Not only are disposable razor blades expensive, their disposable nature makes them bad for the environment. Typically you get a few good shaves and then you either buy new razors or replacement cartridges that easily cost between $2.00 – $3.00 each. If you are lucky and not very hairy the more expensive cartridges might last for 8-12 shaves. The costs of disposable razors and replacement cartridges adds up very quickly and every time I toss one away, my heart bleeds a little bit for the environment.
When I found this super simple, but genius trick to make disposable razor blades last for months I admit to doing a little happy dance. This trick isn’t new, basically you treat your disposable razor like it isn’t disposable and clean and sharpen the blades after each use. I have been using this trick on my current cartridge for more than four months and my shave today was as good as the first day.
Sharpening disposable razor blades
Disposable razors don’t work well when the blades get dull and clogged up with hair. So you’ll want to sharpen and clean the blades after each use. To clean and sharpen your razor all you need is some water, your shaver and a pair of jeans. It doesn’t matter if you use old jeans or the pair you wear every day, I just don’t recommend that you wear the jeans while sharpening your razor. You can even use a piece of denim.
Place jeans on a smooth flat surface and pointing the razor away from you quickly run the the razor down the pant leg 10-15 times. Then move to a different part of the jeans and do it another 10-15 times. Always keep the top of the razor pointed away from you and push it firmly. In other words, don’t shave your jeans ;) Once you have finished sharpening and cleaning the blades, give the razor a good rinse with hot water, shake off the excess water and store the razor, blades up to dry completely.
This works because the denim removes hair, small particles of dirt and sharpens the blades. By keeping the blades clean and sharp you can keep using your razors without irritating your skin while still getting a close shave. As I mentioned above, you can do this for several months without problems. Eventually you’ll want to retire the razor if you can’t get the blades sharp or if the blades begin to rust.
History of sharpening razors
As cool as this trick is, it is far from new. Over the years with the popularity and convenience disposable cartridges it has been mostly forgotten. Before disposable razors people used straight razors to shave. Traditionally people sharpened their straight razors using razor strops made of leather or canvas, as the metal in disposable blades isn’t as hard as a straight razor denim works just fine:
Even today, razor strops are used to sharpen blades, knives and scissors. But many people find shaving with a straight razor intimidating which is partly why disposable razors have become so popular.
This old technique works with modern disposable razor blades, easily saves you $70-$100 a year and reduces our impact on the environment.
Have you tried this trick? How long do your blades last?