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Grooming Equipment Maintenance


© 1999 Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Northern California

No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder. Reprinted with permission from Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Northern California.

Once you've decided to bite the bullet and acquire the required gear, follow a few simple maintenance procedures and it should last you a lifetime.

What you'll need

  • Blade Wash, stiff brush (provided with most clippers) or old tooth brush
  • Clipper Oil (provided with most clippers)
  • Clipper Grease (provided with most clippers)
  • Flat shallow dish or old jar top and a lint-free cloth

Washing and Oiling Clipper Blades

Nancy Han, a Master Groomer in California, believes you can extend the life of your clipper blades and avoid sharpening costs by simply cleaning blades in Blade Wash and oiling after or between every usage.

Begin with the clippers unplugged. Remove the blade. With a small stiff brush, brush away any loose hair visible between the teeth of the blade, front and back. Hold the blade up to the light to see that all foreign matter is removed.

Next you'll need a flat dish. I find that an old jar top works well. It's flat and shallow and has a small diameter so you're not wasting Blade Wash. You'll only need enough Blade Wash to be able to immerse the blade.

Now plug in your clippers and turn them on, slide your blade over the hinge and snap the blade into position. Immerse ONLY the blade in the Blade Wash bath, flat against the bottom of the dish. As you run the clippers in Blade Wash you will see hair coming loose from between the blades. The hum of the running blade will also become higher pitched as the blades clean themselves of debris.

Once the higher pitch remains constant, turn the clippers off and unplug. Remove the blade from the clipper and using a lint-free cloth, wipe the blades as dry as possible.

Hold the blade with the flat surface away from you (you will be looking at its underside - where it attaches to the clipper. (#1) You will notice that the smaller blade facing you will move left and right. Gently move the smaller blade half way to the left. (#2).Be careful to move it slowly or it will slide right off the end). With a lint-free cloth, carefully wipe away any excess debris and residue from between the two blades, front and back. Then carefully move the blade half way to the right and do the same.

Next you'll need to oil the running rails or contact surfaces, where the blades make contact with each other. Carefully apply one drop of lubricating oil to each rail. (#3) Spread the oil along the surface of the rail with the tip of the oil tube, moving the smaller blade left and right, as described above.

Turn the blade over so that the flat side will be facing you. (#4) Carefully slide the smaller blade half way to the left and then right and carefully dry wiping away any debris. Then apply oil to the two rails which make contact with the larger blade. (#5) Again, remember only one drop. It is not recommended to indiscriminately pour oil through the teeth of the running clipper, as excess oil will only attract debris and undermine your careful cleaning job.

With a clean lint free cloth carefully wipe away any excess oil, both front and back.

Realign the blades. Plug in the clipper and turn the switch on. Slide the clean blade on the hinge and snap into position.

Although manufacturers often recommend spraying Kool Lube through the blade teeth to lubricate the teeth, Nancy Han has found that most sharpeners complain that Kool Lube leaves residue that actually dulls the blades, and they therefore recommend using only lubricating oil.

Remember clipper blades do need periodic sharpening. A manufacturer recommended service center is Appliance Sales and Service, 655 Mission Street (between 3rd and New Montgomery) San Francisco (415) 362-7195. The cost is $5 for (1) blade, $4.50 each for 2-9 blades, and $3.50 each for 10 or more blades.

Periodic Maintenance for Clippers

Your owner's manual will describe each procedure in detail. Follow the manufacturer's instructions specific to your clipper's make and model.

What you'll need:

  • screw driver
  • tweezers or forceps
  • vacuum cleaner

End Cap Maintenance: For the novice groomer with only one Kerry, this may be required only once every 6 months.

Oiling the Clipper Motor: In general your clipper motor will only require oil after constant extended use; for the novice groomer with only one Kerry, this may not be required more than once every 12-18 months. When you begin to hear a squeal, you'll know it's time.


Brush Replacement: If your clipper seems to be running more slowly than normal, come to a complete stop, won't turn on or run at all, you may need to replace the carbon brushes. The two brushes located on either side of the clipper casing must be replaced in pairs when they are worn down to 1/16".

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