How do I clean my horse clippers?  And store them so they do not rust?

Clippers and clipper blades are a must for grooming your horse.  Even if you never body clip your horse, or never clip his muzzle or ears, you will need them.  Wounds need to be clipped for evaluation and treatment, and clippers make the job of tidying up feathers and wacky leg and cheek hair easy and safe.  Clippers can also bang the craziest of tails a zillion times better than scissors.  




Many moons ago, I made the costly mistake of not cleaning my blades and clippers right after using them.  I put them away, thinking “I’ll remember to clean them later”.  Turns out, later was several weeks and the blades were rusted beyond repair and the hair in the clippers had taken over and started to form a gross nest.  Lesson learned! Of course I had to go buy new clipper blades (UGH).  Then I learned how to care for my clippers and blades, and I clean them before they get put away.  It takes less time than cleaning a bridle.  Three easy steps: 

Remove the all of the hair.  From the blades, and also the clipper body.


Some clippers come with a small (like the size of your pinky) brush to clean the clipper blades.  If you don’t have one, or lost it, you can use a toothbrush.  Because the cleaning process will include tiny bits of hair, oil, grease, goop, I suggest not returning the toothbrush to it’s rightful owner and leaving the toothbrush with your clipping supplies.  If you do feel the need to return the toothbrush to it’s rightful owner, it may be time for a new job.   You can slide the mobile part of the clipper blade (called the cutter) from side to side to get a lot of the hair out. 



The blade slides apart so you can remove all of the hair!


I like to use a relatively stiff brush to get the hair out of the nooks and crannies of the clipper body.  You can also use your barn’s vacuum, super satisfying to do this!


Wash your clipper blades. 


You also want to zip your clippers into some blade wash.  This is super inexpensive, and most clipper manufacturers have their own brand.  Many of us, me included, grew up using kerosene as a blade wash.  I just read that today’s blades, made of steel, chromium and even some titanium, can be damaged by kerosene so you may want to skip that.  



Oil your clipper blades.


After the blade wash, time to oil and store.  You want your clipper blades oiled for storage to help preserve them and fend off rust.  It's easy to do - a few drops on the teeth of the clipper blades do the trick. FOr large blades, like those of the Clipmaster, oil the blades and grease the blades as well acording to manufacturer instructions.  Please store your blades in a container or bag that’s as airtight as you can get it.  Humidity and air can cause rust.  A simple sandwich baggie holding my blades inside of the clipper box has always worked well for me.  


Note that spray clipper lubricant is not the same as oil.  Oil, like blade wash, is readily available at your local tack shop. 




Don’t forget that you may need to also have your blades sharpened!  If you do accidentally end up with rusty blades, a sharpening MAY be able to save you.  But, if the rust has gotten carried away and pitted some of the blade, your best option would be to replace.  Also know that some blades can only be sharpened so many times before they need to be retired.  Quick tip - use that retired blade in your grooming kit to shorten a mane without pulling! 


More on clipper blades here, and clipping tips here!

How do you like to care for clipper blades?