That little vial of hair clipper oil that comes with new beard trimmers, clippers and other small corded and cordless cutters won’t last you very long. Even if it doesn’t leak out as mine usually does, you’ll soon use it all up.
So your clippers are rattling, the blades aren’t cutting well and you need to know what you can use instead. You have some choices. Stay with me here and I’ll take you on a little tour of what to try — and what not to.
What You Can Use
You need a lightweight oil that can withstand very high temperatures. If you think about it, those little blades must move very fast and very close to each other, creating heat. If you can’t find any real hair clipper oil, you can try vegetable oil or olive oil. Don’t use something fancy like extra virgin olive oil — which can’t withstand high heat — but the everyday stuff should be fine. If you can saute an onion in it, it should work great on your hair clippers.
You could also try a light penetrating oil intended for small machinery. It’s very similar to real hair clipper oil like the kind you can buy that’s made by respected trimmer manufacturers.
The instructions that come with hair clippers and beard trimmers usually tell you to apply a drop of oil to the blades when they’re running, but that can be tricky if you don’t have a dropper for your improvised oil. Instead, you can touch a small amount of oil from the tip of your finger to the bottom of the exposed cutting surface while the motor is OFF. Then remove your finger from harms way and turn the trimmer on. The oil should spread itself around just fine.
What You Shouldn’t Use
Heavier oils, greases and water displacers aren’t good substitutes for hair clipper oil. That means you should avoid motor oil and other dark, heavy oils intended for heavy machinery. Vaseline is out of the question too, as are various door hinge greases and other things that are intended to cling. They will gum up the works of your clippers and cause them to stop working.
Perhaps surprisingly, WD-40 and other penetrating lubricants don’t work well either. In addition to smelling terrible, they aren’t really oils. They’re water displacers and rust inhibitors that don’t do much to make your trimmer blades work smoothly, at least not for very long.
Don’t ruin perfectly good clippers by experimenting on them will lubes, greases and heavy oils that were never intended for such delicate cutting surfaces — or for contact with your skin.
A Good Approach
The best approach is to buy a supply of clipper blade oil before yours runs out. It’s available online from Amazon — although not at some local discount stores. You might expect to find it at Walmart or Target, but you won’t in most areas. It’s very inexpensive online and comes in quantities that will last for years.
If you run out of hair clipper oil, the light oils mentioned above will do in a pinch. But there’s nothing like having the right product for the right task.
One thing you don’t want to do is run your clippers without oil. They’ll rattle, cause damage to the blades and eventually seize up. Just as importantly, they won’t cut well. And a trimmer is useless if it won’t cut.