
- Wipe off debris and major filth from shears before immersing them in Barbicide. It makes the cleaning solution last longer and work more effectively.
- *Optional* Remove finger gel inserts from shears before dipping them in Barbicide. It will leave a small resin on them that builds up over time.
- Be cautious with how many shears/tools are being dipped at any given time. If blades happen to collide, impact can result in small burrs or other damage that will require sharpening.
- It’s recommended that your Barbicide solution should be made fresh for each dip to insure maximum effectiveness.
Drawbacks To Cleaning Shears With Barbicide
As mentioned before, Barbicide does leave a small, nearly unnoticeable residue on shears and tools that can, over time, gum up moving parts like the tuning mechanisms of a shear (especially ball bearings). Residue can lead to “squeaking” sounds and slight tightness when scissoring. You can quickly rinse off your shears/tools with warm water and let them dry, and this will greatly curb residue build up. NEVER PUT CLIPPER BLADES IN BARBICIDE.
Other Shear Cleaning Methods To Stay Clear Of
- Don’t wash your shears in a dishwasher. They can be knocked around quite a bit in a dishwasher and get ruined. Shears can also collect harmful residues from dish soap and mineral buildup.
- Say “No” to WD40. It’s a great solvent for softening up rusty bolts, but not a safe or practicle cleaner for any kind of shears (or clipper blades).
- Avoid bleach or ammonia solutions for cleaning shears (especially mixed together!). Both chemicals are very harsh and leave a residue that must be wiped off after it dries. They are also pretty toxic to the environment and our sewage system.
- Giving your shears a “Good Old Scrubbing!” While it may be necessary at times to use a very soft bristle toothbrush to scrub caked on nasties off your shears (hopefully never for good finish shears), keep in mind that handling shears in this fashion greatly increases the chances of them being dropped; thus, leading to damage.
A Safe Shear Cleaning Alternative To Barbicide
If using Barbicide to disinfect your grooming shears daily doesn’t jive, a good “Second” is using a One-to-One vinegar/water cleaning solution via immersing or spraying. A lot of people underestimate how amazing of a cleaner vinegar is, and it’s totally safe for the environment. It’s also very cheap, and you can buy it practically anywhere.
Vinegar is a strong antibacterial and antifungal that has scientifically been shown to fight several major strains of MRSA. We use a 1:1 solution in our grooming shop as an all-purpose, natural daily cleaner for shampoo bottles, combs, brushes, shears, kennels, etc. Yeah - it smells a bit like a pickle for a few minutes, but it quickly drys and leaves no smell or residue. Of course we recommend stronger cleaners for deeper cleanings, but don’t hesitate to substitute vinegar in place of Barbicide. It works! Just remember to apply fresh oil to your shear and check the tuning afterwords.
Take care of your shears and they will take care of your needs!