How Corrosion Makes Your Razor Blades Dull

Posted on 28. Jan, 2010 by Gugel in General

Razor blades get dull for two main reasons

  1. Wear and tear
  2. Corrosion

It’s kinda obvious that blades become dull because they’re used a lot, but the less intuitive reason is corrosion.  Reactions with the environment and bacteria can cause the blade to get microscopic ridges, grooves and snags.   They’re invisible to the naked eye, but they’re there!

Take a look at even a brand new razor blade.  Magnified 1300x, it’s not nearly as smooth as you might think!

New Razor Blade Magnified 1300x

New Razor Blade Magnified 1300x - http://emtrix.dbs.umt.edu/demo/razor2/index.htm

If this is what a new razor blade looks like, you can imagine what it would look like after its been used for a while.  Corrosion would make all the imperfections even more pronounced.

So, how do we avoid corrosion?
Water is great when you’re shaving, but it’s terrible for your razor blade.  It causes the blade to rust and provides a festering  pool for bacteria growth.  It’s obviously OK to get water all over your razor while your shaving, but after you’re done, wipe it off with a towel to get it as dry as possible.  And more importantly, don’t leave it in your shower!  Store it in your medicine cabinet.

An even more effective way avoid corrosion is to dip your razor in rubbing alcohol after each use.  The alcohol will displace the water and will evaporate very quickly.  It’ll kill all the bacteria too which is a great added bonus.

Interesting Fact: Modern-day steel is made from iron and carbon to get give it extra strength (making it about twice as strong as iron alone).  Most modern-day razor blades are made with stainless steel which adds a few other ingredients to mix (mainly 11% of chromium which helps prevent the steel from rusting).

Corrosion is the biggest reason why good blades go bad.  Drying off your blade with a towel or putting it in rubbing alcohol after each use will significantly extend its life.  You’ll not only get more smoother shaves, but you’ll save some money too!


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6 Responses to “How Corrosion Makes Your Razor Blades Dull”

  1. Lou Kraft

    28. Aug, 2010

    Hey Gugel, I am putting together a web site and would like to use you blade magnification on it. Would that be OK with you?
    Thanks, Lou

  2. Gugel

    28. Aug, 2010

    Sure Lou, go ahead. The original images were from http://emtrix.dbs.umt.edu/demo/razor2/index.htm but I did some photo-editing to make them more self-explanatory :)

  3. Leisureguy

    31. Aug, 2011

    I believe that wiping a blade (I used double-edged blades) on a towel is a bad idea, for severals (cuts, damage to blade’s edge, specific instructions from blade makers not to do it, etc.).

    OTOH, drying the blade after use is a good idea. I rinse blade’s head under hot tap water, shake it, and let it air dry. So far as I can tell in actual shaving, this works perfectly well—but then, the water where I live is pretty soft. Hard water as it evaporates would leave mineral deposits on the blade’s edge, not a good idea.

    So at the end of the shave, run the razor head under hot water to rinse off lather and debris, give the razor a good shake, then swish the razor’s head in a little jar of high-proof rubbing alcohol, so that the alcohol displaces the remaining water. When you put the razor out to dry, the alcohol immediately evaporates, leaving a dry clean blade that would not, I think, corrode.

  4. Rozzer

    20. Dec, 2011

    Hi! I use disposables and after shaving each day, I pat them dry and then spray them with WD-40. I get about one month’s use from each throwaway. What do you think of the WD-40 approach? I’m in no possible way associated with WD-40,its makers or owners. I’m just a little retired guy who thought this up.

  5. Saplor

    14. Jan, 2012

    WD-40 may be somewhat toxic. It’s made of petrol and its Wikipedia page clearly indicates you shouldn’t bring it in touch with skin.

    After shaving and rinsing of the disposable blade, I just fold a few tissues into a cushion and smack the blade against it a few times from each side. then gently wipe the blades from front and back with the edges of the paper.

  6. scott

    05. Feb, 2012

    I fill a small glass with baby oil and completely submerge the razor blade between shaves (after 1st patting dry the blade with a tissue and removing all water)

    Since I started doing this, I now get 7 to 10 weeks from each blade. I also read you can use vodka or rubbing alchohol which I’ve never tried. I have stuck with baby oil as it evaporates very slowly.

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