Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cleaning and Sanitizing Used Razors

Last week I bought the 1965 Gillette Travel Tech that was pictured in the brief blog I posted yesterday. I wanted to sanitize this razor well to reduce to near zero any risk from exposure to pathogens, even though I have been vaccinated for Hepititis B (because I worked in a hospital some years ago), and other really-frightening viruses such as HIV and Hepititis C are fragile and don't survive long outside living things. This concern over exposure to pathogens got me focused on the subject of ensuring that my new gear is perfectly safe to use. So after doing some research on the subject, here's my sanitizing process -- and, yes, it's likely overkill, but why take unnecessary chances when the outcome of cavalier neglect can be so significantly life altering (and damaging)?

For information on checking a razor for safe and proper alignment, you might refer to my article on inspecting and testing a new razor.

My Process of Cleaning and Sanitizing Used Razors

If the razor is caked with dried soap and other debris -- especially if it is a one-piece razor (TTO) with a mechanism that is not working well, I would soak the razor in warm water for a period of time necessary to soften/loosen the caked-on material.

When the razor's surfaces are ready for removal of any debris, I use an old toothbrush and some liquid dish detergent. Pipe cleaners and cloths may be helpful in some cases. If stubborn debris remains, more soaking may be required and perhaps some toothpaste as a mild cleaning abrasive.

Once the razor is cleaned, then I put on rubber gloves and safety goggles and mix up a Lysol disinfecting solution. I purchased a small bottle of Lysol concentrate at my local pharmacy (but I discovered that not all pharmacies carry this item, so you may have to shop around -- perhaps even at a hardware store). This disinfectant is intended to be mixed with water according to the item or area to be sanitized. For deactivating virtually any pathogen, a mixture of 6.25 ounces of Lysol concentrate is mixed with one gallon (128 ounces) of water. This is about a 20.5:1 (water:Lysol) ratio, and I round it down to an even 20:1. So I'll take one part Lysol concentrate to 20 parts water, mix it together, and use that for a final cleaning and soak.

I use the toothbrush again and the disinfecting solution (remember, use eye and skin protection: this stuff is NOT friendly to biological structures), and give the razor a final cleaning. Then I rinse the razor thoroughly with water, dry with a tissue or TP, and soak the gear in the same disinfecting solution for at least an hour. Then I rinse again with water.

Once rinsed, the razor is ready for use. For one-piece razors, though they are designed to not require any lubrication, I will initially and periodically thereafter run a few drops of mineral oil (one can use baby oil, which is mineral oil with a fragrance added) down into the handle mechanism and work that in by cycling the mechanism open and closed a few times.

For two- and three-piece razors, if the spirit moves me, I may apply a coating of one-year polymeric car wax as a sealer.

That's it.

Happy shaving!

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