Make razor blades last longer

LifeHacker recently reported that you can extend the life of a disposable razor blade up to twenty months by swiping it backwards against your arm 10 times whenever it starts to feel dull.

The idea is to mimic the action of those leather strops barbers once used to sharpen straight razors, except the hair on the forearm also sharpens the blade. Apparently a lot of people report this method works well. Of course, if you shave your forearms, it won’t work for you.

I’ve done this backwards swiping thing occasionally to clean debris that’s collected between the blades (skin particles, shaving cream, whatnot), and it definitely works for that. But I haven’t tested this method yet the way this guy’s talking about. Have any of you?

The comment thread on that article offers up several more suggestions. I wonder if there are differences from one brand to the next, so what works for your razor may not work for the next person’s.

But if you know about all these methods, then you can try them all and see what works for you.

Closeup of razor blade refills in case

Extending the life of razor blades

  1. Swipe the razor backward against your arm about ten times (the above method) when you feel it getting dull.
  2. Just dry the blades in a towel after use instead of letting them air dry. Or use a blow dryer.
  3. Dunk them in alcohol after shaving and let them dry. I wouldn’t think this would work, because the water in the alcohol would just sit there, corroding the blades. Maybe dunking in alcohol then drying the blades?
  4. Run the blades over an old pair of jeans, as described here.
  5. Dry the razor and place it in mineral oil. Note that one commenter says if you have particularly hard water, this trick won’t work so well.

Other money saving razor tips

  • Check eBay and Amazon for deals on replacement razors and blade cartridges. Depending how prices are in your region, you might save several bucks a package by buying online.
  • A lot of people tout using electric razors as a great way to save money, and I’m sure they are for many people, but keep in mind they too have parts that need replacing (and if you have coarse hair, they can need replaced often). Also, they use electricity or batteries, which also cost a little something.
  • Disposables are generally cheaper than cartridge replacements. I prefer using cartridges because there’s less stuff to throw away/recycle at the end of the day. But if any of these tips enable me to only toss razors every few months, even if I switch to disposables my carbon footprint would be smaller.